Analyst: Apple ‘iPad mini’ release a ‘question of when, not if’

“A new iPad model with a smaller form factor is an inevitability, in the eyes of one analyst, though Apple is not expected to imminently release such a device,” Neil Hughes reports for AppleInsider.

“Shaw Wu with Sterne Agee has heard since 2009 that Apple was experimenting with screen sizes ranging from as small as 4 inches to as large as 12 inches,” Hughes reports. “The latest rumors have suggested that Apple has placed more serious thought into releasing an iPad with a 7.85-inch display.”

Hughes reports, “In a note to investors on Tuesday, Wu said that a so-called ‘iPad mini’ is a ‘question of when, not if’ from Apple. He believes it would make strategic sense for Apple to expand the iPad family to boost sales and ward off the competition.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple to launch ‘iPad mini’ in third quarter this year, report claims – April 16, 2012
Gruber: 7.85-inch iPad still in testing in Apple labs – April 5, 2012
Apple reportedly lining up suppliers for 7.85-inch Apple iPad mini – March 5, 2012
Analysts: Apple to release 7-inch iPad mini – February 22, 2012


  1. Listen !! Apple will NEVER do sth that was said by them as not workable .

    APPLE will NOT release mini iPad . Like Apple said no to flash then NO NO NO NO !!

    1. We have gone over this before, Raymond and auramac. There are many reasons that might drive Apple to release a mid-sized iPad. Eventually, Apple might even release a larger iPad along the 13.3″ laptop form factor, or even larger.

      I posted this in the past. It still applies:

      SJ said lots of things. Some of them were undoubtedly intended as misdirection for would-be competitors. Others? Well, perhaps he occasionally changed his mind. For instance, I recall SJ saying that no one would want to watch video on a tiny screen (iPod). He also said something to the effect that no one reads books anymore. As far as the sanded fingertips and tiny screen tablets comment, I can only point to the success of the tiny screen iPhone and iPod touch that seem to work just fine with normal-sized fingertips.

      The point that I would like to emphasize is that SJ was neither omniscient or infallible. Every human being filters the world through his or her own unique biases and beliefs, and some are more successful than others. The Apple team, both with and without SJ, did a lot of insanely great things over the past few decades. And I believe that the Apple team will continue to innovate going forward. Innovation requires taking chances by exploring and challenging commonly held beliefs (including your own).

      The key “SJ factors” that Apple needs to maintain are:
      (1) User experience is crucial
      (2) Product value is enhanced by a seamless connection to an intuitive, integrated product ecosystem
      (3) Product simplicity and focus are virtues, even at the expense of consumer choice
      (4) Only the very best products should make it to market. The rest should either be refined until ready, or shelved until the missing pieces fall into place.

      I also posted this in response to a similar thread:

      The early Macs had tiny, low resolution displays. But they worked. My mid-1990s PowerBook had a 9.5″ passive matrix LCD, but it worked, too. I firmly believe that there is a large potential market for a smaller, more portable iPad. Shrink the current iPad 1024×768 display [this post occurred prior to the release of the new iPad] for the smaller iPad, and save the extra pixels for the larger iPad.

      As far as the smaller iPad goes, it will be interesting to see what size display Apple chooses when it eventually releases a smaller iPad, but something on the order of 7″ to 8″ diagonally seems to make sense. Unless Apple finds a way to drastically reduce the price of an entry-level iPad [the price of the iPad 2 was reduced by $100, but $399 is still quite a bit above the $200 to $250 of competing smaller tablets], I believe that Apple will offer a smaller, lower cost iPad sometime during calendar year 2012, likely by the beginning of the holiday quarter. Even if Apple does reduce the cost of a 9.7″ iPad [which it did after the release of the new iPad], I still believe that a smaller iPad would sell very well. It would also be more portable and sized better for some applications, such as a TV interface.

      The current 9.7″ diagonal iPad [2] display uses a 4:3 ratio (5.82″ x 7.76″) and has 1024×768 pixels (resolution of 132 ppi). [The new iPad has four times as many pixels and twice the resolution.]

      An 8″ diagonal iPad display using the same 4:3 ratio (4.8″ x 6.4″) and the current 1024×768 pixels would have a resolution of 160 ppi. This display would be roughly 17.5% smaller in linear dimensions than the current iPad 2 display and provide approximately 68% of the display area.

      A 7″ diagonal iPad display using the same 4:3 ratio (4.2″ x 5.6″) and the current 1024×768 pixels would have a resolution of ~183 ppi. This display would be roughly 27.6% smaller in linear dimensions than the current iPad 2 display and provide approximately 52% of the display area.

      This still makes sense to me.

    2. I think they will not make Steve Jobs a liar. Jobs said a 7 or smaller iPad makes no sense, but what about a iPod?
      Since the iPhone is already a iPod in 3.5 inches, another iPod in the same size makes no sense, but a bigger one does. I think.

  2. I agree with this analyst here.. if Apple made such a form factor in the $250-300 range it would take away Amazon’s Kindle Fire’s perceived value. Amazon would then not be able to say “for the price of one iPad, you can buy 2 Fires and 1 Kindle” like one of their television advertisements blasted Apple about previously during the last holiday season.

    We all know the Kindle Fire is junky, but the average consumer isn’t us.

    1. Simply not making a tablet in this form factor is a strategically brilliant, in my opinion.

      By not having a 7″ tablet, Apple is provoking its rivals to foolishly attack a perceived “weak point” Apple’s touch screen line up, and focus attention on this form factor. But it’s a trap! Anyone who makes a 7″ tablet is flanked by iPads just big enough to have amazing user interfaces on one side, and iPhones just small enough to fit in everyone’s pocket on the other sides. Anyone foolish enough to fall for this trap ends up spending time and money and resources developing a platform that is “dead on arrival.” Sun Tzu would approve of this maneuver!

    2. There is NO competition in the tablet market!
      There is NO tablet market, just an iPad market.
      So they don’t need to make a pointless product
      to fend off the competition (remember, there is none).

      1. Funny, but amazon seem to sell a lot of kindles into “no market”. Still,. Steve dismissed the 7 inched so fanbois can be reassured that the paperback format is irrelevant to the human race.

  3. “The new iBook”

    Potential Taglines:
    – Read it and weep (for joy).
    – Read my lips. (Yes it does video).
    – Black and white and read all over.
    – Little. Yellow. Different.
    – What books look like all grown up.
    – Reading just got a lot more fun.
    – 1000 Books in your pocket.
    – Now use your kindle for firewood.

  4. The iPad doesn’t need a smaller sibling. It has that in the iPhone and iPod touch (and maybe those will get a tad bigger). What the iPad needs is a Larger sibling. The 14″ iPad.

  5. I don’t see Apple adding another iPad to the line. The Kindle Fire is not really competition for the iPad. The Fire is very limited in what it can do and the iPad gets better and better with each release. Apple is right now is in a massive campaign to brand its self to the youth of America with the full size in schools. Apple is not looking to fragment its product line by adding a small iPad to the mix. Apple has a long term plan and the full size iPad will do that over time. Current models are the most expensive, iPad 2 in now lower in price and can still be used with current software updates and content. The original iPad is still relevant in the product line as well. Apple doesn’t want to be the cheapest product around and not everyone is going to use it and they are ok with that. As of right now people love their products and they don’t have to do a missive market push to get them out there. Adding a small iPad will do nothing for market share or the product line. It’s a waste to make it and Apple knows that.

  6. Honestly, in the tablet market there IS no competition, and sales seem to be just fine, thank you.

    I think it’s one thing for the company to say it’s not doing television, then come back and say “we’ve found a way to do television and be true to Apple.”

    It’s another for Steve to say you’d have to shave down your fingertips to work on a 7-inch screen to Apple suddenly announcing a 7-inch screen. Just a terrible PR move in the making.

  7. with the new retina display an iPad mini is now possible, where before it was DOA. A smaller display, the 32nm process A5 and a smaller battery would keep the profit margins doable.

    All that said, why? It’s prob better to let others fail before stooping to their level.

  8. I think it’ll happen. I agree that it’s a matter of when, not if. Apple can’t rest on its laurels. It’s not like the Kindle Fire will stand still. It’ll keep getting better too. I checked out the Fire and the other Android 7~8″ devices and there’s a form factor there that will appeal to a good sized segment of the market.

    Personally, I wouldn’t need or want one but I can see why others do. Amazon is building a formidable ecosystem and locking people into it with the Kindle and the devices will continue to get better and better. For casual media consumption the 8″ form factor is great. It’s not for writing long emails and doing spreadsheet work. People won’t be buying a tablet this size to do work except to maybe read.

    I still prefer an old Kindle for reading over the iPad 2. It’s a pleasant form factor. I can read for hours on it at the beach or in bed. The iPad gets tiring to read after around half-hour – both on the eyes and the hands. Call it a larger iPod touch or a smaller iPad; it doesn’t matter. I feel that the 8″ form factor is here to stay and I don’t see why Apple will just cede it because they didn’t come up with it.

    If it does come out this fall and is in the $250 price range, I’ll definitely buy one or two for the kids for Xmas so they can stop nagging my wife and I about using our iPads.

      1. We don’t really know how much Amazon is losing per unit and how, in the long term, it’ll play out in terms of locking their customers into the Amazon ecosystem. We all know Google isn’t sitting still either and that they’ll have their own $250 7~8″ tablet that they’ll sell direct so people can access Google’s own ecosystem.

        Long-term, it’s really all about the battle of ecosystems, not devices. The devices are only as useful as the richness of the ecosystem of apps and content and this is where Apple has the lead overall. Apple isn’t competing with Amazon for the sales of competing devices. It’s about locking their customers into their own ecosystems and capturing new ones through the sales of these devices, even at a loss.

        In a way, Apple is at a disadvantage here because Apple makes the great majority of its money through sales of hardware devices. It’s a completely different business model from Amazon’s. What Apple has to weigh is the long-term aspects of competing ecosystems from the likes of Amazon and Google getting bigger and bigger. Ditto for Facebook and Microsoft…

        It’s very interesting how everyone is now trying to model Apple’s “closed” walled garden approach of proprietary software, including Google itself. “Open” is not winning in this mobile era. Every major player wants to keep their customers locked in whether that’s upgrading the devices (Apple) or shopping only through their online stores (Amazon) or selling ads on their social networking sites (Facebook and Google).

        The battle amongst these tech giants is now about drawing new customers into their own closed and proprietary networks and ecosystems and then locking them in to spend money there over and over again.

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