Mockup by CiccareseDesing. 

CiccareseDesign has quite a head-turning portfolio of Apple product mockups. Gorgeous, brave and imaginative… most are, however, poised to remain a wishful thought. Its newest rendering is especially interesting as it depicts what a rumored 7.85-inch iPad would look like compared to the existing 9.7-inch device. According to supply chain sources, Apple is set to release the iPad mini in 2012, with the production slated for the second quarter.

For those that never held Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire, this mockup helps people understand why a smaller iPad might make sense. Still not convinced? Print a pair of downloadable PDFs (Home Screen, Keyboard) at 100 percent size. You will immediately get a feel of how a 7.85-inch Apple tablet could measure against the iPad. You can also view it in actual size in the iPad’s web browser here.

Another mockup is showcased after the break.

Of course, if such a device is on Apple’s roadmap, the company would be wise to equip the iPad mini with the same 1024-by-768 pixel resolution display found on the original iPad to avoid platform fragmentation and make the existing apps run without having to update with new assets and user interface changes. The mockup is a collaboration between CiccareseDesign and MacRumors.

Steve Jobs on the prospect of 7-inch iPad during a fourth quarter conference call in 2010 with a Wall Street analyst:

It’s meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size.

Wedge Partners’ Brian Blair  wrote in a note to clients today that Apple will stick to the 9.7-inch form factor:

Don’t expect a 7-incher. 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. 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 – $499 range. We believe iPad 2′s price could drop to the $349 to $399 range with Apple offering a single 16GB model.

Watch the video below to hear Jobs’ full comment on “the avalanche” of 7-inch tablets that were poised to enter the market shortly following the iPad’s April 2010 debut (also from the Wall Street analyst conference call):

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