Why would Apple make a 7-inch iPad? The kids

Why would Apple make a 7-inch iPad? The kids

Summary: A new survey shows that adults might not have much use for a smaller iPad, but they would think about buying it for their kids.

TOPICS: iPad, Apple, Tablets

While Apple products have always been cool among college students (even back in the Stone Age when I was an undergraduate), the company really became a mainstream presence when the iPod, and then iPhone, became hits with high school students, then tweens, and even elementary school kids. (If you don't have children, trust me on this.)

Children also love the iPad, though due to its higher price, they are more likely to be "borrowing" their parents' tablet than learning -- i.e., playing games -- on their own. And that fact alone may explain while Apple appears to be readying a smaller iPad, despite Steve Jobs' infamous diss of 7-inch tablets. (Though privately he may have been more receptive.)

Proof of that sentiment comes in a recent poll by CouponCodes4u. While an overwhelming majority of respondents -- 78 percent -- said they'd rather get the forthcoming iPhone 5 (or whatever Apple plans to call it) than a mini iPad, 21 percent said they would consider buying a smaller iPad for their children. Of those surveyed, 39 percent already had an iPad, which might explain why many aren't keen about a 7-inch iPad -- but also explain why more than a fifth of respondents would think of buying one for their kids.

You might not think a company as chic (at least in tech circles) as Apple would lower itself to making product decisions based on 10-year olds, but it makes perfect sense in terms of growing its market share. Look no further than the iPod Nano for a cheaper, smaller version of a pricey Apple product that would more likely be a child's Christmas or birthday present than its full-sized sibling. Even if there wouldn't seem to be huge consumer demand for an "iPad Mini," the company doesn't want to see more kids playing their own Amazon Kindle Fire or Google Nexus 7 tablets instead of grabbing the iPad away from their parents.

Would you buy a smaller iPad for your child? Do you think a mini iPad would be a big hit among younger users? Let us know your thoughts in the Talkback section below.

[Via TabTimes]

Topics: iPad, Apple, Tablets

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  • But The Apps Won't Work

    IOS developers have enough trouble developing apps that work with old Iphones, Ipads, and whatever the new Iphone will be like. IOS doesn't have the Android-style system of dynamic layouts that adapt themselves to different screen sizes and pixel resolutions; you have to explicitly code your app for a particular layout. So every new form factor means a new headache for the developers.

    And because Android already deals with all those form factors, it just makes Android more and more attractive.
    • To devlopers

      Not the wider public. Apple would be crazy if they continue to let Amazon and Google take market share.
      • Profit

        I don't know. As long as neither Amazon (selling at a loss) and Google (zero margin at all) aren't making any money (and no one else is either, although I haven't seen any word on Samsung's margin (which may be easier to do now that they have released financials in the current court case), I think Apple is just fine with other people having the mini-tablet market.

        I think "for kids" is a red herring. I don't see any benefit for kids. All the kids I've seen handle the larger form just fine, like the ones running around the Met taking pictures of the art and reading up on the work. Besides, isn't the prevailing child UI/UX practices to make things larger for kids?

        I also think, unless Apple has figured out how to make a mini-iPad less expensive to make than anyone else (and who else but Apple could do that), I don't expect it to be that much cheaper than iPad, if it exists at all. Apple is not a zero margin player.

        • Hardware

          "Apple is not a zero margin player."

          Well, at least in regards to hardware, that is.

        • Ultimate goal is profit not market share

          Your right that they are going after profit, market share has never been a priority for Apple. That being said they aren't going to leave money on the table either. If there is a market they think they can move some product in you can be guaranteed they will try. I don't think they need to get the price down to $199 to compete. The Fire IMO (wife has one) doesn't really compete against the Nexus 7 or the potential smaller iPad so don't target it in regard to pricing. Release a smaller iPad with 16GB of memory for $299 and I think it will compete very well. It will be $100 more than the Fire or 8GB Nexus but twice the memory and only $50 more than the 16GB Nexus if you can even get one. The current iPad sells better than other tablets far cheaper so I do think they could do very well at $299, leaving the iPad 2 at $399 and the new iPad at $499. They have the supply chain that should allow them to make a better profit than most are making on their higher end tablets even if it isn't as good as they make on their other devices.

          I also don't think it's the size that matters in regards to selling for kids, it's the price.
      • Not sure Amazon and Google is causing Apple to lose sleep.

        Apple shipped 17 million iPads during this last quarter alone, up from 11.8 million units in 1Q12. And they have a commanding 68% market share lead. The iPad have over 70% market share in China. It has something like 96% share in the enterprise. Strong interest in the device from vertical markets, especially education - places the competition are even attempting to compete in.

        The market is Apple's to define, if they release a smaller tablet (or larger iPod Touch), it's not because of pressure from competition.
    • what if they used the same resolution as the iphone?

      if they made a tablet with 960x640 resolution (same as iphone but with lower ppi) would they need to recode apps?
      • Agrred

        A 7" with lower pixel density would wither be an iPad Jr, ir iPod Touch XL.

        Indeed to keep the costs down, the 960x640 iPod Touch/iPhone resolution would be ideal, an if you hold it slightly further away, it would still be a retina display - LOL.

        I flich every time my kids pick up my iPad, but thankfully it is covered by an 'accidental damage X-warranty', so need not really worry they will wreck it.
      • Re: what if they used the same resolution as the iphone?

        Sure, they could get away without recoding--if they want the carefully-designed UI to be scaled up to gigantic proportions. For a platform that prides itself on tasteful and elegant design, that would look really wonderful, wouldn't it?
      • iPhone Resolution

        What if they used the resolution of the NEW iPhone, 640 x 1,136? Well, such a device with a 7.85" diagonal screen and a narrow (iPhone / iPod Touch style) bezel would be about 4" x 7". This is coat pocket size. Could Apple be trying for a "super phone" that could serve as both phone and tablet / laptop for some traversing business folks? With this approach Apple could pursue a subsidized-through-carriers model and hit a low ($200) end user price point while keeping their margins...
        • They avoided the subsidizes on the iPad

          and it's an advantage so I don't see them going with them for a smaller iPad.
    • Interestingly

      "So every new form factor means a new headache for the developers."

      I hear that from Android developers and not iOS developers. Purely anecdotal and I am not a developer. Just what I hear.

      • Indeed

        I here that coding for apple's stuff is far easier then for android too. The latter requiring adaptive code for different screen resolutions, whilst a game coded for the iphone will just work as is on the ipad.
        5th element
    • Don't let any facts get into your FUD

      From the "Drawing and Printing Guide for iOS"

      "The reason most of your existing drawing code just works is that native drawing technologies such as Core Graphics take the current scale factor into account for you. For example, if one of your views implements a drawRect: method, UIKit automatically sets the scale factor for that view to the screen’s scale factor. In addition, UIKit automatically modifies the current transformation matrix (CTM) of any graphics contexts used during drawing to take into account the view’s scale factor. Thus, any content you draw in your drawRect: method is scaled appropriately for the underlying device’s screen."
      • Re: Don't let any facts get into your FUD

        Sure, if you want your layout scaled up to enormous size on a tablet, or shrunk down to minuscule, hard-to-read, hard-to-tap dimensions on a phone.

        Android deals with automatically rearranging layouts for different screen sizes and densities while keeping widgets, text etc at reasonably consistent dimensions. That's the real challenge with dealing with such a wide range of form factors, which IOS and its sympathizers (like yourself) haven't grasped.
  • Millions of people will buy $200 tablets for their kids this Christmas

    The only question is will any of those be iPads.
    • They will not be ipads at $200

      Google and Amazon $200 tablets are selling at cost or a small loss because they are looking to gain market share.

      Apple already sells the ipod touch in the $200 range and the ipad2 for $400.

      The only safe price range is somehere around $300 area, depending on the cost to manufacture a 7 inch ipad.

      Anything outside those numbers would most likely cannibalize sales of ipod touch or ipad2 and eating into profit margins.
  • This article is dumb!

    Kids aren't the only people using the 7" tablets and in my experience they make up less than 20% of that group.
  • I agree... IF

    If Apple decides to make a 7" iPad with a 4:3 aspect ratio like the current one, then, yes, it will be seen as a smaller iPad for the kids. But if they go the 16:9 route, like most Android tablets then it will be seen as a smaller iPad/eReader device that easily fits into a purse or a man's front pants pocket.

    That's my prediction, at any rate.

    I've always felt that Apple's choice of a 4:3 aspect ratio was the correct one for a lage 10" tablet, but that for 7" tablets the 16:9 form factor makes more sense.
    • "fits into a purse or a man's front pants pocket."

      You can actually fit a 7" tablet in your front jean pocket?