Why an 8-inch iPad mini does – and doesn’t – make sense

“The number of rumors that Apple is working on a small, 7-8″ iPad have increased recently. DigiTimes posted another today,” Kyle Baxter writes for TightWind.

“I wanted to address the idea of a small iPad because I’m sure it’s something Apple has thought about a lot, and it’s an interesting question whether it’s a good idea or not,” Baxter writes. “I have no doubt that Apple is working on a small iPad, but that’s a separate question of whether they will actually release it.”

Baxter writes, “I don’t know what Apple will do. They could introduce a new iPad within a year. I really have no idea. But I don’t believe they should. In fact, I think at some point, they will introduce a smaller iPad. But I think it needs to be at least several years from now…”

Read more in the full article here.

[Attribution: The Loop. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related article:
Apple to unveil smaller 7.85-inch iPad this year, says anonymous Samsung official – March 13, 2012

55 Comments

  1. Apple might release a larger iPod touch or a dedicated ereader but a smaller iPad is unlikely. I suspect that they will first move the touch layer to the desktop and leave the display vertical.

      1. To make a smaller iPad all the interface elements need to be scaled down in real size making them more difficult to touch, A larger iPod could actually make iPhone-sized interface elements easier to target. You could double the pixels of an iPhone screen with more pixel dense elements that have a slightly larger physical size.

        1. Actually, an 8-inch iPad with the same 1024×768 resolution as iPad 2 would make the pixels per inch about 160, which is the same as the original (and iPhone 3GS) PPI number. So I don’t think it would make it “more difficult to touch.” The current iPad 2 PPI number is about 130, so the difference is only about 20%.

          Think about it this way… An iPad is very usable by a wide range of humans, from a 10-year-old child to a 300-pound football player. The diversity in human hand and finger size is MUCH larger than a mere 20% change in going from 10-inch at 1024×768 to 8-inch at 1024×768. To me, it almost seems like the iPad UI was intended to be slightly “more dense.”

          Keeping the 1024×768 resolution also solves the problem with platform fragmentation. From the developers’ perspective, an 8-inch iPad at 1024×768 is the same old iPad.

          1. Excellent points as usual ken1w. Making good sense.

            People are thinking this smaller screen is proportional.
            That makes sense, for the apps and things that exist now, however, image an iPodTouch scaled about 250% (4.5 iPodTouch screens set horizontally). Ergonomically, the horizontal holds well in my peoples’ hands. This might actually measure diagonal 7.85″ and cater to device used more in landscape.

            Perhaps, this screen will be for a virtual keyboard and trackpad. Maybe a device that is capable of 2 apps side-by-side, multi-tasking those apps running. Or then again, a new gaming console and pvr; geared more to HD movies.

            I am totally guessing of coarse and would hope Apple innovates on newer type of products for us rather then focus so much on refining what we have. All for advancements yet enjoy new products far more. Introduction of iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac we spectacular to witness. An aTV, iSlate, iClock and/or an iSafe… are what I’m really hoping to hear about next.

            1. @ Rorschach
              You have your opinion; mine happens to be different.

              I think 7.85″ is too big for most pockets.
              Yet, a great size for gaming; if in a horizontal format.

          2. I would expect from a well designed app to take into account the screen size where is running and adapt to it, without sacrifing size of screen elements at all. Regarding how much work would be needed, most games would not require re-design at all, because the tapable areas would still be accessible. And apps using standard components would reuse most of the vertical mode design (think how Safari or Mail work: in horizontal mode, they have a left panel and in vertical mode that panel is hidden and accessed through a button).

      2. The difference is the apps. the iPod touch uses iPhone/iTouch apps. The iPad has several hundred thousand apps custom made for the larger screen. An 8″ iPad mini at the original iPad resolution is still large enough to benefit from the iPad apps.

        1. Would have been nice to have made vector scalable graphics at the core of iOS. Allowing, all screens pushing the maximum retina quality possible without of specific sizes or worry to fragmented market of apps.

          1. I’ve been wishing for thin in MacOC for years. It drives me crazy when people set their displays to less than the native resolution of the LCD display.

            1. Would vector base graphics to all displays on iOS and OSX sort that issue out?

              One set resolution, infinite zoom levels, always smooth high quality pixels. Super clean edges always. As is a PDF, as is Flash animation. As is the simple few programs like Ink and Doinks – vectors at the core of iOS. Or is this already true?

            2. As in the interface elements like close widgets, menu bars, and menu text mostly. For an example look at the 11-inch MacBook Air with the gorgeous hi-rez screen. Now try reading the menu in comparison with the very yummy 13-inch MacBook Air.

      3. The difference between a larger iPod and a smaller iPad? Plenty. The larter iPod would be known as a mega something or other along that line. The maller iPad however would inevitably be known as a mini-iPad which would automatically turn the new iPad into the maxiPad. I refuse to believe that Apple is that dumb.

    1. I agree with the larger iPod direction. But, I’d only go to 5″ or so not 7+.

      Still iPhone / iPod touch applications. Given that it is lighter and still usable for personal video, reading, and light applications.

      For adults it is a more portable version for the purse or brief case.

      My impression is that the IPod touch is becoming a kid’s machine, though it is really too small. (Teens + get iPhones). This also makes it a good gift for the grand kids.

      Additionally, it has less impact on the iPad market segment.

  2. They might make use of defective iPad 3 panels where, if I’m correct, some large LCDs and or LED panels fail to perform at a certain size. Maybe theres a place for those orphaned displays. It’s similar to those AMD quad core CPUs where one core wasn’t up to snuff so they branded it as a Triple Core CPU.

  3. “iPad mini” is just fantasy unless Apple will implement its patent that would allow to detect approaching finger before it touches the screen, and thus scale-up the needed part of the UI to make it as big as on full-size iPad.

    This technology is very difficult, so it is doubtful that it will be ready this year.

  4. I would prefer a 17″ iPad, or at least a touchscreen laptop. With the rate the CPU and RAM are growing in the iPad, the next one should easily surpass the power of my last studio computer tower.

  5. Steve Jobs was very vocal that Apple would never produce a 7in iPad. He said the competition would try it because they didn’t test as deeply as Apple does. He said any such device would be DOA as soon as it hit the market. Furthermore, it would not be operationally compatible with existing Apps in the App Store (so, I suppose, would cause some level of fragmentation). Don’t bet against Steve on this one.

    1. Steve Jobs never said never.
      It would be perfectly compatible as long as it sticks to the same resolution as ipad2, which would make a smaller ipad ‘retina’.
      I agree with Draven that if I need anything it is a bigger iPad, not a smaller one. 17″ would be a bit on the heavy side, though. Rather 12″, please.

    2. Steve Jobs was also very vocal about video not being right for the iPod and then a year later introduced the iPod video. He was also very vocal about eBooks and said that no one reads anymore… Then came the iBook store.

      The point is Steve Jobs said a lot of things – not all of them were true. 🙂

    3. Did SJ say anything about a 7.1″ iPad? Or a 7.8″ iPad? No, he didn’t. And, as has been pointed out many times, SJ sometimes misled competitors and sometimes changed his mind. In addition to those facts, SJ was not omniscient or infallible. The hockey puck mouse is a good example. Honor SJ, but think for yourself!

  6. We need an 8 inch something whether ipad or touch for travel … to surf the web … game and watch videos. It’d be perfect … cause the touch is too small and the ipad too big.

  7. Didn’t Jony Ive just say on a recent interview that Apple wouldn’t ever enter a market just because they could, unless they feel like they can really bring something new/revolutionary/done just right into that market?

    Steve Called a 7″ tablet a failure. There’s just not a good market for them right now.

    Perhaps a 6″ iPod touch for gamers with extended battery life…. that would be good. But nothing larger.

  8. Kind of a long article to point out that an 8″ iPad makes sense from a physical sense, but has a problem in that it’s too small to run iPad optimized apps and too large to just scale up all the iPod touch apps.

  9. I like the idea of Apple releasing a larger iPod Touch. It would be a great gaming system and would have most of the features present in an iPad, while being focused on media consumption vests creation.

    It would lock more users into Apple’s ecosystem and completely crush the loss leader devices like the Kindle Fire. Perfect size for a dedicated gaming device and Apple tv controller/remote as well. Priced at $299-$349, Apple would have all price points covered.

  10. How about just use the iPhone, but have it plug into different size screens. Then we could all have a 6″ or 8″ or even a 27″. Make a bunch of different sizes driven by the iPhone. Perhaps even a big ass projector for BLN and other tools. I hope Apple folks are reading here, they can have my idea for free. Just for all the great Apple products I have used over the years.

  11. In other news, it looks like it will rain some time in 4Q2012. I have some ideas why this looks to be both a good and bad idea. I want to hear from you in my poll, do you think it should rain?

  12. I don’t know if it’s been mentioned before, but Kyle Baxter’s Tight Wind blog is one of my favorites. Maybe my very favorite (sorry gruber.)

    1. It’s a self-recognizing device that plays well with the other iDevices. Virtual keyboard when near a iMac. A gaming unit when near the Apple TV. A iPadHD when you take it every where else.

    1. Yeah – but the user can increase or decrease, even change the font to several different faces with iBooks on the iPad/iPhone/iPodTouch. Yo aren’t stuck to 7 pt type.

      Man why do they not just call it iPod and forget the rest? Never right.

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