So Apple is gearing up for a 7.85-inch iPad launch next year, eh? This is not the first time we’re hearing such ‘rumors’ and it definitely won’t be the last. Back in September of last year, rumors began circulating that Apple is working on a smaller 7-inch iPad to compete with RIM’s BlackBerry Playbook launch back then. The rumors also went on to state that the 7-inch iPads will have a USB port, orchestrating mixed reactions among people. But those rumors were quickly quashed when the late Steve Jobs said the following at Apple’s quarterly conference call last year:
Let’s talk about the avalanche of tablets; first, there are only a few credible competitors, and they all have seven-inch screens. This size isn’t sufficient to create great tablet apps…we’ve done extensive testing, and 10 inches is the minimum tablet size.
Today, those rumors are back again with a publication from Digitimes a few hours ago that states that Apple is definitely considering a smaller iPad and that the production for it will start in the second quarter of 2012, ready for sale by the end of the same year. This smaller iPad, though, won’t be the iPad 3.
Apple is likely to launch a 7.85-inch iPad prior to the fourth quarter of 2012 in addition to a new iPad scheduled to be released at the end of the first quarter, according to sources in the supply chain.
The new iPad that is rumored to launch early next year will presumably be the iPad 3, while the smaller 7-85 inch iPad, rumored for a late 2012 release, is still searching for a suitable name (iPad 3S?).
Digitimes’ “sources” believe Apple will go for smaller iPads to compete with the fast-selling Kindle Fire which is threatening to eat up Apple’s tablet market share, as well as similar new entrants which pose a threat to Apple, including large-sized smartphones such as Samsung’s Galaxy Note.
However, in order to cope with increasing market competition including the 7-inch Kindle Fire from Amazon and the launch of large-size smartphones from handset vendors, Apple has been persuaded into the development of 7.85-inch iPads, the sources indicated.
LG Display and AU Optronics are reportedly leading the race to be the manufacturers for the 7.85-inch panels that will hit the supply streams in Q2 2012.
While it definitely makes sense for Apple to go for a 7.85-inch iPad, i personally don’t think we’ll see an iPad smaller than what we already have. Apple is always known to lead the way rather than follow the competition and change its policies according to them so it’s hard to believe Apple will mend this time. And besides, as the great man once said: “This size isn’t sufficient to create great tablet apps…we’ve done extensive testing, and 10 inches is the minimum tablet size.” He may be no more but his ideology and vision is echoed by those working at Apple. Even after his unfortunate death.