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Summary:

Apple, perhaps worried about competition from the Android camp, maybe looking to develop a new version of iPad: this one with a 7-inch screen and bring it to market sometime in 2011, according to an analyst. The new iPad will allegedly have both front-and-rear facing cameras.

ipad

Apple, perhaps worried about competition from the Android camp, may be looking to develop a new version of iPad, this one with a 7-inch screen. It would bring such a device to market some time in 2011, according to a research note put out by Rodman & Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar this morning. He writes that the second generation iPad will have both front and rear facing cameras to make it easier for video conferencing on the device, using Apple’s Facetime.

So why a second a generation iPad with different specifications this quickly? I have a theory.

In the early days of the iPhone, the lack of competition allowed Apple to build up a sizable lead over others. However, the emergence of Android has started to take away some of the growth opportunities from Apple, as it has brought more options for consumers. Competition has come early for the iPad. Samsung recently launched its Galaxy Tablets in partnership with four major U.S. carriers, and this is likely to put pressure on iPad sales.

A typical upgrade from Apple would involve Cupertino retaining the same display size for a few generations, like they did with the iPhone. In this case perhaps, the 7-inch tablet can lower the bill of materials and make it easier to source components like the display, which, in turn, allows Apple to stay competitive in the emerging tablet market.

Perhaps that’s why a new form factor for the second generation iPad makes sense. What do you guys think?

Related GigaOM Pro Content(sub req’d): Report: The Consumer Video Chat Market through 2015

  1. Yes, competition is the cause. No doubt about that.

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    1. Armchair hypothesis blog, one after another. I dont know how these baseless whims make way to Techmeme.

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  2. “So why a second a generation iPad with different specifications this quickly?”

    Because Apple know their target market pretty well.

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  3. To me it simply does not make sense. He has spent considerable resources in building the “perfect size” tablet. He actually, said that during the iPad launch and continued to explain why 9.7″ is the right size.

    Now, Jobs is running scared so he will build a 7″ iPad? Which would indicate that the 7″ iPad has been on the companies road map for a number years; prior. Curious — that Jobs is loosing ground to Android on the handset front but he is worried (rumor) about the iPad.

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  4. If they actually do this, they’ll also ship a 2nd gen ver of the 9.7″ model to provide choice, keep mkt share, and support customer proprietary apps that depend on the larger screen.

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  5. I believe it is a personal choice. I for one, love the current iPad form factor, it provides a good amount of screen real-estate for neat user experiences (like Twitter for iPad, Flipboard etc.) to be developed. I think Apple could perhaps add a 7inch form factor (“iPad Mini”) so it can be “pocketable”, but should IMO keep the 10inch version as well. Regarding cameras, I think the iPad really needs a front facing camera for FaceTime.

    Having said that if the 7inch can shave off $100 (or more) from the price, it could go a long way.

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  6. I think it’s much more probable that this is just a false rumour. I think Apple will actually try to use its apps as a distinct factor to the Android Tablet, after all real productivity apps like the apps by Omni are not upgrades from the phone version, but downgrades from the Mac version. Android will have troubles to match that because of the lack of an Android version for PCs.

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  7. For me, it makes perfect sense. 7″ Retina Display would seriously kick asses. Having a model between iPod Touch and iPad would be a strong counterargument to naysayers that bring up “limited lineup” as a reason of Apple’s losing to comentition.

    I think that when given choice between 10″ and 7″ iPad, I would opt to 7″ one.

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    1. I agree. A 7″ with a Retina display that doubles the 1024×768 iPad screen size where all the previous apps work perfectly and copies what they did with the iPhone 4 makes sense. There is also a rumor that Apple is looking into super light glass. They ALWAYS follow devices with one that is thinner and lighter.

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  8. Om, I’m very surprised that you wrote “perhaps worried about competition…” You of anyone should know that Apple has things planned out 5 years into the future, with lots of contingencies. This is the game that they’re masters of. There are a range of iMacs and a range of MacBook Pros and there will be a range of iPads. You don’t come out with a range of products with the product’s introduction if you don’t have to, do you?

    It’s foolish to think of Apple as “reactionary” in the sense of following what others are doing. They are nothing if not flexible. And when they pave the way with a product that didn’t before exist, they are the first to understand that they cannot predict what will actually happen and have contingencies ready. And they loosen up only when they have to (like the recent relaxing of their app development restrictions).

    So many people just don’t get why the “original” iPad did not come with front and rear cameras. But Apple had it running in their labs and decided against it. Why?

    It’s because the original iPad was too heavy for people to hold appropriately for FaceTime and the image on the other end would either jiggle uncontrollably or you’d be looking up their nose. Also, Apple didn’t have to include cameras for it to be supremely successful and saved that for later. Why is this so hard for people to understand?

    Apple had Adobe Flash running on the iPhone and iPad in their labs and made the decision to not support it. Why?

    Because they knew that people would not understand why smooth scrolling suddenly became clunky and frustrating and they’d tap on things on a web page and nothing would happen and would blame Safari and Apple for such a crappy browser. Right? They’re no fools.

    So anyone who thinks Apple is “scrambling to deal with competition” just identifies themselves as someone who has too a simplistic an understanding of the complex dynamics of the marketplace, which includes how you play the game of leading the way, and how you deal with customers that don’t understand the complexities of technology.

    And some of the comments above are perfect examples of this.

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    1. Mark, did you ever consider that maybe Apple had planned a 7″ iPad all along, and as you assert, have been planning it for “5 years”?

      I currently own and have owned several Apple products over the last 6 years. Apple are masters at releasing products that lack obvious features so that they can milk their customers again 6-12 months later when they release an updated version that is what the first should have been.

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    2. What I found most disappointing from Om was “stay competitive.” Stay competitive? Even if Apple “loses” to Android, who is selling more NAND Flash-based, ARM-powered, touchscreen-capable devices than Apple? Who has 3 synergistic lines to further leverage volume pricing of components? Does someone else have their volumes, margins, inventory and channel control that I am unaware of?

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    3. I thought we already had a range of iPads. We have the 3g and wifi only models, as well as the different storage capacities. That’s the exact same setup we have with iPhones and iPods. Same form factors, different capacities.

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  9. [...] Fear is a great motivation for innovation and revolution. No where is this more evident than in the technology industry. Here is another example from where else, Apple! | http://bit.ly/aPs6PJ Amplify’d from gigaom.com [...]

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  10. And any of you who use the expression “losing market share” or “losing to the competition” also identify yourselves as people who do not understand the complexities of the marketplace.

    In a sentence, because Apple is not at all like it’s competitors (because it makes both the hardware and the software and has unique relationships with carriers, etc) it does not depend on the most market share to leave the competition in the dust in ways that matter.

    To help you understand what little you really know, which is what happened to me, you can learn more by reading http://www.asymco.com for starters.

    And OM, I love GigaOM but I think you should have a little more control over some of your authors and get them to spend more time on their articles and help readers understand such complexities of the marketplace.

    We come here to learn, and articles should be informative, illuminating and clarifying experiences. Right? You are the guys that spend all your time being in touch with everything, and article writing is the medium you use to transmit that clearer understanding to others.

    As you know, writing has to strike a balance, because if you go too far on the side of brevity, it causes misunderstanding, misconception, and triggers wild comments that are great for site visits, but takes a toll on your site’s reputation.

    Thanks for listening.

    Mark Hernandez
    The Information Workshop

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    1. Oh Mark, you were on a roll. I was just thinking to myself: “This guy knows EVERYTHING! Wow!” And then you had to ruin it all with that genitive case. Writing doesn’t just need balance. It also needs punctuation and grammar. Bummer.

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      1. Ha ha. Thanks for that Dylan. Yeah, I learn a lot by practice, and people like you who help me learn more. For instance, one time this one guy helped me learn that punctuation goes inside quotes by ripping me to shreds. I can take it. :-)

        Not only that, it’s a bummer when you hit submit and then discover you left in an extra word when you were rearranging a sentence. Most commenting systems don’t allow you to edit.

        I guess we can agree that language, like the mobile marketplace and article writing, is complex and there’s so much to learn and we can all help each other get better at it. And thanks for helping me. I love it. I have a tendency to use too many commas, too. :-)

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    2. ^ apple fanboy

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