Yet more smoke is suggesting that we're in for a Kindle Fire-inspired 7-inch "iPad mini." This time, it's the New York Times stoking the flames with a report that says Apple is working on a 7.85-inch iPad set to sell for "significantly less" than the Retina-sporting iPad.
The Times suggests that the move is part of a larger trend to iPod-ify the iPad; offering several different price points and form factors to meet the needs of a wider array of would-be customers. Apple already stocks the aforementioned iPad with Retina Display for $500 and the standard-resolution iPad 2 for $400.
The New York Times' news isn't exactly "news," per se. Earlier rumors pegged the iPad mini as having a 7- to 8-inch non-Retina screen and a price tag to rival the $200 Google Nexus tablet, but the Times says its report was confirmed by "several people with knowledge of the project." Previous articles relied on information from just one or two insiders.
Last week, alleged photos of an iPad mini engineering design sample hit the Internet, giving even more credence to the claim on an impending 7-inch Apple tablet. The interesting part about those photos laid in the finer details; the plastic sample had a smaller 19-pin dock connector with speakers on either side, which is different from the design of the full-sized iPad.