The iPad 3 release date and announcement is almost here, but we’re already hearing more about a new smaller iPad.
Last month reports surfaced that Apple was working on an 8-inch iPad, and I shared why the 8-inch iPad makes sense for Apple and for consumers, even with the launch of the iPad 3.
The iPad Mini rumor mill heated up again yesterday as DigiTimes reported that sample units of a smaller 7.85-inch iPad were sent out for testing. The rumor comes from parts suppliers who say that production couldn’t start until summer, “at the earliest.”
This timing could put the 8-inch iPad into the hands of shoppers and schoolchildren by fall, and more importantly by the holiday shopping season.
3 Reasons the 8-Inch iPad Makes Sense
As I’ve argued before, the smaller 8-inch iPad makes sense in Apple’s iPad lineup for several reasons.
Education – Apple is making a push into the education market where a smaller more affordable tablet could give their eTextbook program a boost.
Pricing – Reportedly Apple s planning to roll out a new tiered pricing model, and the iPad Mini could help round out the offerings, and attract more users to Apple. The iPad and iPhone are gateway Apple products, which can lead to the purchase of a MacBook Air, and Apple knows this.
Budget Shoppers – During the 2011 holiday shopping season the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet gained many new users, users who will buy into the Android app ecosystem, making it harder for Apple to lure them away down the line. A smaller, cheaper iPad that arrives before the Holiday shopping season could douse the Kindle Fire.
Digitimes sources suggest that Pricing will match the ranges I suggested at the end of 2011, which would give Apple a good range of iPad models, in line with the various models of iPods and iPhones it offers.
- Pad Mini– $$249 – 299
- iPad 2 – $299
- iPad 3 – $499
I’d buy a smaller iPad in an instant. I’ve used several 7 and 8-inch tablets and I absolutely love the size and form factor. While Steve Jobs was against smaller tablets, most of his fears were the result of user interface elements that would be cut by the smaller screen size, but judging from the good-looking iPhone and iPad apps, I’m not so sure that would be an issue anymore.
Would you buy a smaller 8-inch iPad?