Is Apple Working on a 7-Inch Screen iPad?

75 Comments

Apple (s AAPL), perhaps worried about competition from the Android (s goog) 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

75 Comments

conrad

I don’t give a f**k who releases 7 inch model better…But I want in 7 inch model my apps , front and back 5Mp camera, phone, and for sure the ability to jailbreak so I don’t loose money on stupid apps that’s it.

Justin N.

Personally I would like to see a 12″, 9.7″, and a 7″ to give a lot of different choices for consumers. Maybe the 12″ for more home or office use and 7″ for more on-the-go use. I would lean more towards a 12″ personally. As for the camera, I like to see 2 cameras, one for facetime and other on the back plus the addtion on a microphone. Also I would like to see a more light weight model. A great additon to the ipad would be a stylus or pen to use to take notes in a “note taking app” and for drawing or art apps. It would be nice for Apple to allow other carriers to have ipad plans and to support 4g. One of the most important features missing is flash support. Most websites use flash, add this would make web surfing 10 times better! These are my hopes for future ipads. I’m sure a few of these will be a the ipad 2 such as the cameras, mic, lighter weight, and possibly size change and 4g. I don’t think flash will come around because Apple has never added flash to hand helds all these years. why would they start now?

Marc

I would say because competition is coming with this format on Android…

Mobile operators seem to have some in their Roadmap… may be the end of the year…
And Mobile operators can sell these Android tablets with Data plan and subsidize them… and they can have access to their customers.
With the iPad, they can’t sell it directly (until the recent move with ATT and Verizon). So they have to see other “Pad” format.

And I guess, Apple is well aware of that and have to fill the gap between the two form factors (iPhone and iPad).

Nick

Anyone else worried that a 7 inch screen will make mobile apps look better which will cause less interest in making iPad apps just mobile apps?

pk de cville

By mobile apps, I presume you mean apps that could run on a touch or an iPhone.

If that’s a major consideration, I expect they’ll produce a 7″ screen with the same total number of screen pixels as the current 9″ model. Images and fonts will default to smaller overall dimensions, but those images and fonts will be clearer and more saturated.

I’d be interested in it because I’d prefer the lighter weight and smaller form factor.

Bliss

Those who are dismissing the idea of a 7 inch iPad don’t realize that there is a real niche that needs to be filled here. That size is way better for use in the car (as a GPS navigation device, media player etc); way better as an ereader (lighter); way more portable (fits in purse, coat pockets etc).

Jman

my friend has an ipad and i love the size now but i want to wait for the 2nd gen, but now its going to be smaller? yeah a camera would be fantastic but making it smaller makes it like the ipod gen 4. the size splits the ipod from the ipad so its like enlarging an ipod more than shrinking an ipad.

Ronald Stepp

Funny how we keep hearing about all the competition before we even have any actual tablets on the market. Much less before we even see sales figures.

Apple!!!! Look out!!!! Somebody is going to market a kick ass tablet-phone in 2016!!! Oh well, might as well give up now.

Almoral

It’s funny how everyone says the iPhone is losing ground to Android. Market share is not the point of going into business. People go into business to make money. Nokia still owns the cellphone market and they’ve been firing executives left and right. Why? They company’s not producing. This isn’t Windows vs the Mac all over again. When that debacle happened Apple had a salesman as CEO. I think everyone can agree that Jobs is much more than just a salesman. That said, competition is necessary in every market. I just don’t think this is a market that will be won over by cameras in tablets.

Vikas

IMHO, I think the “size” of the iPad really isn’t where the attention should be. Rather, maybe it should be on making sure that the iPad (itself) is the best product on the market and offers features that it’s competitors do, soon will, or don’t have at all! For example, on the 2nd generation iPad (http://news.softpedia.com/news/Apple-s-2nd-Generation-iPad-Does-Not-Have-a-7-Inch-Screen-Suppliers-Indicate-156846.shtml), maybe they should have an SD reader, support for LTE (long term evolution – wireless), or some other cool features that will set it apart from others.

baba12

This is hogwash and based on no reliable facts. Why do people believe crap and then run with it.
I guess it costs nothing to say what you want to say and see which crap will stick to the wall.

JimmyLo

How are you always consistently so wrong? Hope this one works out for you but your track record predicting Apple’s future plans/success says you will be wrong again.

Malik, ever try waiting tables? Perhaps you’d be better at that.

pk de cville

The strategic competitive benefits of a 7″ iPad are enormous.

Apple can get best pricing and quality on the screens because they’ll have the largest mkt share (above 40%) and smoothest scrolling due to hw/sw integration that Android lacks.

Apple’s costs will be at least 20% lower because of large volume purchasing AND prepayment for fab facilities. (QCOM has a major customer (Apple, I guess) waiting for their advanced screens; $1B fab is being built now. The low power, vivid and spectacular screens will be very viewable indoors AND in bright sunlight.)

Apple can suck 60% of the profits out of the segment and keep their share at a very high level.

James

I’ve got to invoke Betteridge’s Law of Headlines here. If Apple were really working on a 7-inch iPad, you’d have better sources than this Kumar flack.

david

I believe the reason why to establish the category with 10″ screen is to clearly define the purpose and stimulate thinking of the innovative use cases. I hardly doubt you would be able to release the tsunami with slightly overgrown smartphone, but it is clear that missing 7″ is a gap at the moment and Apple should fix it.

Jack Johnson

They will not change the iPad to just a 7inch it will be 9.7 and 7 inch or just 9.7 inch.

Rob

There is one thing though… i would not be surprised if Apple implement gen 2 or 3 with their newly found mimetic-poly-alloy… Which is a bit tougher than aluminum and a bit lighter and more flexible… and subsequently roll it out to all their products over say 5 years.

iPad does need to be a bit lighter in the hands… but that’s semantics really…

Rob

Well… here’s the thing….
iPad is selling like hot potatoes… and the others aren’t selling at all yet… so sure there could be a new form factor in the labs… but hey… seriously until there is a visible impact on iPad sales in iPad’s current form factor… why bother altering the winning formula?
Second… per above… revising the hardware config in the same form factor is far more plausible given the ever apparent options…
But one thing… if the ‘competing’ products expected to debut don’t have the same or near-enough battery life… they will fall away into oblivion!
iPad battery life is one of the key attractions for iPad.. and judging by the space within the device, there is room for more power!!!!!

Brian Gillespie

First off, it won’t be an iPad, it will be a big iPod Touch. Second calling the $1,000 7 inch Galaxy Pad competition makes me laugh out loud.

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