As the summer grinds on I’m starting to think about trying to save my pennies and find a way to budget for trying to acquire two new tablet devices this fall: an iPad Mini and a Microsoft Surface RT.
As I’ve mentioned in a few recent posts, I think the release of an iPad Mini (or whatever name is given to a smaller iPad) is virtually a lock for later this year or early next year. It looks likely that it will be 7.85 inch sized tablet that will extend the iPad range and perhaps put a dent in any momentum that tablets like Google’s Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire have attained in the absence of a smaller, less expensive iPad.
I’ve been tempted a few times over the last couple of years to try out a smaller tablet than the iPad – especially when I saw a couple of glowing reviews of the 7 inch Galaxy Tab by mobile tech writers whose work I respect and enjoy. Honestly I just never managed to get round to it – when I had the dollars I didn’t have the time and vice versa.
As if there weren’t already enough compelling indicators that Apple is looking to release an iPad Mini over the next half year or so, now The New York Times has weighed in and said their sources confirm the same sort of information we’ve been hearing from Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal and others over recent weeks.
In a report yesterday the NYT mentioned that the iPad may be facing stiffer competition soon as Google has released their Nexus 7 (which is getting some quite strong reviews), Microsoft has announced their upcoming Surface tablets / hybrid devices and Amazon is said to be planning updates for their Kindle Fire.
But Apple is hardly about to cede ground.
The company is developing a new tablet with a 7.85-inch screen that is likely to sell for significantly less than the latest $499 iPad, with its 9.7-inch display, according to several people with knowledge of the project who declined to be named discussing confidential plans. The product is expected to be announced this year.
As with many new Apple products over the last few years, all the iPad Mini rumor stars are aligning now. Gruber’s little birdies are chirping the same sort of things as the NYT’s people with knowledge of the project. Jim Dalrymple at The Loop is using the word when rather than if when talking about a smaller iPad.
By now it will be a bit of a shocker if we don’t see Apple release a smaller iPad, and I expect over the next couple months we may well start seeing more and more leaks of iPad Mini spec details and perhaps even one of those lovely Apple event invites. Maybe they’ll announce it alongside the next-gen iPhone.
Last week I posted about how iPad Mini rumors had been gaining strength. The feeling of ‘where there’s this much smoke, there must be some fire’ was growing for me and I said this towards the end of that post:
I guess I’ve reached the stage where I’d be more surprised not to see the iPad Mini released in the next 8-10 months, and I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see it launched this year.
Well, this week has only increased that feeling, I’d say it’s now very likely we will see an ‘iPad Mini’ (or whatever Apple ends up calling it) released in the next 6-8 months. The reason I now feel so convinced of this is that two of the best and best-connected Apple writers have weighed in (to varying degrees) on the subject this week, and all the indicators from them are that we will see Apple release a smaller iPad.
John Gruber of Daring Fireball has a post up today titled Let’s Try to Think This iPad Mini Thing All the Way Through. In the post he proceeds to do just that. He works through all the main arguments against the release of the iPad Mini and provides good reasons why these may not hold much weight anymore – as Philip Elmer-Dewitt at Fortune Tech points out:
- The size problem — It’s a mistake to call it a 7-inch iPad, says Gruber, because a 7.85 inches diagonal is closer to 8 inches than the 9.7-inch diagonal iPad is to 10 inches (and nearly everybody refers to the current iPad as a 10-inch tablet). Most 7-inch tablets have been disappointments. An 8-inch tablet needn’t be.
- The sandpaper problem — When Steve Jobs said you’d need to sandpaper your fingers to use a smaller iPad he was talking about a 7-inch screen (50% the surface area of today’s iPad), not a nearly 8-inch inch screen (64%). [According to Jobs and Gruber’s geometry, the ratios are 45% and 66%.] Besides, Jobs was famous for changing his mind on a dime.
The iPad rumor that just won’t die – the one that says Apple will release a smaller iPad or an iPad Mini as it’s often called – has gained strength again this week. Reports from both Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal say the iPad Mini is coming this fall.
Here’s a key slice of what the WSJ has to say on this:
Apple Inc.’s component suppliers in Asia are preparing for mass production in September of a tablet computer with a smaller screen than the iPad, people familiar with the situation said, suggesting a launch for the device is near. Two of the people said that the tablet’s screen will likely be smaller than eight inches. The iPad’s screen measures 9.7 inches, unchanged since the first model was released in 2010.
Officials at the component suppliers, who declined to be named, said this week that Apple has told them to prepare for mass production of the smaller tablet.
John Gruber of Daring Fireball notes that if these reports prove true he expects the iPad Mini (or whatever it ends up being called) would likely be a 7.85 inch tablet with a 1024X768 display – based on the reasons and logic put forward by A.T. FAUST III of App Advice a few months back.
During Apple’s Q4 financial results call today, Steve Jobs had a lot to say about upcoming potential iPad rivals (much more on that later) – including some very choice words on Apple’s view on and the prospects for 7 inch tablets. I think it’s safe to say (unless this is one giant Jobsian ruse) that he has ruled out any 7 inch iPad models coming in future.
Here are some of his words on this (with a little paraphrasing where I couldn’t take notes fast enough):
A 10 inch screen size is the minimum size required to create great tablet apps.
One would think a 7 inch screen is 70% of the benefit of a 10 inch screen – but because of diagonal screen measurment, it’s only 40% – this size is insufficient to create great tablet apps we believe.
7 inch tablets are tweeners – too big to compete with smartphone, too small to compete with tablets
We don’t think you can make a great tablet with a 7 inch screen
Not too much room for doubt there. 7 inch tablet = bad. 10 inch tablet = very good and magical. That’d be my quick synopsis.
Image Source: iLounge.com
Component suppliers in Taiwan have indicated to one Wall Street analyst that Apple’s next-generation iPad will sport a 7-inch high-resolution Retina Display, a camera, and 128GB of capacity — and that it could sell 45 million in 2011.
Definitely some nice potential specs there for a smaller, iPad ‘Mini’ sort of model. The same analyst also says the new smaller model will have a micro or mini USB port, and that it will replace the first-gen iPad – which both sound very far-fetched.
When I first saw rumors about new 7 inch iPads, I thought they would not be of any interest to me. Thinking on it more, and seeing mockups like the one shown above, has me much more interested in a possible Mini model. I certainly would not want it to replace the current size though, I’d want it to be another option. What do you think? Would a new smaller iPad model be of interest?
Rumor via: Apple Insider
Image Source: fonearena.com
The iPad has been an untarnished success for Apple, now it seems the company is set to introduce two new and smaller iPad models, just in time for Christmas! …
The Digitimes sources claimed Apple has “recently placed new iPad orders to Taiwan-based component makers for the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011 with 9.7-inch, 5.6-inch and 7-inch models all included.”
That’s a slice from an article at 9to5Mac yesterday, covering a rumor that’s been getting a lot of coverage this week. It goes on to say that the smaller models would be aimed at the eBook market, with some slight changes made to current model.
This is a rumor that’s been around at least since the early days after the iPad launch – but it is one I can’t work up any real excitement about. The current iPad is already an ‘in-between’ device – the rumored new size seems just a step too much in that direction.
How about you all? Would you be keen on a new, smaller iPad?