Another day, another 7.85-inch iPad mini rumor

7.85-inch iPad mini concept by John Anastasiadis of iMoreIf there’s one thing that’s getting old already, it’s rumors of a new, smaller iPad. Much like the fabled Apple television set, talk of the mini iPad doesn’t seem to be dying. Though many speculated that it would be unveiled with the third iPad in March, no such announcement was made or hinted at by Apple. Now, a new rumor is pointing toward an October unveiling, right about the same time that Apple is supposed to unveil its next iPhone.

Apple blog iMore claims that a smaller 7-inch iPad is in the works, will cost $200 – $250, will retain the 2048×1536 pixel screen resolution of the current 9.7-inch iPad, will have 8GB of internal storage, and will be shown in October. 

“Our sources have indicated, however, that the 7-inch iPad will be identical to the current 9.7-inch iPad, just scaled down,” writes Rene Ritchie from iMore. “That seems to include a 2048×1536 resolution display, just like the new iPad. If accurate, that would put the pixel density at around 326 ppi, the same as the iPhone 4S (and higher than the 264 ppi new iPad) retina display.”

Ritchie also points out how ridiculous it sounds that Apple would somehow choose (or be able to) sell a 7.85-inch mini iPad for as little as $200 while retaining things like the Retina display, but says that costs will be cut elsewhere. Storage capacity will be half that of the current iPad, at 8GB. Oddly, the 7.7-inch tablets that have hit the market, like the Galaxy Tab 7.7, have been anything but cheaper. Many of these devices actually cost more than their larger counterparts. Though manufacturers of powerful, small tablets save a bit on material costs, they often spend much more money trying to cram all of the components into a more compact product.

iMore doesn’t get into the implications of that dense a screen on what will undoubtedly be a much smaller battery either. The site claims that the device will be identical, but we have to believe other cuts will be made if the price is so low. Wouldn’t it harm sales of the iPad 2 and new iPad if a smaller, equally capable version launched for half the price? Even consumers who wanted a larger model might opt for a slight reduction in size.

It also seems odd that the company would choose to share the spotlight of its new iPhone with another product. Either the iPhone isn’t anything new and revolutionary, or the company may just be scrambling to introduce the new iPad during the holiday season. Either way, at least this rumor comes with a date. Mark your calendars, folks. We’ll find out if Apple has a new iPad in October.

(Image art by John Anastasiadis)