I just spent the last hour or so gorging myself on iPad Mini rumors, which I’m now calling the iPad Air, which you’ll understand shortly. John Gruber over at Daring Fireball wrote this fairly epic analysis about the upcoming smaller iPad, which if you have 15-20 minutes to spare you should certainly read. He hits the nail on the head several times, really focusing on the size, weight, dimensions, and what we could be seeing soon.
Cost can’t be the only factor in play, though. There must be something great about the device’s design. If it’s not display quality, what else? I’m thinking thickness and weight. The iPad 3 gained a retina display — but at the expense of getting thicker and heavier than the iPad 2, so as to fit a more powerful battery to run those additional 2,359,296 pixels. So I’m thinking the iPad Mini doesn’t get a retina display but in exchange gets to go remarkably thin.
How thin? As an iPhone devotee (thickness: 9.3 mm) I marvel at the relative thinness of the iPod Touch (7.2 mm) whenever I see one. So, how thin for the iPad Mini? How about iPod Touch thin: 7.2 mm. That’d be an entire third thinner than the Nexus 7.
The name iPad Air came from Chris Pepper in an @reply to Gruber. As Gruber mentions in the snippet above the thickness and the weight might be the determining factor. By calling it the iPad Air they’re immediately saying “this is the lightest tablet on earth, Nexus who what?” It also strengthens the Macbook Air line and potentially let’s Apple make the defactor laptop lineup be simply the Macbook Air and the Macbook.
Also interesting to read/see was this post with accompanying mockup from iMore, who may have totally nailed what the iPad Air might look like (as you can see above). Looking at the rendering, it just looks.. right, you know? This gets me excited for the idea of an iPad Air, looking forward to seeing what gets released!