The rumors of a mini-iPad are both varied and considerable. I still belong to the group that doesn’t see Apple bringing a 7″ version of their tablet to market any time soon. Sure, I believe Apple has considered it. I believe they considered it years ago before the first release of the iPad and that is the point where they decided on the current 9.7″ form-factor. Why would they change when it’s working for them?
A second, less prominent theory is that Apple will discount the current iPad 2. Some feel they will do this sooner than later while others speculate it will happen after the launch of the iPad 3, which is expected for the spring of 2012 (February or March if analysts are to be believed). The problem with this is that it would require co-production of both devices which seems rather unlikely given the quick retirement of the first generation iPad once the iPad 2 was released.
The reason for the lower-priced entry would be to compete with the successful Amazon Kindle Fire and the Barnes and Noble Nook. The thing everybody keeps leaving out when they talk about the success of those devices is that they really aren’t true competitors of the iPad. If the iPad lowered it’s price, they still wouldn’t be in the same class. Now, would it sell more iPads? Maybe. But they would have to sell more to make the same profit. So where is the benefit to Apple?
It could be argued that more iPads in the hands of consumers is a good thing for Apple, but they have never worried about being in the ‘bargain brand’ realm before so why would they start now? Why should a full-featured 9.7″ device be trying to hit the same or similar price points as 7″ devices that have less to offer?