Those are the rumors swirling around a supposed September 12 announcement from Apple. iPhone fans have been hungering for a totally revamped model ever since the iPhone 4S last October proved to be more of a minor revision to the iPhone 4 than a truly new device.
Combining the various rumors would put Apple in the interesting position of creating, simultaneously, a larger iPhone and a smaller iPad. The number of screen sizes in Apple’s mobile ecosystem would double to include:
- 3.5 inches on all iPhones up to the 4S
- 4 to 5 inches on the iPhone 5
- 7 or 7.85 inches on the iPad Mini
- 9.7 inches on the iPad
That’s an awfully tight grouping of screen sizes. Does Apple really feel threatened enough by 7-inch tablets that it would jump into that arena?
Survey says: could be. In a recent survey from research firm Frank N. Magid Associates, only half of tablet owners had an iPad, down from a 72 percent market share in previous surveys. The biggest culprit in that decline was the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s $199, 7-inch Android tablet. Tom Godfrey, Magid’s executive director of mobile strategy, said in a Los Angeles Times interview that the Kindle Fire now can claim 22 percent of the tablet market.
Google has launched its own 7-inch tablet as well, the Nexus 7, which also sells for $199 directly from the Google Play store. Now that Google will control both the operating system and the hardware, it will compete much more directly with Apple.
New Kindles on the way?
Amazon isn’t immune from rumors either. Some reports pointed to a larger Kindle Fire, with either a 10.1-inch or 8.9-inch screen, being released by the end of July. That obviously didn’t happen, but an incorrect launch date doesn’t mean the device isn’t in the works.
Rumors also persist about a Kindle Phone. The best estimates on a release date for that device – an Android phone with a 4- to 5-inch screen – are some time in the fourth quarter of 2012, so we’ll just have to wait and see.