A 7-Inch iPad Can Shake up the Tablet Space, Again

A 7-Inch iPad Can Shake up the Tablet Space, Again

Summary: The mass display of me-too tablets at the CES last week is a testament to the tablet that Jobs built. While everyone else plays catch-up, Apple could shake things up again with a little iPad.

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Apple introduced the 9.7-inch iPad and it "created" the tablet segment in one fell swoop. Millions picked them up and walked out of the store with one (or more) in tow. The mass display of me-too tablets at the CES last week is a testament to the tablet that Jobs built. While everyone else is playing catch-up, Apple could shake things up again with a more portable 7-inch iPad.

Most of the tablets on display at the CES were of a size and shape similar to the iPad. The call of the day was a 10-inch screen sitting in a roughly half-inch thick slate. If you lined up all the tablets at the CES and ignored the OS each was running, you'd have a mass display of lots of slates that looked more or less the same.

There were a few "trend-setters" that followed Samsung's lead with the Galaxy Tab, using a smaller 7-inch display. Samsung struck a chord with consumers wanting a tablet that functions more-or-less like an iPad, but with a lighter, smaller form that is more easily carried around. My experience with the Galaxy Tab proves quite a lot of folks are instantly struck with the more portable tablet when they pick one up.

With most competitors racing to release iPad-sized products, Apple could shake things up again by introducing a 7-inch iPad. It could do so without seriously hurting its established customer base, as most purchasers would likely be those who've passed on the iPad due to price and size. The smaller iPad would be cheaper, and as I've seen with the Galaxy Tab would instantly appeal to those who pick one up. A mini-iPad would cement Apple's dominance in the tablet segment, and create major competition for other 7-inch tablets due to hit the market soon. Existing iPad apps could run on the little iPad, so it's a win-win scenario for the folks in Cupertino. A little magic goes a long way, as proven with the iPhone.

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, iPad, Laptops, Mobility

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49 comments
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  • iPad 7-inch? Fine, except Jobs ruled it out about 2 months ago.

    Bye to that theory.
    adrian@...
    • RE: A 7-Inch iPad Can Shake up the Tablet Space, Again

      @adrian@... I think we'll see one at some point. Samsung sold a million of them in just a few weeks, proving the market is valid.
      JamesKendrick
      • RE: A 7-Inch iPad Can Shake up the Tablet Space, Again

        @JamesKendrick <br>I was tempted to write "Oh [deity inserted here], it's 2008/Netbooks all over again," but I hear you on the podcast, so I know that you're a more serious person.<br><br>I am fairly sure that Apple prototyped 7" iPads prior to releasing the 10" and decided that the user experience issues and the potential upside from profits and margins ended up making this a no.<br><br>Now, I know you MTR folks all love the Galaxy Tab because it's bigger than a smartphone and small enough to be single-handed. It could be that Apple opened the door on the interface and concept and single-handedness is the essential ux point, a fact that I think could have been missed prior to the iPad's release.<br><br>That would leave the profit question as the key one, since we know that Apple is fine with sitting out low margin market sectors.<br><br>Apple also has a business philosophy of not skating to where the puck was, so even if seven inchers are massively successful, Apple won't go into that sector unless they can figure out what others misssed.<br><br>So, yes, you're right, Apple could shake up the sector, but since this seems to be the entrance point for a lot of competitors, I think Apple will stay out and let them battle each other, probably by lowering prices and profits to gain share.
        DannyO_0x98
    • Doesn't mean anything

      @adrian@... doesn't mean anything. He ruled out video on iPods, and a year later, what do you know, video on iPods.
      PB_z
      • RE: A 7-Inch iPad Can Shake up the Tablet Space, Again

        @PB_z
        That is true.
        kenosha77a
      • RE: A 7-Inch iPad Can Shake up the Tablet Space, Again

        @PB_z : He lied [again]..... Or just a marketing ploy. :-)
        Gis Bun
    • Apple has very ***special*** patents for 7&quot; iPad

      @adrian@... If the patent could be realized practically in near future, then <b>it will allow to detect to which area of a screen users' fingers approach before actually touching it</b> -- it is nothing like when videocameras are used to detect people waving hands from like three feet or farther, it is about detecting movements towards concrete part of a screen from distance like few inches, mostly an inch maxixum.

      With this, Apple can make 7" iPad without re-scaling whole GUI and inventing another canegory of applications -- the GUI will be scaled up dynamically in the parts to which user moves the finger so control elements would become bigger and easy to work with even on screen, which is twice as low comparing to actual 10" screen iPad.
      DDERSSS
    • RE: A 7-Inch iPad Can Shake up the Tablet Space, Again

      @adrian@... Exactly.... I'm looking forward to the playbook as we're RIM and sime iphone/ipad anyway. I've long said 10" is too big to wander the office and the smaller size will likely suit me plus I'll have access without an app and its totally incescant password entry. BUT Mr Jobs was adamant that smaller screens were a backward step. I dont think so..... but can he be a man and do a u-turn if required? There's no shame in saying you were possibly wrong (we've all been there I'm sure) but some folk find that a difficult place. <br><br>Should be interesting. And I'm pleasantly testing the Blackberry Torch tonight. My incesant moaning about RIM and internet access might just be over. This is answering my business needs... and mucho less password hassle than my iphone app for business access.
      johnmckay
  • RE: A 7-Inch iPad Can Shake up the Tablet Space, Again

    Yeah, I thought I read that too. It'd take a lot for Apple to do the 7" screen. Not sure what it would take.
    THavoc
  • RE: A 7-Inch iPad Can Shake up the Tablet Space, Again

    It would certainly shake up the general aviation space. I use mine in the cockpit on every flight, but the 10-inch version is a bit too large. A 7-inch iPad would be perfect, and the software, which is quite advanced and refined, is available on that platform. You simply can't get it on Android, not now or any time soon it appears.
    greghughespdx
    • RE: A 7-Inch iPad Can Shake up the Tablet Space, Again

      @greghughespdx <br><br>Had Apple released a 7 inch iPad first, I don't think we would be discussing how refined the apps are today. As we are seeing now with the Galaxy Tab, many developers would probably rather settle with having their apps simple blown up in size if ever there were a 7 inch iPad. Then it would really be defined as a big iPod Touch by critics. I think it was important for Apple to truly differentiate the smart phone app category from the tablets app category, <b>first.</b> I think in time we will see a 7".
      dave95.
    • Hey, if the iPad could connect to the electronics in the plane, it could be

      your control panel to fly the plane. Ok, possible, but BAD idea. But, think about a standard for cars, so you could slide in a 7 inch iPad to replace the instrument cluster!!!
      DonnieBoy
      • Why? If you lose the iPad, or it ceases functioning

        you lose the ability to drive the car.
        I would not like to be away on vacation only to find that I was stuck there as the local Apple store could not fix the problem.
        :|
        Tim Cook
      • RE: A 7-Inch iPad Can Shake up the Tablet Space, Again

        @DonnieBoy

        Actually, I believe Apple EULA's all prohibit the use of their software for flight control. /notkidding
        jeverettk
        • RE: A 7-Inch iPad Can Shake up the Tablet Space, Again

          @jeverettk Or maybe the SDK agreements - can't remember which.
          jeverettk
      • RE: A 7-Inch iPad Can Shake up the Tablet Space, Again

        @DonnieBoy

        I'm not sure about flight control, but the EULA does prevent you from being able to use it as part of a nuclear missile or biological weapon (among other things).
        spacespeed
    • Should you not concentrate on flying?

      @greghughespdx
      I would not want to find out we had flown past the airport we had hoped to fly in to.
      :|
      Tim Cook
      • You're really hoping . . .

        @Mister Spock

        To fly INTO a building?!? :)
        JLHenry
      • RE: A 7-Inch iPad Can Shake up the Tablet Space, Again

        @Mister Spock
        Or the star you'd hoped to fly into with a strange red orb of destruction.
        jeverettk
  • A Shame It Won't Happen

    That form factor would actually get me to think about it. Unfortunately, there's only slightly more chance of that happening than Apple coming out with an inexpensive netbook.
    Whyaylooh