Apple’s highly anticipated 7.85-inch iPad, frequently referred to as the “iPad mini,” will officially take its rumored name when the product is launched later this year, according to sources speaking with Japanese Apple blog Macotakara Saturday. The site also stated that the next iPod nano, to be unveiled alongside the iPad mini, will have built-in WiFi capabilities in order to take advantage of Apple’s iTunes Match music service.
Although originally rumored to hold one large media event in September, it now appears that Apple will hold two separate media events in the coming months; one in September to introduce the next iPhone and iOS 6, and one in October to unveil the smaller iPad and updates to Apple’s iPod line.
A smaller, cheaper iPad mini would compete strongly against other Android-based devices in the 7- to 8-inch size. Most Android tablets of that size from major manufacturers have settled into the $200 to $250 price range. While Apple has never felt pressured to compete solely on price, it is expected that the iDevice maker will keep the iPad mini price within a reasonable range of products from companies like Google, Amazon, and Samsung.
Current 7-inch Android tablets compared to a future iPad mini.
Regarding rumored iPod redesigns, the possible introduction of WiFi to the iPod nano would bring iTunes match compatibility to most of Apple’s portable product line. The iTunes match service, which allows users to access their entire music library from any compatible device for a yearly fee, is currently available on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. The iPod classic has not been updated by Apple in nearly three years and the iPod shuffle is likely too small and low in cost for Apple to justify the addition of WiFi. That leaves a redesigned nano as the only remaining platform into which Apple can extend its music streaming and download service.
Macotakara has a mixed track record of correctly predicting Apple product launches and features. They correctly identified March as the launch month for the third-generation iPad, but incorrectly predicted that the iPhone 4S would be “sim-less,” and feature a built-in, non-removable SIM card.