As an avid iPad fan I’m pretty sold on the 10-inch form factor. Rumours are swirling around the “interwebs” about a new 7 or 8-inch tablet from the fruit company and as always two camps have emerged. One camp sees this as a tactical response to the super cheap ($200) Google Nexus 7 tablet and the Kindle Fire while the other camp see it as an unnecessary and shoddy choice of screen size. Peter Pachal is a 7-inch hater:
But the party who loses the most in a world with a 7-inch iPad is Apple itself. While there’s virtually no question it’ll sell the product hand over fist, it would represent a cheapening of what Apple stands for.
As Jobs once said, Apple is first about building the best computers possible, and making a profit second. While that might sound like a mere Kool-Aid platitude, if you examine Apple’s actions, it’s quite accurate. Eschewing netbooks, replacing the iPod Mini with the iPod Nano, and its end-to-end approach to manufacturing — Apple has always been more concerned about providing customers with a certain experience than things like market share.
The iPad right now is one of those experiences. For both Apple’s customers and its competitors, it’s the tablet you aspire to. Throw a 7-inch iPad in there, and it becomes something else: the iPad Classic. It splits the tablet market in two, and it makes a mockery of the 10-inch iPad’s retina display by suggesting to tablet customers they can get along without one.
More importantly, a 7-inch tablet sees Apple play the role of follower rather than leader. It’s no exaggeration to say Apple created the tablet market as it exists today, and the company continues to lead in other areas, such as with the recent release of the retina MacBook Pro. Releasing a 7-inch iPad essentially cedes the leadership role in the category to Amazon and Google.
In my mind it’s a cheap way to hook people into the Apple experience, something that current Apple users don’t really want. How can you be part of the exclusive Apple club if everyone else has one?