Should Apple make a mini iPad?

With the Kindle Fire making major inroads in the tablet market, some think Apple would be wise to take on Amazon with a cheaper 7-inch iPad.

By Feb 13, 2012 5:08PM
Image: young woman reading from Kindle (© Reggie Casagrande/Photographer)Apple (AAPL) is reportedly working on a 7-inch tablet to take on Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle Fire.

Technology analyst Ezra Gottheil told Computerworld that a smaller version of the 9.7-inch iPad has always "been in the plan" for the Cupertino, Calif., company, and could see store shelves as soon as this year. But late founder Steve Jobs was vehemently opposed to a smaller iPad, saying the screen would be too small to "express the software."

All things considered, would producing a smaller, more portable $200 tablet be in Apple's best interest?

No, it makes no sense for Apple to cannibalize its own market share: "It's tough to justify a mini iPad," says Chenda Ngak at CBS News. Sure, there's a demand for 7-inch tablets, as demonstrated by the 6 million Kindle Fire units sold last quarter. But Apple moved well over 15 million iPads in the same period and really has no incentive to launch a smaller tablet for $200, Ngak adds. "Releasing a mini iPad would only pull customers from regular iPads, not necessarily mini-tablets, like the Kindle Fire or Barnes & Noble's Nook." The plan Gottheil outlines "could just be pandering to budget-conscious gadget lovers." But that doesn't sound like Apple.

A mini iPad could work for students, however: We all knew Jobs wasn't interested in a smaller iPad, says E.D. Kain at Forbes. But it "might make sense for [a Tim Cook-led] Apple to release a smaller iPad, especially if they seriously pursue the textbook market." While it'd be a "risky" decision to cut the price, pairing the device with an external keyboard -- like Gottheil predicts Apple will -- would make a 7-inch iPad an attractive purchase for cash-strapped students. Though a 2012 release is probably too soon, "it's almost certain that at some point in the future we'll see an iPad mini (or maybe a larger iPod touch)."

Apple wouldn't play by anyone else's rules: The Kindle Fire is "tearing up the charts," says Joel Evans at ZDNet, and since consumers are still "torn" between 7-inch and 10-inch tablets, now would be as good a time as any for Apple to break form and I wouldn't be surprised if it decided to try its hand. "That said, Apple doesn't conform so the company will probably invent a new category called the 'micro tablet' or something."

More from The Week:

Feb 14, 2012 12:38AM
They already make a mini iPad, it's called an iPod touch.
Feb 13, 2012 11:17PM
Apple should make the 7 " iPad.  I have the current iPad, which I love,  but my only complaint is that it's too heavy and bulky to carry around.  I thus bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab Plus 7" which I use  often and carry around because it's smaller and lighter then the iPad.  To me, the object of the mini iPad would not be to make it cheaper with less features but to make it with the same features as the regular iPad (and most likely at the same price) but simply smaller, lighter and thus more portable.
Feb 14, 2012 9:39AM
I already have it, It's called the iPod touch! Duh apple. Are you going to begin competing for your own business from your own customers? I don't see how it will differ much from the iPod Touch besides size... Functionality can't differ too much.
Feb 14, 2012 1:33PM
Apple should bring out the iBox that connects to whatever screen size you desire to purhase; 5" for autos,  4' for pockets, 6" for teenagers, 8" for cowboys and 12" for X-games.
Feb 13, 2012 6:09PM

They should just make a mini pad!!!


They should be boycotted and be financially responsible for the people that are making their" I" stuff. Responsible for deaths and medical issues. As long as Apple sends the production of their

Phones, tablets China they alone should own up to the sweat shops and insist on better conditions.

Better yet why not bring the jobs back to the USA, they have the cash just sitting around  "help Americans" Apple........not of my eyes


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