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Apple seen readying 7-inch iPad for early 2011

updated 07:40 am EDT, Thu April 8, 2010

Mini iPad would target reading first

Apple is planning a smaller version of the iPad for early 2011, a surprise rumor claimed today. Checks with "upstream component sources" have a device between 5 and 7 inches in the works that would target those who primarily want to read and don't care as much about typing. It would fall below $400, the DigiTimes insider said.

The launch would be significant for Apple as it would more directly challenge the core of the e-reader market. The Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader and newcomers like the Kobo eReader almost always have six-inch displays. While most of these could be much less expensive as they currently cost $259 or less, Apple may repeat the strategy used for the 9.7-inch iPad by counting on a much more advanced and general-purpose device to lure buyers.

Regardless of the existence of the smaller model, an analyst at the Taiwan publication doesn't expect the HP slate to provide a serious challenge to the iPad as its choice of an aging Atom processor will significantly cut down the battery life. Apple's custom ARM chip gives it 10 hours or more of real battery life where the HP slate is believed to get just 5 hours at best.


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  1. MisterMe

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2007

    +1

    Oh, please!

    Tear downs of the iPad show that it is loaded inside. Every single component serves a purpose. A smaller device must necessarily hold fewer components. Fewer components doesn't mean reduced functionality. It means the device, if it is being developed, must be completely different than the iPad.

  1. t0mat0

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2010

    +9

    Apple moving into the eReader market - why?

    Is there any reason for Apple to do this? Surely this move would confuse the consumer. Apple has made it clear it sees the iPad as between Touch and laptop. Where would this fit?
    It reeks of previous rumors about mini-iPhones.

    The current iPad is from $499. Given another year, it's likely to be able to get to $400 anyway.

    And would it have apps? Make developers work to yet another form factor, between iPhone and iPad?

    Would be more credible if other rumors, or the writer was more well regarded Apple rumor-wise.

  1. maae

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2006

    +2

    Or...

    Perhaps just thicker/smaller battery....

  1. dliup

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006

    +9

    lol

    Worst rumor ever. iPad has a virtual keyboard. What are they going to save? Not include the virtual keyboard?

    Even iPhone iPod touch has the virtual keyboard.

  1. iphonerulez

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2008

    +1

    For those that don't care AS MUCH about typing...

    I'm sure it will have a virtual keyboard but just a smaller one than the 9.7 inch model. Apple has probably already figured out how to produce a smaller processor board or more power-efficient processor and may still be able to get 10 hours battery life from a smaller device. I guess Apple is really going after the eReader market even though the purists think eInk displays are better for reading. For a form factor so many people think will be a failure, Apple is continuing to take risks. The 7 inch model won't fit in most pockets, either, which seems to be a chief complaint about why the iPad won't sell in quantity.

    This rumor is likely pure speculation and nothing more.

  1. Useless Message Poster

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2010

    +2

    This is too Easy

    Can you hear it now?

    "Did you buy the Mini or Maxi iPad?"

    I hope the marketing folks are thinking...

  1. JulesLt

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2005

    +3

    Area

    Apple claim the main power cost on the iPad is the display. A 7" display would have a significantly smaller surface area that requires backlighting, just as the iPhone's surface area is a fraction of the iPad.

    As for where a 7" device would fit . . . who knows - we have laptops that vary from 9" all the way up to 20" monsters - all of which suit someone. Ditto paper stock sizes. I'm sure we'll end up with tablets in a similar range of sizes.

    That said, I'll believe it when I see it - the UI question is the key one. It does reek of misinformation.

  1. qazwart

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2001

    +5

    That Does it!

    From now on, I'll be telling everyone that my iPod Touch is really the iPad Nano.

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009

    -1

    7" iPad??


    iPad mini = Kindle wanna-be

  1. Gazoobee

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Feb 2009

    +1

    no sense

    This makes no sense in that a 7" device without the giant bezel would actually be *better* for typing than either the current iPad or the current iPhone.

    The only thing stopping efficient mobile typing on the iPad is the fact that it's so big and the bezel on the sides so wide that you can't thumb type in portrait mode (the fastest method of data entry on the iPhone). A slightly smaller device, especially with smaller side bezels like the iPhone, would allow for fast thumb typing.

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