We’ve seen a few leaks of the iPad Mini in the past, and now we have some new evidence that Apple is close to launching the 7.85-inch tablet.
Yesterday Instapaper developer Marco Arment reported that usage logs for Instapaper show two new iPad models we haven’t seen before. Arment saw two new identifiers for “iPad2,5″ and “iPad2,6.” The two identifiers are new as far as we know, and could indicate the new iPad Mini. The former is likely for the Wi-Fi model, and the latter is likely a cellular model.
The first iPad 2 iterations used iPad2,1 through iPad2,3 for the Wi-Fi, GSM, and CDMA versions of the second-generation iPad. The iPad2,4 identifier is for the $400 iPad 2 with a 32nm processor (which means the processor is smaller, but just as powerful) that debuted with the new iPad.
Arment believes that Apple’s iPad Mini is nothing more than just a shrunken iPad 2 based on the identifiers. The logic makes sense. The 7.85-inch screen in the iPad Mini is likely 1024×768, the same resolution as the iPad 2. The iPad 2 internals can already power such a display with no problems.
As Arment says, “It’s a textbook Tim Cook supply-chain move: selling the last generation’s hardware at a lower price point to expand market share.” Apple makes similar moves with the older generations of the iPhone, though it never sold a shrunken iPhone. Making the iPad Mini a smaller iPad 2 will help Apple keep the costs down.
We’ll likely find out more about the iPad Mini sometime in October after the release of the iPhone 5. Although it might use iPad 2 parts, current rumors say it will look more like an iPod touch, and might use 4G LTE.