Speculations about a smaller version of Apple’s iPad tablet have been running for some time now, but now the New York Times is also chiming in. According to the publication, Apple’s 7.85-inch iPad is expected to be “announced this year” and will sell for “significantly less than the latest $499 iPad” model on the market. This would allow Apple to remain competitive with the barrage of new tablets entering the market today and will help the company cover different price points to target consumers.
After the iPad had entered the market, numerous companies had tried to chase Apple’s success. Today, models such as Google’s branded Nexus 7 tablet developed alongside with Asus, Microsoft’s Surface, and Amazon’s Kindle Fire slate are expected to appeal to customers due to their sizes, unique features, and price points. Both the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7 are priced at $200 and come with a more portable 7-inch display. And while the 7-inch screen is still a bit too large for a pocket, it may still be more convenient to tote around in a bag or a purse.
By releasing an iPad with different features, screen sizes, and price points, it’s expected that Apple would replicate its iPod strategy where a whole spectrum of customers were covered from a basic iPod Shuffle to a full-featured iPod Touch to a large capacity iPod Classic.
In the past, however, Apple had dismissed speculations of working on a smaller iPad. The company says that the smaller form factor poses some severe compromises on the user experience, particularly with the on-screen keyboard experience as a 7-inch screen would not lend well to a positive typing experience.
Given price competition and competitive feature sets from Google’s Nexus 7 today, perhaps Apple may be rethinking that market.