There has always been talks about Apple working on a smaller iPad, namely a 7-inch one, but it may not be as straightforward as people make it sound. In 2010, when on the topic of 7-inch tablets, Steve Jobs said it was Apple’s belief those tablets were too small to be useful. So how would Apple pull of the iPad mini?
Apple could circumvent this issue by using a 7.85 inch display, which would allow for it to be usable but also bring the benefits of a smaller iPad. John Gruber takes a closer look at the issue on Daring Fireball, explaining how it would be very different from the current 7-inch tablets in the market.
So, how can we square the idea of Apple making an iPad Mini with Jobs’s remarks from just a year and a half ago? We could point out (again) that 7.85 inches is closer to 8 inches than 7, and that the exact size of the purported iPad Mini display offers 66 percent of the surface area of a 9.7-inch iPad, not 45 percent [as is the case with a 7-inch display]. We could point out (again) that, assuming Apple-recommended 44-point user interface tap targets on a display with 163 points per inch, it should offer tap targets of the exact same physical size as every iPhone made to date, thus avoiding the need for Apple to include sandpaper with the device.
Gruber goes on to mention that the device would not have a retina display, which would help at keeping the price on the device down. Gruber suggests that Apple could price the smaller iPad at $199, the same price as the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7, by leveraging its massive supply chain to bring costs down to $150 and still make a profit. However, even at $250 the smaller iPad could be competitive, with hardware features and the iOS / AppStore ecosystem.