Gruber: Why Apple didn’t choose iPad mini size for original iPad

After reading Dan Frommer’s recent iPad mini article (24 hours with Apple’s iPad mini: This is the real iPad), Daring Fireball’s John Gruber writes:

I’ve been asked by several readers why, if this is a seemingly better form factor, Apple didn’t go with this size for the original iPad. I think there are several factors. First, I don’t think they could have, technically. The original iPad in 2010 was pretty thick compared even to the iPad 2. If they couldn’t make it thinner then, I don’t think they could have made it smaller either — not at the same price points.

Second, thinness and weight aside, I think the 9.7-inch size was better to start with conceptually…

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
24 hours with Apple’s iPad mini: This is the real iPad – November 6, 2012
Why I just dumped my iPad 3 for iPad mini – November 5, 2012
DisplayMate: Apple’s iPad mini offers ‘just a very capable display’ – November 5, 2012
Apple’s iPad mini and ultra-mobile computing – November 5, 2012
Demand for Apple’s new iPad mini is huge – November 5, 2012
The Register reviews Apple’s iPad mini: ‘The tablet even Apple anti-fans won’t be able to leave alone’ – November 5, 2012
Apple sells three million iPads in three days; double previous first weekend sales – November 5, 2012
The Independent reviews Apple’s iPad mini: High-end gadget is worth the price – October 31, 2012
CNET reviews Apple’s iPad mini: The new standard for little-tablet design – October 31, 2012
NYT’s Pogue reviews Apple’s iPad mini: ‘All the iPad goodness in a more manageable size; it’s awesome’ – October 31, 2012
USA Today’s Baig reviews Apple’s iPad mini: ‘A splendid choice; terrific for reading, watching movies and playing games’ – October 31, 2012
Mossberg reviews Apple’s iPad mini: ‘An impressive feat; the perfect solution’ – October 31, 2012


  1. Yep the ipad mini is the best FORM Factor.

    And when it has changed to a retina screen then the sales will triple…..and wihout the current Ipad Mini Samsung Display..

    Will either be replaced by Sharp or LG

      1. Agreed. Just like some people like the 11″ MacBook air, but I personally find it too small and prefer the 13″.

        I think that the iPad mini is neat, but I’m going to be sticking with the full sized iPads as it just better fits my use.

        “Best” is always relative to the user.

      2. Yes.

        I prefer more screen real estate since I primarily use my iPad for watching video and surfing the web.

        When the iPad was released, the idea was clearly to have lots of screen real estate to fully realize the experience consumers clearly were enjoying on iPhones and iPod Touches. A 7-8″ screen, in my mind, is a compromise. I don’t think the iPad would have been as popular as a laptop replacement (for those that only need email, websurfing, and video) if it had started out in the form factor of the Mini.

      3. THIS!^^^

        the full size iPad IS the correct size for me.
        I held a mini at best buy this weekend. I’ll agree it is light, but the full size is what I want.

        I have an iPhone 5, and a full size iPad 3rd Gen. why would i want to go smaller than the iPad?
        I wanted a MBA 13″ for years, now that the MBPr 13″ came out.. the Air is trash (IMO, and in jest…)

        remember folks… MDN posters have been bashing all other android tablets for their lack of screen size for years. the 7-9″ tablets that you bash, some are praising Apple for finally making one.
        your exact same arguments you use FOR the mini… I can search the posts for the attacks on android devices for the same size. all that is different is the OS.

        careful how you praise the mini, yet bash everyone else… your words can come back at you. 😉

  2. Can’t anyone just believe it’s because “we wanted to?”

    Do we disbelieve the original statements Apple made regarding the firm factor?

    I honestly believe they felt larger was better. Now that mini is out, we have a device that satusfues the other half

      1. At the time of the first iPad, a display of the mini’s resolution was not financially practical, and the iPad was the ideal.
        Also remember that the mini is not 7″ it is significantly larger, yet closer to the e-reader ideal.

        Once again, Apple chooses a form factor for the best combination of features for a great many users, rather than a checklist jack of all trades.

  3. Probably a combination of factors. A larger screen seems more impressive for what at the time was a thin device in tablet terms. Smaller screens at the same resolution would no doubt have been more expensive. The reduced size (even factoring in the space saving for a smaller screen) would have meant making it thin would have been harder.

    Retina displays were tricky enough for the iPad, getting the same number of pixels into a mini isn’t going to be easier. We’ll likely see it in the next version, and in the meantime they’ll still sell as many as they can make.

    1. Larger screen helped it to become the Netbook killer. Large enough to use as a work device, but ideal for consumption. Processor architecure was not in place to support a worthy 7 incher IMO.

  4. If Apple could somehow make a 10″ iPad as thin and light as the iPad mini, I personally would prefer that device. But that might be impossible. Like I said all along, even before the mini was released, we’re seeing dimensions that will never be squeezed out of the iPad, and that’s what makes it special.

    1. I do expect the next generation of the iPad to follow in the footsteps of the iPad mini and iPhone 5 – I think it will be thinner and lighter than the current one. Definitely not as light at the iPad mini, but much lighter than it is currently.

  5. It’s a computer platform. It has to have multiple sizes if you think about it logically.

    The multi-touch, mobile era of computing is still in its infancy in many ways. Apple has been very methodical to this point. They began with the breakthrough iPhone and likely chose that form factor (and functionality) because they saw that the smartphone market was a huge growth area. From there, they went after the PMP market they already owned via the iPod and gave us an unsubsidized, no contract version of the OS. From there, it was put onto a tablet. And from there, we now have iOS devices available at 3.5, 4, 7.9 and 9.7 inches. I would not be surprised at all to see an 11.9 inch version down the road as the platform matures, no different than the many form factors we have for OS X.

    And one day when flash storage is as cheap as HDs are today, we might see Apple do a hybrid system like Microsoft is trying (of course, it’ll be done right and not confusing if it ever happens).

    The point I’m trying to make is that what has been incremental and calculated on the part of Apple will one day flourish into an even wider ecosystem. But Apple only does this as the technology allows it. We’re in for a very exciting future and I’d love to see what’s in the Cupertino labs right now.

  6. My guess is that Steve Jobs had 50 year old eyes (approximately) when the decision was made. If you have not experienced the joys of aging eyes, you will. The size was chosen by Steve Jobs- period.

    PS- Go vote today- whomever you support- it’s the American thing to do. People have died, been beaten, have went to jail and more so that you have the right to vote. If some self styled poll watcher with no authority (True the Vote comes to mind) challenges your right to vote, give them the finger for me.

    1. you are as bad as F10T12 with your political BS.

      i’ll say it again… NBPP created groups like True the Vote.
      NBPP gets away with blatant intimidation of voters WITH weapons… you are fine with it. (cause you agree with them)

  7. Apple miniaturizes everything. It also creates product lines. The iPad mini will evolve. It will get a Retina display and a A6X processor. The Full size iPad will evolve. It will become ridiculously thin and get an A7X processor and be made of carbon fiber and run for days on fuel cells or become an Apple branded telepresence robot. Apple will do what it does to continue to evolve its product lines, then it will invent something new. The ecosystem will continue to serve all and converge.

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