Are you there, Apple? It’s me, Kevin. Let’s talk small iPads!

lots of tablets

Dear Apple (particularly Eddy Cue but also Tim Cook, Scott Forstall and Phil Schiller),

I wanted to say thanks for making my birthday weekend so special with news from your trial with Samsung. I was celebrating the fact that I made it through another year and was offline when the news hit. Eddy — can I call you Eddy? — you read one of my more controversial posts from Jan. 2011 and shared it with Tim, Scott and Phil. Eddy, I echo your comments about most activities working quite well on a 7-inch tablet and read that you thought browsing wasn’t so great. I find it pretty decent, but you say “tomato,” I say “tomahto,” and it’s all good.

By the way, that web browser from early 2011 has already been replaced by a much better version of Chrome. I recommend giving it a try as I think it’s at least as good, if not better than Apple’s own Safari for iOS. Oh, and don’t try the watered-down version on an iOS device. We all know third-party browsers still use iOS WebKit and can’t use their own JavaScript engine; that’s Apple’s prerogative and I’m fine with that, although I’d love to see you reconsider it.

Anyway, since we’re now reading each other, I thought to continue the conversation. (OK, we’re not really on speaking terms or anything, but my kids thought it was super cool that you read, and then suggested others read, their dad’s articles on mobile technology. I know we’ll never meet, but for my kids’ sake, can you play along for me? Think of the kids, Eddy!) It turns out I’ve shared some other articles with more reasons that can help if you’re serious about the whole smaller iPad project. Assuming there’s still time for some input, that is.

More validation and reasons

So two months before I even wrote the “Why I Dumped the iPad (Hint: Size Matters)” article I noticed that Samsung had sold 600,000 Galaxy Tabs one month after the product launched. That’s a pittance compared to the number of iPads you guys sell, but I think it starts to validate that there was, or is, a market for smaller slates. Remember, that first Galaxy Tab came with a slightly modified phone interface; not a true tablet operating system. Let’s face it: You Apple folks have a smart-looking interface for tablets that is intuitive to use. If Samsung moved 600,000 tablets back then with a phone UI — in a market segment that really didn’t exist — just think what you could do with iOS 6 on a small slate now.

A month later, I suggested four compelling reasons to get in this game. It’s not that you really need to — you’ve got enough cash to help bail the U.S. out of this slow economy with your own stimulus package — but as the top mobile company in the world, do you want to cede a segment to a company that’s both a key hardware business parter and you main opposition in the courts? Wow, that’s sounds weird when I read it out loud. Can’t you and Samsung just arm wrestle for settlement terms or something? Wait, I digress…

Yes I need to work out more to carry bigger tablets

Those four reasons I gave you in Dec. 2010, still apply and the first one you’ve already noted yourself: Smaller tablets are more portable. And listen, I might have dumped the original iPad, but I did buy the iPad 2 and the new iPad. (So we’re still pseudo-BFFs, right?) They’re both awesome tablets, but only when I have them with me. And at 125 pounds, my skinny arms aren’t made to carry the iPad or around, nor consume content for any length of time while holding it. That’s probably on me, and I promise to do more push-ups. Until I get pumped up though, I’m turning to a smaller slate when I walk out my door.

The iPod touch has done what it needed; it’s time to let go

About those other reasons; some of those are now evident too. I suggested that credible 7-inch tablets were launching and it’s fair to say that’s more true today; think of that Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet or the newer Galaxy Tab devices, for example. You probably won’t like my third reason — I know others didn’t — which is an observation that the iPod touch will have limited appeal in the future. Of course, I wrote that in the past, so the future is now. Yup, that hurts my head too when I think about it. Sorry. Your iPod sales are down and have been trending that way for a while. It’s a neat device, but the iPhone is more capable. And I know I don’t need to remind you, but the average selling price of that iPhone is more than double that of an iPod touch.

Maybe it’s time to let the iPod touch wither on the vine; keep making it, but don’t improve it much more — kinda like what you did last year with it, which was really nothing. That opens up the pricing spot for a spiffy small iPad to start at $249 for the lowest storage capacity and $449 for the highest. Hey, that’s $50 less than a full-sized iPad, giving you that “If you only spend a little more…..” selling angle if you want to push it.

Anyway, thanks again for validating what I’ve thought prior. Even though we’re only “friends” in my mind, I’ll keep sharing my mobile experiences with smaller tablets with you and every once in a while, maybe you could just leave me a comment on the posts. You know, keep me in line and continue the conversation. It’s not that I think you guys need my input or validation for your products — you’re done just fine without me — but it’ll keep my kids happy. Thanks!

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