Ever since Google announced its Nexus 7 tablet, the rumors and reports of Apple's fabled "iPad Mini" picked up major steam. The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg both reported that Apple was developing a small version of the iPad to directly compete with the Google Nexus 7 and the upcoming Amazon Kindle Fire 2. Now, The New York Times joins the chorus and provides some details about Apple's purported next big thing. 

According to the Times, the new iPad will sport a 7.86-inch display and will "sell for significantly less than the latest $499 iPad." Though Steve Jobs was vehemently opposed to creating a small iPad, the company may be moving in that direction to secure its large stake in the tablet market. Apple will likely apply the same strategy to the iPad line that it did for the iPod line back in the early 2000s. 

The company fiddled with the design of the product so much that it ended up running the gamut from the $49 iPod shuffle, a screen-free iPod so small it could be clipped to the collar of a runner’s shirt, to the $249 iPod classic, a heavier device with space for 40,000 songs.

The strategy was a great success, helping Apple to create a near monopoly in the MP3 music player business. The company held 80 percent of the United States market for the first five months of the year, according to the NPD Group.

It's safe to say the tablet wars have just become far more interesting than the smartphone scuffles. 

[via NY Times