Rumor: Apple iPad mini to launch in October

A new report claims Apple is preparing to launch an 8GB iPad “mini” this October for less than $250.

According to iMore, the new iPad – measuring approximately 7 inches – may be priced as low as $200, which would allow the iOS device to precisely target Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire tablet. 

The iPad mini is also rumored to feature a screen resolution of 1,024×768 pixels – the same resolution as the first-generation iPad and the iPad 2.

This means current appps coded for previous iPads would be capable of running without any modifications.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that a number of journalists and analysts have expressed skepticism in recent weeks over the persisting iPad mini rumor.

For example, AppleInsider’s Slash Lane points out that a highly aggressive sub-$250 price point for a new 8-gigabyte iPad would undercut the prices of most of Apple’s iPod touch lineup, which sells for $299 with 32 gigabytes of capacity and $399 with 64 gigabytes.

In addition, says Lane, recent industry data suggests Amazon’s $199 tablet is failing to maintain its momentum following the holiday shopping season, with IDC reporting a “steep drop” in Kindle shipments during the first quarter of 2012. 

Perhaps most importantly, the late Steve Jobs himself apparently believed 7-inch tablets would have very little chance of success in the hyper-competitive mobile market.

“Jobs was emphatic in his view that 7-inch tablets were dead on arrival (DOA),” Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair wrote in a 2011 industry note. “We believe it would be unlikely to see the company test the waters in this category anytime soon.”

As such, says Blair, Apple won’t debut any new products in 2012 with a 7-inch display, whether it is an “iPad mini” or a “jumbo” iPod Touch.