“The much more likely explanation is that iPad2,5 and iPad2,6 are the new ‘iPad Mini’ in Wi-Fi and GSM, and I haven’t recorded the likely iPad2,7 CDMA version yet.
If so, this suggests that the iPad Mini is, effectively, an iPad 2: an A5 with 512 MB of RAM and enough GPU power to drive the Gruber Display, but not a Retina Display.”
The forthcoming iPad “mini” becomes more compelling all the time. Modestly smaller than the iPad 2, but without the cost, heat and battery hit of the new iPad. The smaller size means a non-Retina display will look nearly as good as the new iPad’s Retina panel. For most purposes it’ll be a better iPad than the iPad.
I imagine this new product will extend Apple’s ownership of the tablet market into smaller sizes, too. Just as the original and second-generation iPads essentially killed the market for any other company’s full-sized tablets, the iPad “mini” will ultimately marginalize competing smaller tablets. No other company can produce a product with a rich app market as tightly integrated with what I’d call a non-clunky operating system. Non-geek users know the difference, and have voted with their dollars.
The only other tablet-like device still selling well, three years after the first iPad debuted, is the e-ink Kindle. It does what it does arguably better than the iPad due to its fine display, something no backlit LCD has been able to match. Customers exclusively looking for a book reader can’t do any better than a $79 e-ink Kindle.