As noted by TechnoBuffalo, well-connected Apple proponent John Gruber (of DaringFireball) made some interesting comments today regarding the oft-rumored “iPad mini” on his weekly 5by5 podcast with Dan Benjamin.

Gruber claimed that he has been told by a number of Apple insiders that a 7.85-inch tablet exists inside Apple’s labs, but he’s unsure when or if it will see the light of day…

Speculation regarding a sub-8-inch iPad has really picked up over the past several weeks. And we’ve heard a number of rumors, including one from The New York Times, claiming that Apple is working on such a device.

Today, Gruber weighed in:

“What I do know is that they have one in the lab, a 7.85″ iPad that runs at 1024 x 768. And it’s just like the 9.7-inch iPad shrunk down a little bit. The apps wouldn’t need to be redesigned or recompiled to work on it — it’s just the iPad smaller.”

To clarify, he goes on to say that he’s heard from “numerous people that it’s one of the ideas that [Apple] is noodling with.” But he has no idea when, or if, Apple plans on shipping it.

The case for a smaller iPad is becoming stronger by the day. With the success of sub-$300 tablets by companies like Amazon and Barnes and Noble, it would certainly behoove Apple to dip its toes in the market.

  • That wouldn’t make any sense, Apple wouldn’t make this as the PPI is a miserable 163. at least if they were going to make a 7 inch tablet they aren’t going to put it at 1024×768.

    • There is a good reason why the PPI is 163 and not any higher…

  • I don’t think Apple should release it. They are know for not following current trends, but creating future ones. Releasing this would go against the policy they have been holding for years!

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  • Anonymous

    a retina 7 incher at 300 would be nice…with camera, 16gb will be better than any other cheap netTablet like nook or kindle fire.

  • Raschmin Steinbrecher

    sorry for my english, when the mini ipad have the same ppi like “the new ipad” with 1024x768pixel, it should be 4,85 inch (264 ppi)
    but wait… when the 7,85 inch ipad have the same pixel like the “new ipad” (2048×1536) it would have 326ppi -it’s exact the same ppi like the iphone4 / 4s. this is apple like. i would buy it in the first day 😀

  • Can’t be true. This would really affect the sales of the current iPads, which are selling like crazy. Makes absolutely NO SENSE.

    • Raschmin Steinbrecher

      but they can sell it as an cheap version, maybe without back camera and without simcard and some other things, like the amazons tablet, only for reading books play games and facetime and internet

  • Probably will be Release as iPod touch next generation 🙂

  • Raschmin Steinbrecher

    i would buy an 4.85inch ipad mini (maybe iNote or iPod touch XL) 1024×768 with 20Wh battery and a5x chip.. xD i think this version of ipad or how ever it would be called, wouldnt affect the sales of the current ipad

  • Anonymous

    I think people’s comments about quality are missing the point a bit. There’s no way Apple would need to make it retina resolution to sell well. If its 1024×768 at 8″ that’s going to give it a slightly sharper picture and slightly higher pixel density than the iPad’s 1024×768 screen at 9.7″.

    It would no doubt have other specs cut down on to save money as well. This tablet would be designed to take on the low end tablet and E-Reader market where as noted in the article tablets like the Amazon Kindle Fire (and other entry level 7″ Android tablets) are currently doing very well.

    It makes sense for Apple to go after the entry level tablet market with an 8.65″ 1024×768 device and still sell the iPad3 as the flagship top end retina model.

    Makes perfect sense for it to be 1024×768 too, given it would run all iPad apps without developers needing to redesign a thing.

    • Kok Hean

      Imagine this. If it has the retina display, the PPI would be around 326.11, as compared to the retina display on the third generation iPad, which is 263.92 PPI. The iPhone 4 and 4S each has 325.93 PPI screen. Therefore, the iPhone 4S still has a sharper screen as compared to the third generation iPad. Therefore, if there is a newer iPad with a screen size of 7.85 put together with the retina display, the display would be better than the iPhone’s current display.
      Also, people would prefer this to other tablets since it will have the sharpest screen in the computer tablet history.

      • Anonymous

        I’m not doubting the technical aspects of you what you say, which is spot on, however if they built it with a retina display it would make it 1.) As expensive (or possibly more expensive) than the iPad3, which means it wouldn’t be taking on the entry level tablet space and 2.) it would have better picture quality than the iPad3, pissing off all the recent iPad3 owners who have just bought the flagship device.

        The iPad3 is selling like hotcakes and its way too soon to take away its top end crown.
        if there’s one thing we know about Apple, its that they milk technology as long as possible.

        There are also so many 1024×768 iPad apps available that wouldn’t need any modification to run on a cheaper 8″ tablet, and would have new life given them to them, rather than fade into obscurity.

        Creating a smaller, cheaper tablet would be Apple’s goal with an 8″. Not a technically superior one. Their goal would be to persuade potential Kindle buyers to buy an iPad instead (Locking them into the iOS ecosystem). If they made it a new retina model, they’d be competing with their own product (the iPad3) which is never wise 🙂

  • you know?
    if a button used in ipad is reused in this “ipad mini” without any changes,
    the button will be a lot smaller and hard to press
    the develop Must be required to change the app design or it will be bad for users

    and i think for lower end, ipad 2 is already a very good choice,
    for non-retina tablet,of course

    and no doubt,
    a display with the same dpi as non-retina device,
    it is a step-backward,
    as no matter how sharper it is, it is not comparable with retina’s

    ipad mini must have smaller battery due to its size
    this make usage time shorter, or making it have a lower processing power,

    will you buy a device with non-retina display, lower processing power, shorter usage time,
    and need to wait for suitable app coming out?
    or pay a little more to have a ipad 2 or even ipad 3 for the better usage?

    i do think that ipad mini would be a good product,
    if it has a price around $100,
    or a itouch 4 (or even coming itouch 5) would be a lot better than it

  • Anonymous

    What sized tablets did they use on Star Trek? Go with that. Only problem was they never thought about multitasking and would carry around three or four.


  • “And it’s just like the 9.7-inch iPad shrunk down a little bit. ” and inflated version of galaxy note. How many people slagged off that?

  • Marc Baumann

    there’s no point for Apple in bringing such a device on the market. It would be the beginning of the end…

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  • Bullshit, Steve Jobs claims a 7 inch tablet is DOA dead on arrival. Every two weeks ther is someone comming up with a bigger iPhone or a smaller iPad, maybe Tim Cook will here you begging for this.