Instapaper creator, Marco Arment, has been around the block a time or two when it comes new Apple product releases and peeking around in the guts and glory of iOS. This is why we pay such close attention when he gives us any sort of prediction about what we might be able to expect from the incredibly-secretive tech giant.
Apparently, there were a couple of interesting entries in the device stats for Instapaper: one for iPad 2,5 and another for iPad 2,6 (plus some iPhones 5,1 but nobody is surprised about that one anymore… amazing how a product that hasn’t been released is already old news!).
It may seem a little silly to be guessing things based on what may appear to be a subtle difference, but the numbers themselves fit a pattern we have seen before. The iPad 2,1 and iPad 2,3 were the iPad 2′s original Wi-Fi, GSM and CDMA models while the iPad 2,4 is the 32nm die-shrunk update that Apple slid in to replace the existing 16GB Wi-Fi iPad 2 during the launch of the next generation iPad 3 we have now.
But what does it mean? If bets are being placed I’d be putting my money on the iPad Mini heading our way as a smaller-form-factor version of the iPad 2: an A5 chip with 512MB of RAM and quite likely without a Retina Display.
Arment credits this as the kind of thing we should expect from Tim Cook: a textbook supply-chain move that finds Apple selling the last generation’s hardware at a lower price point to expand their marketshare.
Of course, it’s not exactly the same. It isn’t just a cheaper iPad 2, it’s an entry into an area of the tablet market that Apple hasn’t had to date.
At a time when I should be excited for seemingly more confirmation that the iPad Mini is headed our way, this rumor is actually a little disappointing. Is it wise to release an Apple device without Retina at this stage? Will a shrunken iPad 2 be a real competitor for other 7″ tablets?