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Prediction: 7″ iPad will be the new iPod

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Warner posed the question “How Much Does Size Matter in the Tablet/Slate Universe?” expanding on rumors that Apple is preparing a 7″ iPad. This got me thinking beyond screen size to purpose and screen aspect and then on to branding. And it occurs to me that a 7″ iPad would not be nearly as helpful to Apple as a 7″ iPod.

Think about that size for a second. While it’s certainly possible to shrink an iPad screen from 9.7″ to 7″, doesn’t it seem more logical to double the size of an iPod touch from 3.5″ to 7″? Apple just doubled the resolution of the iPhone with the Retina Display on the iPhone 4. Common belief is that they’ll do the same with the iPod touch, but what if they double the entire display instead?

The main advantages with this would be the ability to run iPhone games at native 640×960 resolution, relieving developers from the hassles of writing for another platform, and watch widescreen video on a larger display with less wasted space or cutoff sides than the 4:3 iPad display. This fits right in with Apple’s targeting of the iPod touch towards gaming and media.

Yes, it seems strange to peg the iPod as the gaming and media device since all the iDevices overlap in these areas to a great extent, but that means Apple has reason to better distinguish the devices from one another. Right now, the iPod touch is being overshadowed by the more feature-rich iPhone and larger iPad. Giving the iPod its own distinct form factor would help set it apart and revitalize the shrinking brand.

One simple thing that would go a long way towards helping that revitalization would be if Apple introduced this larger iPod touch as simply the new iPod. Right now, the iPod brand is split among four form factors without any one of them being called simply iPod. Furthermore, in the line of iOS devices, the iPod touch sticks out with a suffixed name that is commonly, incorrectly referred to as the “iTouch”. A relaunch with the original name coupled with a “Reintroducing iPod” themed campaign would send a powerful message to consumers and competitors alike.

If Apple does resize and rebrand the iPod touch, we’re looking at a unified iDevice front of iPhone, iPod, and iPad, each with its own distinct form factor and strengths. While the iPhone and iPad are titans in their respective markets, the iPod is Sol Invictus of the portable media player market. Amidst growing and stronger competition, a rebirth of their “Unconquered Sun” could be just what Apple needs to maintain their market edge. Again though, just a prediction dependent on IF Apple makes a 7″ tablet.

Alleged Apple fanboi, accused Android apologist, and confirmed Microsoft MVP for touch and tablet Mark Sumimoto a.k.a. Sumocat dabbles in all areas of mobile computing with a focus on Windows-based Tablet PCs and pen input. A mobile computing enthusiast since 2004, he pioneered the field of ink blogging via his personal blog, Sumocat's Scribbles. His current tools include a Fujitsu Lifebook T900, TEGA v2, and iPhone 4. Email: sumocat [at] notebooks.com

11 Comments

  1. Sara

    08/17/2010 at 10:08 am

    7-inch sounds like a good size. It would be nicer if the iPod were more distinguished from the iPhone, rather than being its SIM-card-less brother. I might actually buy it, if they take up this idea.

  2. aftermath

    08/17/2010 at 12:26 pm

    A 7 inch device might joint the iPod family by nomenclature, but I don’t it would replace the sub 5-inch iPod as the new canonical iPod, yet. I believe that there’s enough room in the market and out outright demand that the sub 5-inch form factor might still have legs. Not only is a 7 inch device not very pod-like, but some people do truly just use the iPod as the hardware interface to iTunes, and for a lot of these people the 7 inch form factor isn’t going to work. Just look at all the people who exercise with one, doubling the size is a no-go.

  3. Nem

    08/17/2010 at 12:40 pm

    I don’t see Apple increasing the size of either the iPod or the iPhone. They are both the size that they are in order to comfortably fit in someones pocket. Making the iPod roughly twice the size will obviously make it too big for that. Also, the primary use for either of these devices (iPhone=phone and iPod=music)is not enhanced by a larger screen size.

  4. Phil L.

    08/17/2010 at 1:48 pm

    I really don’t hope this is the future of the iPod touch. I will be REALLY disappointed. I love my sim-card-less iPod touch. The size feels great… All it needs is a full body change like is older brother iPhone 4 to be back on top.

  5. Alslayer

    08/17/2010 at 10:02 pm

    Heck no. I want the 7 inch iPad to be popular and right now the hottest device is the iPad. I think the ipod touch should be renamed to be similar to the ipad.

    I will be in line to get that 7 inch ipad.

  6. Eve

    08/17/2010 at 11:50 pm

    7 inches sounds like a near perfect size. i love my ipod but really too small for gaming and ebooks.

  7. Tai-Pan

    08/18/2010 at 1:10 am

    As an iPad owner and a person who reviews mainly 7″ tablets every week I would say 7″ is the far more preferable size.

    I think it will still be an iPad though (not an iPod) so that Apple can extend the sofa-surfing iPad market into the truly mobile iPad market.

  8. Lex

    08/18/2010 at 5:57 am

    Aren’t the capabilities of the iPad the same as the iPod Touch, just a lot bigger? Having an iPad ‘mini’ as a 7-incher sounds like it would fit a niche for a lot of people, but in terms of functionality, I’m still trying to work out what I’d even use an iPad for that I can’t already use my Desire or my 7″ tablet for.

  9. VicVicVic

    08/18/2010 at 11:39 pm

    I would will willing to bet against this prediction, simply because it doesn’t make sense. There’s no point in increasing the screen size of a device mainly used for listening to music. I am trying to decide between the new iPod Nano and iPod Touch, based on what the new ones will offer. If the new iPod Touch actually turns out to be what you said – and I highly doubt it – I would definitely go for the new Nano.

  10. John Allison

    08/19/2010 at 9:45 am

    This is a daft notion. It makes no sense. It would be like Sony relaunching the Walkman in 1989, only shoebox sized. “Room for all your tapes!”

    “iPod” is synonymous with pocket-sized (or smaller) music players. Branding larger players that way would make no branding sense at all. A smaller iPad would be the “iPad Mini” or similar if you wanted to extend a given brand.

  11. Phil-ny

    04/18/2011 at 11:21 am

    The new ipod is exactly the same as the new ipad, has all the same features and capabilities. Difference being of course, the ipad is much bigger, but they’re the same device. I went for the ipod touch because of music and portibility. Let’s face it, I’m not going to go jogging with an ipad.

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