Bigger ain't always better. Ask anyone who's watched the world's greatest soccer player, the 5'7" Lionel Messi. Or anyone who's regretted snarfing down a Supersized meal.
Despite Steve Jobs' public trashing of smaller-than-10-inch tablets, an iPad Mini seems, based on the history of Apple rumors and my own reporting, to be not only inevitable, but a likely hit, too, especially with big businesses.
(Here's my 'reporting,' by the way: the driver who took me to the San Francisco Airport a few weeks ago told me his previous passenger was an Apple executive who told him - and this was before the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg articles came out - that an iPad Mini was definitely coming. By the way, the driver's wife works at Google. Only in Silicon Valley...)
As we've all had beaten into our skulls by now, form factor is key with mobile devices. Partly, this is due to how it affects weight and whether or not it can fit into a lady's purse. But mostly it's because of how it crucially it affects the usability of touch-based screen interfaces.
Supersize my tablet? No thanks.
So I do buy the argument that the iPad Mini creates a new category, distinct from 7-inch Android tablets and 10-inch iPads. As pointed out by Twitter user, trojankitten, a 7.85-inch iPad Mini would be 30 square inches. That's 40% larger than a Google Nexus or Amazon Kindle Fire, and 33% smaller than a full iPad.
That screen will likely be the 1024x768 resolution of the iPad 2, and, here's my guess, use the iPad 2's dual-core A5 processor.
Why? The new iPad's faster A5X with quad-core graphics is overkill for a 1024x768 screen.
Going with older components also lowers power usage and heat emission, and boosts battery life.
It would probably also allow Apple to match the Google Nexus and the rest of the Nvidia Kai-based tablets on price. Though knowing Apple, it will start at $249 for 16 GB of storage, instead of $199 for 8 GB.
In this way, Apple is copying what it's done successfully with the iPhone in the last 2 years: sell what are essentially older versions to the price-sensitive mass market and avoid cannibalizing its high-end while stealing away users from Android.
How About Enterprises?