Just months after the release of Apple's iPad tablet computer, the tech giant allegedly has a new, smaller version on the way. The "iPad mini," which could hit shelves as soon as Christmas, will reportedly come equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen, rather than the 9.7-inch screen of the original model, and cost less than $400. The first iPad was an overwhelming success, but some critics say a smaller version would be an unnecessary addition to Apple's gadget lineup. Is releasing an iPad mini a mistake?

Why bother? Apple has the bases covered: A new iPad now just doesn't make sense for Apple, says market analyst Brian Marshall, as quoted by Reuters. Between the $99 iPhone 3GS and the current iPad, which costs from $499 to $829, Apple has covered "every price point." With "such a good lineup," I just "don't see any holes in their portfolio that they need to fill."
"Experts argue over merits of 7-in. iPad"

Shoppers will snap up smaller, cheaper iPads: Actually, making a miniature iPad is a smart move, says Kit Eaton in Fast Company. A 7-inch version would address "minor gripes" that the bigger model is a "fraction" too heavy. Plus, the lower price of an iPad mini would make it far more accessible, helping Apple compete in the "soon-to-be-crowded tablet market." If the rumors are true, Apple will "have a super-hot seller on its hands."
"Those 'iPad mini' rumors make sense"

This will be a slap in the face to loyal customers: Releasing a new iPad so soon sounds like "a super bad idea," says Joshua Schnell in Macgasm. For those of us who rushed to purchase the original iPad, it will be beyond frustrating to stand by as Apple releases "version 2.0 of the same device within a year." Of course, that's the "cost of being an early adopter." But it certainly doesn't boost my opinion about the brand.
"7-inch iPad coming for Christmas?"