Steve Jobs might have said seven-inch tablets were “dead on arrival”. But the Apple rumour mill has been churning up continuous rumours of a 7.85-inch version of the iPad, with an LG exec even claiming his company was already making displays for the device.
So, why the change of heart? Well, here’s five reasons why we think an iPad Mini makes total sense.
1 It’ll be cheaper
Pretty obvious, but an iPad Mini would come in at much less than an entry-level, full-sized version of the slate.
A low price could be the starting point for Apple to consolidate an already-dominant position at the top of the tablet charts, not to mention act as a starting point for stacks of other reasons to get into the smaller tablet arena…
2 Kindle Fire competition
The seven-inch Kindle Fire only landed in the US last week. But its fully integrated content platform is the first concerted challenge Apple has faced in the tablet space, with rivals until now failing to match the power of iTunes and the App Store.
Amazon’s tablet, with its $200 price tag, will have Apple seriously worried. A seven-inch entry-level version of the iPad could help to stem the tide.
3 Opens up the iPad to a wider base
The iPad is already hugely popular, but it still remains a luxury device. Apple will be desperate to ensure that its tablet remains top dog and has the same kind of market domination that the iPod has enjoyed for the past decade.
A more compact model, with smaller storage, could entice wary buyers and bring more users into its ecosystem, adding more revenue and bringing tablets further into the mainstream.
4 It’ll hurt Android tablets, not to mention the PlayBook
Sure, taking on the Kindle Fire is vital. But so is stopping the vast array of Android tablets available, especially ones in Samsung’s Galaxy range.
Fighting Sammy’s 7-incher will go some way towards Apple’s wish of smashing Android, while an iPad Mini would be a nice way of proving to Research in Motion that a smaller slate can work, despite the failure of the BlackBerry PlayBook.
5 Extreme portability
The iPad isn’t exactly a hulking piece of kit. But a 7-inch iPad Mini would make the device easier to sling in a small bag, so you could take it anywhere without any worries.
Its slight size will also make reading eBooks a touch easier and less cumbersome.