7-Inch iPad the Wrong Product at the Wrong Time

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-09-21 Print this article Print


5. The holiday season is around the corner 

It wouldn't make much sense for Apple to release a smaller, cheaper tablet right now. In just a couple short months, the holiday shopping season will be in full swing. And when that happens, Apple will want to capitalize on it as effectively as possible. Perhaps the best way to do that is to continue selling a more expensive option that consumers still desire. By offering a smaller, cheaper tablet now, Apple could be leaving money on the tablet this holiday season. 

6. Closing the iPod Touch gap isn't so smart 

The difference between the iPod Touch and the iPad, from a purely feature-based perspective, isn't all that great. In fact, some say that Apple's music player is a smaller version of the iPad. By making a smaller screen available on its tablet, Apple could have a real problem on its hands. The rumored 7-inch iPad, which has been compared quite often to the iPod Touch, would be dangerously close in size to the music player. And when that happens, cannibalization of either the small tablet or the iPod could occur. 

7. Think of the enterprise 

The consumer market might eventually want a smaller iPad, but it's hard to see the corporate world becoming too happy with a miniature Apple tablet. The enterprise wants a bigger display to ensure workers are as productive as possible. That's precisely why the iPad is so attractive to CIOs. And it's why products with small screens haven't attracted companies so far. That's something Apple must keep in mind. 

8. Sales are still strong 

If iPad sales were declining, some could make the argument that Apple would need to release a smaller iPad to get things going again. But according to Apple, iPad sales are strong. With this in mind, it doesn't seem like the best time to release a small iPad. Why put current sales in jeopardy to give consumers yet another option? It doesn't make much sense. 

9. It makes current competitors relevant 

The few tablets currently on store shelves can't compete with Apple's iPad. The Dell Streak, for example, boasts a small, 5-inch display and Android 1.6. By offering an iPad with a smaller screen, Apple could potentially make its competition seem more relevant than it currently is. Screen size matters to customers. And those who see the iPad's big 9.7-inch display will be hard-pressed to opt for Dell's offering. But if Apple delivers a 7-inch iPad, consumers might view smaller alternatives as more direct competitors than they currently do. That wouldn't be a good move for Apple. 

10. The market is young 

The tablet market is still in its infancy. And the last thing Apple will want to do is rush its way into the space with a slew of devices that might or might not appeal to consumers. Apple has time to capitalize on consumers' desire and turn a sizable profit in the tablet space. It doesn't need to start selling multiple tablets every year. The company can start doing that when the market matures. But for now, it should focus on a single device and cement its position in the tablet space. 

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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