Much has been made of the new iPad Mini, a smaller 7 inch device, with hopefully a matching smaller price point.
There is almost a new iPad Mini rumour each day at the moment, and the sheer number of them combined with their appearance on respected news sites like the WSJ and Bloomberg make it almost a certainty that the “no smoke without fire” rule will apply and Apple will indeed unveil a smaller tablet in the 7” range. Possibly alongside the new iPhone announcement, but more likely separately in October.
If they do however, it begs the question, how will they address the issue of Steve Jobs stating that 7 inches was too small for a tablet?
This size isn’t sufficient to create great tablet apps in our opinion.
As I see it, there are 3 options.
Option 1 – completely ignore any inference that a 7” tablet is anything but great, and state it is an obvious completion of the Apple device line-up, slotting perfectly in-between the 3.5” iPod Touch and the 9.7” iPad.
The problem with this is they will be asked why its ok now, when it wasn’t before. Steve could brush that sort of thing aside, but that won’t be as easy now.
Option 2 – come out and state that either Steve Jobs was wrong, or that simply Apple under the new Tim Cook management has taken a look at the market, and seen there is demand for the device and regardless of “their” previous position on this size device, they are now going ahead with it. In effect stating that the new broom brings new policies.
This also has its problems. While Apple is starting to make decisions that may not have happened if Steve jobs were still at the helm (a thicker, heavier new iPad?) they don’t want to give the impression that anything is being run differently yet.
Option 3 – and this I think will be the winner. Come on stage prepared to deal with this question, and in effect imply that Steve Jobs statement regarding a 7” screen being too small was referring to the widescreen layout that current Android tablets have adopted.
Tim should go to great lengths to detail the differences between a 7” tablet at the 16:9 aspect ratio that all current ones are at, compared to a 7” tablet at the 4:3 aspect ratio that the rumours suggest the iPad Mini will be designed at, matching the AR of its bigger brother.
I’m expecting slides and graphics to show the world how a 7” iPad at 4:3 is fine, but other 7” tablets at 16:9 are not.
There should even be finger visualisations – showing how there is room-a-plenty on a 4:3 AR iPad Mini, but shaving is required on the Google Nexus 7 and its unfortunate 16:9 layout.
Regardless of the explanation, I for one hope Apple does release a 7” iPad Mini – its something I would definitely use, and would allow Apple to dominate the smaller tablet space and the £250-£300 price region which I hope they will target it in.