Rumors of a smaller iPad, or "iPad mini" have percolated ever since the first iPad was launched two years ago. This time around, they're fed by media reports from South Korea, China and Taiwan, saying Apple has ordered Samsung screens that are 7.86 inches measured on the diagonal. That would make the screen about two-thirds the size of the current iPad, which has a diagonal measurement of 9.7 inches.
Apple's late CEO made a rare appearance on an October 2010 earnings conference call to launch a tirade against the 7-inch tablet Samsung Electronics Inc. was set to launch as the first major challenger to the iPad.
"The reason we wouldn't make a 7-inch tablet isn't because we don't want to hit a price point, it's because we don't think you can make a great tablet with a 7-inch screen," Jobs said. "The 7-inch tablets are tweeners, too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad."
He said the resolution of the display could be increased to make up for the smaller size, but that would be "meaningless, unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of the present size."
"There are clear limits of how close you can physically place elements on a touch screen before users cannot reliably tap, flick or pinch them. This is one of the key reasons we think the 10-inch screen size is the minimum size required to create great tablet apps," he said.
Jobs failed to mention Apple's success developing apps that use taps, flicks and pinches on the iPhone, with its 3.5-inch screen.
So we have:
$199 Apple iPod Touch, 3.5 in 960×640 px 326 PPI
$199 Kindle Fire, 7 in, 1024×600 px 169 ppi
$329-$349 (?) Rumored "iPad mini", 7.86 in
$399 Apple iPad G2, 9.7 in, 1024×768 px 132 PPI
$499 Apple iPad G3, 9.7 in, 2048×1536 px 264 PPI
Interesting to see that while the iPad is a great product, you can get two and a half Kindle Fires for the price of one iPad G3, so I can see where their concern is coming from.
It'll be interesting to see if AAPL chooses to bypass Jobs's obvious distaste for a smaller iPad to try to get to a lower price point.