A smaller iPad "mini" has been rumored since the launch of the iPad 3. According to a new report, suppliers have been told to prep themselves for "mass production" of a 7-inch tablet, representing a change of heart for Apple.
Seemingly swayed by the
success and appeal of Android smartphones, Apple is rumored to be planning an iPhone
that features a larger display than its previous five models. Likewise, as
Android supporters focus on the 7-inch tablet form factor, Apple is said to be
planning a smaller version of its nearly 10-inch tablet, which has been called
the iPad Mini.
In March, eWEEK cited an IHS iSuppli report
a 7-inch version of the iPad was being planned for a release during the winter
holiday shopping season. According to component suppliers, said the report, the
new Apple tablet will feature a 7.85-inch XGA display.
July 5, The
Wall Street Journal
reported that component suppliers, declining to be
named, said that Apple has told them to prepare for mass production of the
told The Journal
that Apple is working with screen makers including LG
Display of South Korea and AU Optronics in Taiwan.
Display and SamsungApples business partner and legal adversaryis said to be
the supplier of the third-generation iPads Retina display, according to Reuters
. A bill of materials compiled by
IHS has found the price of the iPad display to have risen considerably between
iterations, from $57 on the iPad 2 to $87 on the iPad 3.
Googles Android already runs on a number of tablets, the search company introduced
its own branded device (made by Asus) at its I/O developers conference in San
Francisco in late June. Called the Nexus 7, the device feature s a 7-inch
display, which Google execs touted as particularly easy to hold and carry
Pricing for the Nexus 7 starts at $199, which puts the 7-inch Kindle Fire most
obviously in its cross hairs, though the media-focused Nexus 7which Google
says was designed for Google Playis likely to also affect sales of Barnes
& Nobles 7-inch Nook and Samsungs Galaxy Tab 2 7.0.
That Apple should consider (or have planned) a 7-inch tablet
is telling of how the market and consumer tastes have changed since the
introduction of the original iPad in January 2010. Perhaps Apple, too, has
changed. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who passed away in 2011, was adamant that
a 7-inch form factor made for a lousy user experience.
These 7-inch tablets are tweeners
too big to compete with a
smartphone and too small to compete with the iPad, Jobs told media and
analysts in October 2010, surprising them by joining an earnings call.
Jobs added, These are
among the reasons that the current crop of 7-inch tablets are going to be
DOAdead on arrival.
said, Jobs was also known for his ability to change his mind and feel
passionately about something, despite having earlier backed the opposite
position with equal fervor.
Ken Segall, a brilliant ad man who worked with
Apple for more than a decade, in
his book Insanely Simple
the story of convincing Jobs that iMac was a better name for Apples new
computer than the name Jobs was favoring: MacMan.
He had an opinion. A very strong opinion, wrote
Segall. The kind of opinion that might knock you over and kick you a few
times. But thats not to say he wasnt reasonable or wouldnt ultimately change
his mind if confronted with heartfelt opinions presented with passion.