The news comes on the heels of a TechCrunch review of the Nexus 7, Google's stock Android 7-inch tablet, which ships with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). Written by MG Siegler, an admitted iDevice fan, the review was only a few paragraphs old when Siegler wrote the shocking sentences, "I like the Nexus 7. I really like it."
He later added, "Normally when I get a review unit of a non-Apple product, I have to force myself to use it to get a sense of how I might use it in the real world. But with the Nexus 7, I actually find myself wanting to use it. That point can’t be overstated. I actually want to use an Android device. It’s a brave new world."
The key to the review, however, was the sentence, "For me, the key is the size." It's exactly why many believe the iPad mini is a done deal, despite Apple CEO Steve Jobs' claim that any tablet with a screen smaller than 10 inches in size was DOA.
Although a smaller iPad could mean a lower cost - needed to compete with cheap Android tablets like the $199 Nexus 7 - it would seem that usability is a strong selling point, as well. Not only is a 7-inch tablet perfect for a woman's purse, it's easier to hold one-handed, making it a great in-bed media device, while 10-inch tablets occupy the couch.
Most expect the iPad mini to be released later this year, alongside the iPhone 5. A recent leak of engineering samples showed a purported iPad mini sporting a new dock connector, something rumored to be coming in the iPhone 5.
Seeing that new dock connector on the iPad mini would seem to point to a simultaneous launch for the two devices. We're expecting iOS 6, the iPhone 5 and the iPad mini to launch in the September / October timeframe.