Apple's iPad is still proving itself a rumor magnet, with new reports of a 7-inch iPad supposedly in the works. Buzz about a smaller iPad has continued for months, despite lack of firm news from Apple.
Another week, another story about Apple supposedly working on a 7-inch iPad.
This newest rumor comes courtesy of Shanzai.com, which claims to have sources
inside Chinese factories tasked with producing the device.
"Yes, there will be a 7" tablet, yes it's well underway in terms
of product development and in fact it's a finished product," the Website
posted Sept. 24
. "Yes 5 plus different designs have been floating
around to help Apple protect itself from people discovering its next product
look and feel but ... the final design will in fact bear more resemblance to the
iPhone 4 stylings than the original iPad design."
Rumors of a smaller iPad, possibly equipped with cameras for FaceTime video conferencing,
have drifted vampirelike around the Web for the past couple weeks. As far back
as August, Digitimes
Research predicted a 7-inch iPad due to launch in the first quarter of 2011
armed with an ARM Cortex A9-based processor.
That same month, iLounge
Editor in Chief Jeremy Horwitz
claimed an unnamed source told him that a
7-inch iPad would launch in either late 2010 or early 2011.
The current iPad remains a strong seller, but rival manufacturers' upcoming
devices-notably the Samsung Galaxy Tab-are likely to leapfrog its hardware with
features such as dual cameras for video conferencing. Hewlett-Packard is
reportedly working on a set of tablet PCs with video conferencing and the
ability to run Flash.
The more prominent of these devices, including the Galaxy Tab and a
Dell Android tablet prototype shown off at Oracle OpenWorld
screens measuring 7 inches-which may become something of a sweet spot for
future tablets. The 7-inch Galaxy Tab can be held easily in one hand and weighs
about as much as a full can of soda.
The original iPad also invited rampant speculation in the months and weeks
ahead of its January unveiling. Many of those rumors proved patently untrue,
although others-including a persistent one that the device would run a modified
version of the iPhone operating system-proved within spitting distance of
In between speculation about Apple's possible future moves, analysts have
been debating about whether the iPad is cannibalizing the market for low-end
notebooks. That may not be the case, depending on whom you ask, but the general
expectation is that the tablet market will only continue to expand.
"No one expected netbook sales to stay at the atmospheric levels of
2009 and in fact netbooks, as a percentage of U.S.
consumer sales, have been very steady all year in the mid-teens," Stephen
Baker, an analyst with NPD Group, wrote
in a Sept. 20 posting on the research firm's official blog
. "In light
of those sales facts it is, in my view, a mistaken and absolutely untenable
position to claim that PC sales are under pressure because of the iPad when
there are so many other factors that are contributing to the poor results."
However, other analysts see the growth in tablets as impacting the notebook
market in negative ways.
"We expect tablets to continue to pressure PCs as more vendors launch
products (e.g., Dell Streak and Samsung Tab) and Apple expands its iPad
distribution," Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty wrote in a research
quoted by Fortune Magazine Sept. 17
. "Tablet cannibalization" was
supposedly responsible for NPD Group data showing a year-over-year dip in U.S.