Update: This article was written 3 months before the release of the iPad Mini. For a follow up, please check out this post.
Steve Jobs didn’t like a 7 in iPad. He said it made no sense. But that was 2010.
In 2012 it makes sense, not because the size is better now than then (it is an awkward size in many ways).
It makes sense in 2012 because the market has changed and there is much room to make (another) tidy sum of profit which wasn’t available in 2010.
And Apple didn’t spend a dime on building this market, but they can (and will) steal it away.
Here’s why I say this.
In 2010 there was no one making a 7 in tablet. The size is not optimal from a user interface (UI) standpoint, and the 10 in iPad screen is manifestly more appealing when it comes to the UI.
This isn’t 2010, and if the Kindle Fire did not hurt Apple’s iPad sales (and there is little to indicate it did), what the Fire did do was establish that there is interest in a device that is that size ( or at least smaller than the iPad but bigger than the iPhone).
But if the Fire demonstrated the size works for consumers (Amazon has sold a lot of them), it has not proven a hit in terms of the user experience (UE). And that is where iOS shines brightest.
Apple absolutely undersands the value and importance (from a user’s perspective) of getting the UI and UE right. And they do that exceptionally well.
Amazon (and now Google) have done the heavy lifting in creating a (separate) market for a 7 inch device. Apple will now deliver to the market a superior user experience.
There are some who say the 7 in makes no sense for Apple because the icons for the iPad won’t look right, or won’t render right. That may be true, but I think Apple has this figured out already…the iPhone and iPad do, after all, share the same operating system.
At the end of the day, developers in the iOS ecosphere are about selling their products, and if the 7 in iPad opens up further markets, there will be no complaints.
Apple will be able to leverage all of their experience in creating beautiful 4 inch and 10 inch iOS devices to bear on an iPad Mini. They do so without spending much money to do development work (they simply leverage their already best in class R&D experience).
So, here’s my take: Apple will indeed bring a 7 inch iPad Mini to the market this year. They didn’t have to create a market for a 7 inch device (Amazon did that) and they don’t have to expend as much for R&D related to either the OS or the hardware (which Amazon and Google have had to do with only marginal levels of success).
BTW, if you are wondering how the price will compare to iPad and/or the Google Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire? Even at the exact price of those devices, Apple still wins. Their UI and UE will be demolish the Fire and the Nexus.
When (not if) Apple’s iPad Mini hits the market, it will sell in huge numbers.
What do you think? Is Apple going to bring a 7 inch iPad Mini to market this year? Would you buy one if priced comparably with the Kindle Fire or Google Nexus 7?