Instapaper creator Marco Arment is reporting that he has discovered references to two new iPads in Instapaper’s device stats: iPad2,5 and iPad2,6. He’s never seen these devices before, and he’s thinking that they might be references to the long-rumored iPad Mini. Of course, he also points out that these entries could have been faked by hackers, but he doesn’t think that’s likely, and makes the case for the iPad Mini pretty well.
First, some background. Arment says that iPad2,1 to iPad2,3 are the three different versions of the regular iPad 2 – Wi-Fi, GSM, and CDMA. iPad2,4 is the die-shrunk iPad 2 that was released around the time of the third-gen iPad, bringing the price of the iPad 2 down as people were going crazy over the latest iteration. That brings us iPad 2,5 and iPad 2,6, which Arment admits could be GSM and CDMA version of the die-shrunk model, but he also says that releasing new iPad 2 models at this point in time would be “a pretty strange move.”
Instead, Arment has a feeling that these model references are for two versions of the iPad Mini – Wi-Fi and GSM. If that’s the case, then we just got a better of what the iPad Mini will be when it finally arrives. “This suggests that the iPad Mini is, effectively, an iPad 2,” Arment writes, “an A5 with 512 MB of RAM and enough GPU power to drive the Gruber Display, but not a Retina Display.”
He thinks that the iPad Mini will be a mishmash of new and old parts, potentially including the new iPhone’s LTE chip. This will allow Apple to offer a lower-cost tablet with the iPad Mini, and it’s expected to hit a sweet spot right around $249. Naturally, we can expect a premium of around $100 for an iPad Mini with LTE functionality, perhaps bringing that price up to $349. This is a very exciting new development, and with Apple’s rumored iPhone/iPad event coming up on September 12, we might not have much longer before we find out if Arment’s predictions were right on the money. Stay tuned.
[Image via Ciccaresedesign]