Apple WILL build a 7in or 8in iPad. I’ve read the rumours and endless speculation that have come from the supply chain and analysts alike, but the one reason I’m certain of the fact is that the size and form factor is perfect, as evidenced by my most recent purchase – a Nexus 7 tablet from Google and Asus.
When Google announced the $249 tablet at its Google IO conference in July I decided to buy one sight unseen thanks to its size and price.
As readers might already know, I’ve been a big fan of the Kindle since I purchased my first Kindle a few years back. One of the main appeals of the Amazon device was its size and price – two things it has in common with the Nexus 7 tablet. But in the past few years my love of the Kindle hardware has dwindled. It really is a one-trick pony. I’d noticed that more and more of my reading was being done on my iPad.
While I’m a big iPad fan the reality is it’s relatively big and heavy, especially if you’re trying to use it in bed. But unlike the Kindle it does have a backlight and you can read it in the dark.
So, enter the Nexus 7, a small 7in tablet with a great screen for $249. It was a no-brainer.
The Nexus 7 also ships with Jelly Bean (version 4.1), Google’s latest version of Android. I’ve always been a bit hesitant about Android but Jelly Bean is a big step-up. Scrolling is smoother (still not quite as nice as on iOS devices), it’s fast, battery life is great and I’m falling in love with it.
Since I got it I’ve barely used my iPad. I’m using the Nexus 7 to read on at night; I’m using it while watching TV on the couch. It’s got great native Gmail integration and it’s way more customisable than my iPad.
On my homescreen, for example, I’ve got all these great little widgets that preview my content – email, calendar and Twitter feeds. It’s small and light enough that it doesn’t feel like an effort to use. The Nexus 7 has made me consider trying an Android phone for the first time.
On the downside the apps are still generally inferior to iOS. The best Twitter app on Android doesn’t come close to even the worst Twitter client on the iPad.
Which brings me back the rumoured 8in iPad. Apple’s cheapest iPad, the now-two- year-old iPad 2 sells for $429, almost double the cost of the Nexus 7. Apple can not, and will not, let competitors undercut it. True, Amazon has had the Kindle Fire available for some time now but it was really still-born; under powered and cheap.
Ryan Jones, in a post on his blog titled ‘The Reason for the iPad Mini’, illustrates the case for the iPad Mini in a clear chart. In both the iPhone and iPod lines Apple has a product offering from $50 (or free-on-contract in the case of the iPhone 3GS) all the way through to $800. But with the iPad Apple is still only catering for the high-end.
Without a product in this space, there is room for a competitor like Google or Amazon to come in and disrupt Apple’s business. It’s plainly obvious that Apple needs to address this gap.
Much speculation about the 8in iPad concerns developers and whether a new device would be appealing to them. My guess is that Apple has thought this through, and any new device would just work with existing apps, thereby giving developers a larger base of users to sell apps too.
Considered in the above context, an 8in iPad is a sure thing.