Apple is planning a 7-inch version of the iPad for third-quarter 2012, according to some rumors. But that would run contrary to the company’s current trends.
benefit from releasing a 7-inch tablet?
reluctance to embrace a smaller tablet form factor is well-known. Apple CEO
Steve Jobs famously used an October 2010 earnings call to denigrate 7-inch
tablets as inferior to the companys 9.7-inch iPad. Before his passing a year
later, he almost certainly produced a road map for his companys next few
product cycles, and therefore, unless Apple executives decided to take the
unlikely course of crumpling that plan and starting anew, it seems unlikely
that the company will produce a smaller-screen iPad anytime soon.
Or will it?
Citing unnamed industry sources, DigiTimes
reported March 1 that Apple will
likely start producing 7.85-inch iPads by the third quarter of 2012. Although
that publications track record is a little spotty when it comes to accurate
Apple predictions, The Wall Street Journal
suggested Feb. 15 that
Apple was working with component suppliers to test a new tablet computer with
a smaller screen. Websites such as BGR
repeated the DigiTimes
claim, which gave it momentum within the blogosphere.
certainly doesnt need a smaller iPad model in order to help expand its
customer base. A new survey by The Business Journals
suggested that, among small
and midsize businesses (SMBs), iPad use nearly quadrupled from 9 percent in
2010 to 34 percent in 2011. In addition, some 75 percent of SMB owners are
apparently very or somewhat familiar with the device.
general consumers, the iPad also continues to sell millions of units per
quarter. Some 29 percent of respondents to a survey by mobile-ad network InMobi
said they planned to purchase the next iPad, which the media has collectively
dubbed iPad 3. Some 54 percent of those planning on an iPad 3 purchase do not
already own a tablet.
hosting an event March 7 where its popularly expected to unveil the next iPad,
which most are calling the iPad 3. Current rumors suggest the device will
feature a high-resolution Retina Display, backed by a more powerful processor
and support for 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology. Some news sources have
also suggested the device will boast an improved camera and Siri, Apples
digital personal assistant.
With all that
in mind, it seems unlikely that Apple would muddle its tablet line with a
smaller iPad in the third quarter of this year. The companys tendency is to
keep its offerings streamlined, and to release new versions of its mobile products
on a rigid yearly cadence. Whatever Apple unveils March 7, that should probably
be enough for it in 2012.
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