iPad Mini rumors are unfounded, analyst says

The Cupertino company was rumored to introduce a mini version of the iPad, sporting a screen size reduction from 9.7″ to 7.85″, before the fourth quarter of next year. According to reports, Apple would buy the 7.85-inch panels from LG Display and AU Optronics.

The release of the down-sized version of the iPad was said to be a response to the competition from devices such as Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet.

However, Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair claims all of this is pure illusion.

“Don’t expect a 7-incher. While we believe Apple has tested 7-inch screen prototypes for over a year, we don’t currently expect the company to release anything in the 7-inch size in 2012,” Blair wrote Friday in a note to clients.

Blair believes Apple will most likely maintain its current iPad 2 on the production line after the launch of an iPad 3. In this way, Apple could reach a lower price point at a mid-tier range

The analyst noted that Steve Jobs was vocal against the 7-inch display, having said in 2010 that they would be “dead on arrival,” because their small size would keep them from properly functioning.

“We believe iPad 2’s price drop could drop to the $349 to $399 range with Apple offering a single 16GB model,” he said of the model’s possible price. 

Blair also opined that the third-generation iPad will probably launch at the end of March or beginning of April and it will likely feature 4G compatibility, a retina display, Siri functionality, as well as a 1-megapixel front-facing camera and a 3-to-5-megapixel rear-facing camera.

Brian Blair was one of the few analysts to have correctly anticipated that Apple would skip the iPhone 5, opting for the iPhone 4S with a faster A5 processor and an 8-megapixel camera.