Peter Burrows and Adam Satariano for Bloomberg:
Apple Inc. plans to debut a smaller, cheaper iPad by year-end, two people with knowledge of the plans said, to help maintain dominance of the tablet market as Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. prepare competing handheld devices.
The new model will have a screen that’s 7 inches to 8 inches diagonally, less than the current 9.7-inch version, said the people, who asked not to be identified because Apple hasn’t made its plans public. The product, which Apple may announce by October, won’t have the high-definition screen featured on the iPad that was released in March, one of the people said.
There’s a lot of smoke now billowing around the “7-inch iPad”. This report is hardly the first, nor will it be the last. My only question is the timing.
Bloomberg drops “October” just as Rene Ritchie of iMore previously did a couple months ago. This would coincide with the new iPhone release, but you have to wonder if Apple wouldn’t rather space them out a bit? The iPhone launch can obviously stand alone as it is by far Apple’s biggest product. And the iPad is already at that level as well. Doing those two launches in one event (or even around the same time) may be overkill. I still wouldn’t be shocked to see Apple wait until early next year (the traditional iPad launch time) to debut an “iPad mini”.
On the other hand, by most accounts, the Nexus 7 is a very good device. Maybe that does force Apple’s hand a bit. They were obviously always going to do a smaller version of the iPad (hence, it possibly being ready to go by October), but again, the timing is the question. Perhaps if the Nexus 7 is selling like gangbusters, Apple does move to launch the iPad mini in the fall.
Then again, Apple typically doesn’t do things reactively. Instead, they seem to prefer to ship things when they’re done. Maybe they’re just done with the product. Again, Apple isn’t doing an iPad mini because of the Nexus 7 or the Kindle Fire or any other “rival” device — they’re doing it because it’s the logical evolution of the line. And because they feel like they’re going to sell a ton of them.
As for Steve Jobs implying Apple could never do a smaller tablet because users would have to whittle down their fingers to use it — welcome to Steve Jobs and Apple. Jobs saying that was just as good of an indication that Apple may eventually move into the space. And now it sure looks like they’re getting ready to.