You can take this seriously because Digitimes quotes "sources" instead of "a source."
The smaller-screened model is Apple's response to "increasing market competition including the 7-inch Kindle Fire from Amazon and the launch of large-size smartphones from handset vendors." As a result, "Apple has been persuaded into the development of 7.85-inch iPads, the sources indicated." The same sources also "indicated" that supply chain vendors "are likely to begin production of the 7.85-inch models at the end of the second quarter of 2012."
The great thing about Digitimes' stories is they lend themselves so well to the Expansive Interpretive Principal of the iOSsphere. Here's how CRN's Australian Website expansively interpreted Digitimes: "According to a fresh report, Apple is beavering away in its Cupertino labs creating a smaller 7.85in iPad Mini, set to be unleashed on the world around September 2012."
"Report" sounds much more authoritative than "rumor." And the addition of all those entirely made-up but essential details - the image of Apple engineers hard at work in their labs - gives the rumor immediacy and concreteness.
Apperia even created a helpful visual mockup showing the relative sizes of the two screens. And they figured out Apple's Grand Plan behind this innovation: "The goal is for this iPad Mini to retain the iPad's resolution at 1024×768, so that Apple can market the real iPad 3 with higher resolution/retina display."
That makes a kind of sense in the rarified air of the iOSsphere: "We're offering you a smaller iPad 3 with the same resolution as the iPad 2, so you can compare it with the "real" iPad 3, which has a much higher resolution, and buy it instead."
The rumor, of course, fails to address why Apple would introduce a 7.8-inch iPad given the general lack of success of the rival 7-inch tablets so far, with the possible exception of the new Amazon Kindle Fire, and the corresponding spectacular, continued success of the iPad with its 9.7-inch screen. Apple didn't guess about that size: it went through a complex design process before deciding on a size that it thought would be optimal for its target market. The early success of the Kindle Fire, which may owe as much to its much lower price compared to the iPad, doesn't throw that decision into doubt.
"Previously it was never going to happen as Steve Jobs felt a 7in iPad couldn't display the software well enough, but now with all sorts of Retina Displays being made by Apple, anything is possible," writes CRN's Sophia Charara.
"Anything is possible." Spoken like a true rumorista.
iPad 3 is a MAJOR hardware redesign
We can be sure of this because TVC-Mall, a China-based "online electronics wholesale mall for consumer electronics," is now offering a "Microphone Mic Flex Cable Ribbon Replacement" for iPad 3.
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