July 7, 2012

Is there going to be a SmallPad?

There have been rumors of a smaller screen iPad for a couple years now. All of the sudden the rumors have blown up. It is being reported now like there is definitely going to be a 7(ish) inch iPad announced this fall. I'd be surprised if that were the case, but I could be wrong.

The Kindle fire is due for an update in a few months and Google just announced the Nexus 7. They are both in that 7 inch form factor, and both compelling devices. The Nexus 7 running the newest version of stock android for $200 is interesting for sure. Neither of them are going to compete with the current iPad. They are playing in the e-reader segment that Apple has been content to stay away from thus far. Apple has never been one to release a device as a reaction to a competitor, and I don't think they are going to start.

If Apple does release a smaller iPad, and they are able to price it at $200, then they would own that segment of the market for sure. Based on the pretty abysmal sales of the Kindle Fire it might be a market without a lot of demand. "E-reader zone" is dominated by cheap e-ink devices and those people aren't likely to jump on a 7 inch lcd screen unless they have a need to do a lot more than reading. The people who had that need and realized probably already own an iPad. The Nexus 7 is a more attractive option than the Fire because it will offer more utility but there doesn't seem to be a lot of room, even for an iOS device.

Would a 7 inch iPad interface look like a blown up iPhone, or a shrunken down iPad normal iPad? I don't think either of them would work well. Developers may need to create a third version of their apps to fit properly on this middling screen. I can't imagine the market being big enough to justify that right out of the gate. Maybe the apps will scale a lot better than I am thinking. I'm looking through some of my favorite iPad apps right now and most of them wouldn't work nearly as well on a 7 inch screen.

I don't know if all the rumors are real or not. I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if Apple announced the "iPad Mini", but I definitely don't think they need it to compete. You can still buy an iPod touch right now, and it costs almost $200, so it is hard for me to believe they would be able to put out a 7 incher for the same price. I guess we will see in the fall, but the big news will definitely be iPhone 5, or whatever it will be called.

Wall Street Journal: Apple Preps for Smaller Tablet

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