Long Rumored ‘iPad Mini’ Isn’t Happening, Says Analyst

Don’t expect a smaller iPad to come rolling off of Apple’s assembly lines any time soon. That’s according to the new insight Friday from analyst Brian Blair with Wedge Partners.

Blair suspects the “iPad mini” won’t happen in 2012, if it ever happens at all.

“Jobs was emphatic in his view that 7-inch tablets were dead on arrival,” Blair writes, referencing the now-famous comments made by Steve Jobs during a 2010 Apple earnings call.

“One naturally thinks that a 7-inch screen would offer 70 per cent of the benefits of a 10-inch screen,” the late Apple CEO commented last year. “Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. … The reason we [won’t] make a 7-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit [a lower] price point, it’s because we think the screen is too small to express the software. As a software driven company, we think about the software strategies first.”

“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 told investors today.

On the bright side, however, Blair anticipates Apple releasing the iPad 3 early in 2012 and then drastically cutting the price of second generation iPads.

“We believe Apple is highly likely to keep the iPad 2 on the production line after the launch of iPad 3 and offer it at a lower price point in an effort to address demand at the mid-tier, what we view as the $249 to $499 range,” he says. “We believe iPad 2′s price could drop to the $349 to $399 range with Apple offering a single 16GB model.”