Apple lab-testing 7.85-inch iPad prototype, but will it ever be released?

Apple lab-testing 7.85-inch iPad prototype, but will it ever be released?

Summary: A noted Apple blogger says the company is presently testing a 7.85-inch iPad in its labs. Should Apple even bother to release a smaller iPad?

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TOPICS: Apple, iPad, Mobility
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Steve Jobs famously called tablets smaller than the iPad "dead on arrival," but Jobs was also known to dismiss an idea one day and then embrace it as his own the next day. Which is why you shouldn't be surprised that rumors persist that Apple is pursuing a slate that would rival the Kindle Fire and a potential Google-branded tablet.

The latest one comes from Daring Fireball blogger John Gruber, who said on a recent podcast that Apple is presently testing a 7.85-inch iPad in the company's labs. It will apparently retain the 1024x768 resolution that the first two generations of iPad possess, though that should result in a slightly crisper screen on the smaller device. Other details aren't available, but how much more do consumers really need to know other than it would be a smaller iPad with a smaller price tag?

Is Apple serious about releasing a mini-iPad? (A NanoPad?) With other tablet makers still scrambling to present any kind of challenge to the larger iPad (Kindle Fire excepted), there's no rush for the company to expand its product line. If the market for smaller tablets continues to grow, then Apple could conceivably leap in, much as it added the iPod Mini and Nano to the iPod lineup way back when.

Do you think Apple should release a smaller iPad? If it did, would you buy one? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

[Via The Verge]

Topics: Apple, iPad, Mobility

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15 comments
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  • Yes they should...

    The tendency for the iPad is to rest it against something while using it and it cramps the neck for.reading... A 7" model could correct this.

    Honestly, I am thinking about a smaller tablet for reading and that means I likely will not take this one with me.
    slickjim
  • "that should result in a slightly crisper screen on the smaller device"?

    It is not "slightly", it is the same Retina-display pixel density as in normal iPad (264 PPI).

    Also, Jobs was against users "needing a file on their fingers" to adjust to twice smaller UI, not 7" screen size per se.

    This is why Apple (during Jobs' time) developed patent that would allow iOS to recognize approaching finger before it would actually touch the screen, and [b]scale up UI in the area accordingly[/b].

    I doubt that it makes sense for Apple to release twice smaller iPad without this patent.
    DDERSSS
  • Less expensive? Yeah!

    Yes. I would buy one. The screen ratio of the ipad is perfect and would make a smaller one seem bigger. The taller ratio android tabs, while nice for wide-screen videos, do at it at the expense of EVERYTHING else. I would be more inclined to lug around a smaller tab with me than the current one. The current one is a stay at home tab.
    homeandmantel
  • OMG fragmentation!

    Oh man this is becoming too complex for developers. again more screen sizes
    This sound like fragmentation. What are android haters going to whine about now ?

    ;-)
    pweltz
    • You really need to learn the difference between size and resolution.

      As Gruber points out, the same screen resolution means bitmaps wouldn't need to be resized, and at 7.85" developers who adhered to Apple UI guidelines should have sufficiently sized buttons. As a result, if you played by Apple's rules (and if you're in the App Store you most likely did), you're fine-your iPhone/iPad app will run and look fine as is. So much for fragmentation
      matthew_maurice
    • Actually I "think" the way Apple does things screen size

      is not an issue so I don't see "fragmentation" becoming one at least for Apple that is:)

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
  • Should, should not? I don't know.

    But I [b]do know[/b] that if Apple decides to put it into production it will have a 30%+ margin and be available for sale within 14 days of the announcement.
    matthew_maurice
  • Keep in mind.....

    Apple released their smaller iPod (iPod mini) 3 years after launching the original iPod. the mini went on to become the best selling iPod shortly after (then the nano took its spot) Something to ponder.

    Apple has transformed itself into a world leading mobile device company. the majority of their revenue clearly comes from mobile devices. they are leading the "post-pc" march with their iPad. ios will become an even greater force for competitors to deal with (for instance, despite Android's rise 80% of Google's mobile revenue comes from iOS).

    So why would they limit themselves to just one size fits all? i expect them to follow with a smaller version. It only makes sense.
    dave95.
  • Unique 7.85inch... NOT narrow 7inch!

    Most 7" devices suffer from the elongated aspect ratio that is only good for games and certain films. The time-proven 4x3 aspect ratio is still the way to go, and it seems like Apple will keep it if they go with a smaller device. That alone is noteworthy, but the main thing is what price can they bring it in at? If the iPad 2 sells now for $399, can they sell the little guy at $299?

    NOTE: To those who defend the widescreen ratio, do your homework and you'll find out why it has never universally been the ideal. This is not a recent debate, it goes back at least five hundred years and affects everything from paper, paintings, windows, and just about everything that we focus our attention and vision on.
    camcost
  • It's the Only sized pad I'd buy

    I bought an iPad and returned it. Too darned big.

    I love my iPod, but browsing is a pain (it's too darned small).

    So, I travel with a laptop, a Kindle and my iPod.

    The 7(or so) inch iPad would hit a sweet spot with me and might get me down to one device for most of my travel.
    robertbirks
  • Just the Right Size

    I bought an iPad and returned it. Too darned big.

    I love my iPod, but browsing is a pain (it's too darned small).

    So, I travel with a laptop, a Kindle and my iPod.

    The 7(or so) inch iPad would hit a sweet spot with me and might get me down to one device for most of my travel.
    robertbirks
  • Apple lab-testing 7.85-inch iPad prototype, but will it ever be released?

    I love the size of the current iPad. For myself, not sure I would want anything smaller. I personally do not find it too big. I think it is a great size for viewing the internet, pictures and magazines. I still like my kindle better for just reading but anything with pictures is great on the iPad.
    nbkz81f
  • Size does matter

    IMO, 7 - 8 form is great; I love my Kindle Fire for that reason. Can be stowed in a small bag or purse; can be held in one hand; very portable. I love my IPAD 2 but a smaller size and price is very enticing for me and lots of others. It would be the middle ground between the IPOD TOUCH and the IPAD. Also a profit maker for Apple too. But it would need to come in different storage sizes. The 8 GB size is too small.
    Geekygirl68
  • There Are Just Too Many Tablets

    I would prefer APPLE concentrate on a larger screen iPhone. I'm hoping the iPhone 5 will be that device. iPad for less portable, and iPhone for more portable. Who would need something else in between?
    lloydkuhnle
  • Errrr

    7.85-inch? What kind of size is that? Sure it wasn't 7.84876555 inches?
    I wonder what they'd charge for this one with the smaller screen and lower resolution. $490?
    Maybe they are trying to compete against the Playbook? :-)
    Gisabun