Why a smaller iPad is likely to be the children’s toy of the year

“One month before Apple shipped its first touch tablet, I predicted in this space that the iPad would become the ‘Children’s Toy of the Year,'” Mike Elgan writes for Computerworld.

“That column was somewhat controversial, because people were viewing the iPad as a high-end luxury item for technology fans, not a toy for children,” Elgan writes. “It turns out that the iPad was a combination of the two: It became the ‘toy’ of choice for the children of technology fans who buy high-end luxury items. iPads for children became a surprisingly huge phenomenon, which toy companies and others jumping on board with apps galore.”

Elgan writes, “In this piece, I’d like to predict, flat-out, that small touch tablets will finish what the iPad started, and become as much a part of kids culture as Barbie and Lego. The key attribute of smaller tablets is cheapness… The expected ‘iPad nano’ coming this year will probably start at a price at or below $250.”

“When Apple announced its series of educational and publishing initiatives in January, I moderated a live hangout with some incredible educators,” Elgan write. “I was struck by the unanimous belief that price was the main thing holding the iPad back from mass acceptance in schools — even for schools that can afford the price! …A $200 gadget, on the other hand, is something most schools would send kids home with.”

Read more in the full article here.

32 Comments

  1. Disappointed that Elgan priced it at that ridiculous figure. I expected better from him. No way in hell Apple would sell this for $250, let alone $200. It’s painfully obvious that $299 is the number for which we should hope.

    1. Agreed, $299 would be great (if they can do it). The only way you can sell a small tablet for $200 is if it is a plastic piece of crap. The existing iPod touch starts at $199 (US) and people think they will be able to offer a small tablet at that price? (given that apple is NOT going to make a “cheaper” plastic cough cough… like a Google nexus or Kindle fire)
      Mike seems to be devoid of even a shred of common sense.

      1. Tessellator: “The only way you can sell a small tablet for $200 is if it is a plastic piece of crap.”

        I would like to modify your statement slightly to read: “The only way anyone, except Apple, can sell a small tablet for $200 is if it is a plastic piece of crap.” Apple buys components and labor in such large quantities they can produce a quality product for much, much less. They would buy many of the same components that they use in iPad and iPhone and drive their cost even lower. In addition, Apple has far more experience in producing tablets than any of their competitors. Lastly, Apple could cut the cost by making the tablet more dependent on the Cloud by putting a smaller amount of memory.

        I also doubt that it will cost $200 but consider why Apple might be tempted to do so. The big enabler for this idea rests on the projection of the number of tablets that Apple expects to sell. If the number is big enough, then they would be mighty tempted because of one important reason. Apple would completely destroy the competition. Game completely over.

        1. Economies of scale will get you some efficiency improvements (a few percent) but you just aren’t going do drop prices by a third due to scale. (remember an 8GB iPod touch sells for $200, a “mini” 8GB tablet would be 4X the size and double or triple the battery. You simply are going to be able to do that for $50 more (i.e. $250, $300 would likely be the rock bottom)

  2. WRONG, it will be:
    “Toy Of The Year”,
    Business Professionals “Best Device Of The Year”,
    IT Professionals “Best Device Of The Year”,
    Consumers “Best Device Of The Year”,
    Developers “Best Device Of The Year”,
    Doctors “Best Device Of The Year”,
    well, you get the picture.
    This doofus thinks it is relegated to best toy only?
    Way to see with tunnel vision buddy. The only part of the argument he got right was the cost advantage (if there will be one, the jury is still out with that one). Smaller does not ALWAYS mean cheaper, although I think it WILL be cheaper than the lowest priced iPad2 ($299.00) due to lack of 3G/4G/LTE chips, lower resolution display, smaller battery, etc.
    That is, IF Apple releases a 7.85″ iPad mini what-have-you… Just because the news declared a source said so does not mean THAT source was privy to the CORRECT information.

    1. Speaking of doofus, Jeff, you should read more closely.

      This guy used the word “only” ONCE in his article, and it had to do with Wi-Fi networking.

      Just because someone emphasizes a particular advantage doesn’t mean that they’re discounting anything else.

      Go find (nonexistent) fault somewhere else.

      1. “One month before Apple shipped its first touch tablet, I predicted in this space that the iPad would become the ‘Children’s Toy of the Year,’” Mike Elgan writes for Computerworld.

        I simply argued that it was NOT ONLY A TOY but so much more, as evidenced by the wide variety of markets that have all declared the indespensible use of such a widely popular device. The iPad has transformed MANY areas that not one analyst predicted, even the ones that got it right (with all the wrong reasoning as to WHY)…
        Reading comprehension > you

      1. You’re suck a dick I can only assume you’re in with the owners of this site, employed to tick people off and get more hits. FYI to the folks in charge: I’m reading comments less and less these days.

      1. Yep. That it will
        I think it will appeal to a broad consumer base, and believe it will outsell the original. The screen ratio coupled with the app ecosystem will make it a very useful gadget.

  3. For sure iPads are toys. My wife thinks her iPad is tied for the best toy she has ever had. Tied with her iPhone. I agree. Her iMac seldom gets booted. On either she can check emails, facebook, and stocks before her iMac can boot up. It is a toy, a tool and a companion. Cannot wait for the next versions. Just a kid at heart.

  4. While I will prefer my regular iPad, a cheaper iPad that can be easily held with one hand, that is lighter, fits into a large pocket, can be a big seller.

  5. Smaller iPad blahblahblah children’s toy of the year blahblahblah small touch tablets will finish what the iPad started blahblahblah at a price at or below $250

    It’s called the iPod Touch, $199 starting price. It STARTED the iPad. My niece LOVES hers. I’ll never part with mine. ❗

    It must be getting on close to August when journalists head out for vacation and tech articles become worse crap than usual. Yawn.

  6. A smaller iPad mini would be ideal for portability that can be applied to a myriad of uses – doctor’s coat, laboratory technician’s coat, warehouse inventory manager’s coat and a whole host of uses that it can be put to.

    If it were available as a cheaper option to the iPad, at $250-299, sales will take off in the professional market. In the airline market as well as the automotive market due to portability and its ability to display moving maps in cars as a dashboard attachment. For airlines it makes sense as it occupies less space on board the plane and can be offered to economy class passengers whereas the bigger iPad can be offered to business and first class passengers since there is less space constriction.

    If Apple is serious about developing Siri as a voice assistant then a small form factor that can respond to voice input for directions and traffic congestion to display alternate routes will be a surefire winner in the automotive stakes. This is an important market as it gives Apple visibility to motorists and creates a beachhead for its own mapping application.

    There’s almost no downside to a smaller iPad. If a niche for cheaper tablets is there to be occupied it will be silly not to occupy it.

  7. I’m warming to the idea of a 20cm (8″) iPad. If 25cm (diagonal) is ideal for a male adult (180cm tall) than the proposed/mythical 20cm would be ideal for a primary school kid (~150cm). And smaller-fingered females (~160cm) would also find it acceptable (10% smaller than ‘ideal’, since Apple would have experimented and found the ideal for a male adult). So I’m thinking a full-function 20cm (7.8″) iPad compact would suite quite a large niche (as well as being perfectly fine for media consumption and book reading).

    This leaves the 15cm (6″) slot to filled by new iPod gaming device? And 10cm (4″) is the size of the next iPhone/iPod touch. (7″ is neither Arthur nor Matha.)

  8. Instead of a smaller iPad, what about an «iPad + iPad» = «iBook», i.e. two iPads bound together by a hinge, similar to a book. With two A4 size retina pages and double CPU.
    One recalls M$ ditching such a design along with it’s designer, probably because they couldn’t match iPad prices and iOS performance.

  9. Assuming the same build quality of the Nexus, and Google claim it is breaking even at $200, Apple would need to sell the item at $249 to keep up its standard profit margin (Apple does not believe in selling hardware at cost to sell software or content). Now, to keep up its premium stature, and/or to make up for the potential loss of sales of iPad 2/3, they may mark it up to $299. All of this is assuming a 7″ tablet; should they go slightly larger then the rules change…

    At up to $249, I would buy it. If they hit the $299 mark, I think I would stick with the Google tablet and the other competitors coming out in the same price range.

    1. You would go cheaper because a useless hunk of metal and plastic means more to you than something that actually runs software. Mmm kay.

      The rest of us who want to run 100s of thousands of actual apps will buy the real thing.

  10. Just thinking back when RIM was taken to task for bringing a 7″ inch pro tablet to the market and now Sammy, Asus via Google and Apple are all over it like a bunch of drunken sailors.

    Irony!

    1. Find such a link. There were no major criticisms of the RIM tablet based on size, the criticism was about it coming crippled with no messaging or email.

  11. Elgan’s Story and it is a story is just his comments.

    If other tablet makers would be so lucky to have its product’s desired by so many.

    Let’s think for a moment….. Any company would be so lucky to have the most desired selling products on the market, and also the parents seeing the iPad as a great value for educating their Children at home.

    The best techniques in teaching a child, is to not let the child be aware they are learning, the iPad is a perfect tool for that very same reason, it’s fun to use, and you learn. Even Adults are learning more, but we call our Learning devices “Tools.”

    If the iPad and Mini are to be called toys by children, then use what every you like to cloud the fact that the device is also a learning and teaching device all wrapped into one, Twisting Words around doesn’t make it so Elgan.

    Now Mike Elgan, I like to see the Proof and investigative evidence that substantiate your report…..Anything to back your report Mike ? Didn’t think so. ” Mike was so sly, he worded it so the “Prediction” Remark was interwoven as the information he was giving in the report was Fact based.

    Mike has fallen on hard times of late, he has obviously resorted in Click Bait articles that have no proof, just a comment perdition story.

    It’s unfortunate the some sites like “Cult of Mac” that had been trusted in the far past, have come to this type of garbage prediction story arch, Elgan is perfect evidence of the poor level of so called information being let out just to fill a page, its baseless and useless personal rants that are packaged and let out as News.

  12. After reading some of the comments above I am now wondering that if a 7.8 inch device is being developed by Apple it is intended only for automotive use! Pethaps it will only be supplied to automotive manufacturers to integrate into their products. In this way it will not confuse the consumer market with a “not one thing or another device”.

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