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ezkcdude
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2012-04-16, 08:35

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/rumor-...131348984.html

I think most of us have tried to rationalize why Apple wouldn't do this. But if they go ahead and do it, will it be a mistake, or were (most of us) wrong in the first place?
 
zippy
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2012-04-16, 09:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezkcdude View Post
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/rumor-...131348984.html

I think most of us have tried to rationalize why Apple wouldn't do this. But if they go ahead and do it, will it be a mistake, or were (most of us) wrong in the first place?
I've always been OK with the idea, and still think it will be successful. Based on the success of the Kindle Fire (even though we don't know exactly how many units were sold) I can't see how anyone can still try to make a case that a 7" tablet will not sell. Price is no doubt a part of the equation as well, but I don't think Apple even needs to get all the way down to the Kindle Fire's price point. Somewhere in the $250-300 price range would suffice.

Do you know where children get all of their energy? - They suck it right out of their parents!
 
ezkcdude
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2012-04-16, 09:49

Personally, I think it might be a mistake from a business standpoint, because the profit margin won't be there.
 
bassplayinMacFiend
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2012-04-16, 10:15

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezkcdude View Post
Personally, I think it might be a mistake from a business standpoint, because the profit margin won't be there.
If the profit margin isn't there, Apple won't build it. I've yet to see any kind of "loss leader" product from Apple. Of course, I've only been re-following them since 2001 so maybe Amelio had some loss leaders back in the bad old days...

As far as a 7" tablet goes, it would definitely be easier to stuff into an inside winter coat pocket or a lady's purse compared to the current iPad.
 
Lyngo
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2012-04-16, 10:32

What would become of the iPod touch?
 
psmith2.0
Mr. Anderson
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2012-04-16, 11:02

Nothing?

It could still stay right where it is, and sell to those who don't want/need a 7-10" iOS device.

Maybe its price/capacity gets tweaked a bit so its positioning and existence makes a bit more sense. Maybe they can get it down to the $179-229 range for, say, two capacities...8 and 16GB? Keep a 32GB model around for the high-$200's?

Then a 16GB 7" iPad for $249 or $299 (add another $100 for 32GB)?

Hell, I'd almost get a 32GB 7" iPad for under $400, assuming it had iPad 2-type performance/specs (which is all I've ever known, and am completely happy with).

I don't know how much Apple would want to "tier" everything out (multiple offerings/capacities of the iPod touch and two different iPad lines). Could get a bit jumbled and cluttered, trying to figure it all out as a customer? But they'd figure it out...make a nice grid/chart on their site where everything is cleanly laid out and simplified, etc. They're good about doing that already with the iPhones, iPads and notebooks.

But I think all three could peacefully coexist...a more affordable iPod touch at current size/resolution, a new 7" iPad in that $249-349 spot depending on capacity, the full size iPad 2 in the $399 spot (as is), and the new iPad starting at $499.

Four distinct offering groups of non-phone iOS devices...three sizes, and, in the larger models, a "premium" in the form of the new iPad, with its Retina Display, A5x/graphics and LTE. Think of the $399 iPad 2 less as "last year's model" and, instead, as the "standard" iPad (maybe even jigger the names/branding if needed...lose the "2" to where it's just an "iPad"). Then view the $499+ models as the deluxe, higher-end models with nicer displays, improved graphics and the 4G stuff?

It's all marketing/branding at that point. None of them "suck". It's just "what size screen do you want? And what do you want to pay for?"

Apple's done this before in the iPods...several models not that far apart in price, but with different designs/capacities serving as the decision-makers. They did okay with that.

For some users, bigger won't automatically mean better, so Apple, in theory, could have a 3.5" iPod touch at $229 and a 7" iPad mini (for lack of a better name) starting in the mid-$200's. Despite the close pricing, depending on your needs/usage, some would be happy sticking with the touch, while others would gladly spend a few bucks more to get a larger device.

Last edited by psmith2.0 : 2012-04-16 at 11:15.
 
thegeriatric
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2012-04-16, 11:11

I can see a market for Apple with a smaller iPad, to me it makes perfect sense, and I would be interested in buying one, providing it's priced right.

I used to be undecided.....But now I'm not so sure.
No trees were harmed in the sending of this message. However, a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
 
Robo
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2012-04-16, 11:16

Apple's only going to make a smaller iPad if they think that people actually want a smaller iPad, which is not to be confused with just wanting a cheaper iPad. If people just want a cheaper iPad, Apple could just start selling the iPad 2 for $299 next spring, or whatever.

So far, I haven't seen much indication that the masses want a smaller iPad. Cheaper, yes. But smaller? I guess the question would be, if the 7" iPad and 9.7" iPad were the same price, would there still be a lot of people who would choose the 7" iPad? I'm really not sure there would be.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
 
chucker
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2012-04-16, 11:17

Quote:
Originally Posted by bassplayinMacFiend View Post
If the profit margin isn't there, Apple won't build it. I've yet to see any kind of "loss leader" product from Apple.
Hardware-wise, no, but the iTunes Store sort of counts for early years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bassplayinMacFiend View Post
Of course, I've only been re-following them since 2001 so maybe Amelio had some loss leaders back in the bad old days…
Could be.
 
chucker
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2012-04-16, 11:18

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
Apple's only going to make a smaller iPad if they think that people actually want a smaller iPad, which is not to be confused with wanting a cheaper iPad. If people just want a cheaper iPad, Apple could just start selling the iPad 2 for $299 next year, or whatever.

So far, I haven't seen much indication that the masses want a smaller iPad.
Yup. I still don't see what problems that form factor solves. Too big for pockets; too small for an immersive experience. Might fit in a purse, I suppose.

And, indeed, I could see a $349 or even $299 iPad 2 next year. They've done it with the iPhone, after all.
 
psmith2.0
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2012-04-16, 11:21

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
Apple's only going to make a smaller iPad if they think that people actually want a smaller iPad, which is not to be confused with just wanting a cheaper iPad. If people just want a cheaper iPad, Apple could just start selling the iPad 2 for $299 next year, or whatever.

So far, I haven't seen much indication that the masses want a smaller iPad.
Well, unfortunately Steve is no longer around to let them know, and to sell them on it.



But seriously...the "masses" didn't know they wanted a 10" touch-based tablet until just two short years ago, remember? Surely you recall the lead-up to that, and the calls for failure and "why?!" and "what does it replace?", "who the hell wants to type on an onscreen keyboard?", "Apple thinks they're going to take on the netbook market with THIS?!? Hahahaha!" and so on.

Don't leave it solely to customers to "know what they want". They rarely do because they're looking at it from a narrow, familiar "this is what I've always known and used" perspective, which is how most of us operate. Human nature. It took someone else, with some vision and the means to get it done (remember the iPad was being developed long ago, well before the iPhone, according to Steve himself). How many new devices or users did Apple create or help define over the years, especially when Steve was in top-form and in the mix?

I'm not being rhetorical or smarty-pants, mind you.

What I'm saying is if Apple put it out there, it's going to sell. And if the price is right, and it's no strain/sweat on developers (keeping the familiar 1024x768), I think it could be huge. In the same way the iPod mini and nano took off, even though the larger, traditional iPod was "better", on paper, in most of the ways that counted.

The "masses" want another season of The Jersey Shore and a new Britney or Mariah album, FFS. So they're not to be trusted or counted on to be the "guiding force" in what should be. Their job is to simply recognize a good idea when they see it, and line up to buy it.


Last edited by psmith2.0 : 2012-04-16 at 11:32.
 
chucker
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2012-04-16, 11:34

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
Well, unfortunately Steve is no longer around to let them know.



Seriously. The "masses" didn't know they wanted a 10" touch-based tablet until just two short years ago, remember? Surely you recall the lead-up to that, and the calls for failure and "why" and "what does it replace" and "who the hell wants to type on an onscreen keyboard" and so on.
This is true. But at the same time, the masses have been saying, very loudly, that they hate PCs. We sort of blocked it out and brushed it away as "normal", but the complaining never truly stopped. PCs have always been so far away of being a technological companion to someone's regular life, and we simply stopped noticing. The problem was right there in our eyes, and iPad solved it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
What I'm saying is if Apple put it out there, it's going to sell.
This isn't always true (Apple TV, anyone? iPod Hi-Fi? Cube?), and even if it were, part of that is because, as Steve used to put it, they're as proud of the products they ended up doing as they are of the ones they decided not to do. They focus. They don't offer a 19-inch MacBook Pro, or a 10-inch MacBook Air, or five different iMac sizes, even though virtually every computer manufacturer does just that, and as much as Sony has learnt this, they haven't quite internalized it.

They're not gonna do it just because they can sell it to a six-figure amount of people. They're gonna do it if they can sell it to even more than that, all the while explaining, gracefully, why you'd still want to consider an iPhone and a full-sized iPad.
 
chucker
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2012-04-16, 11:36

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
The "masses" want another season of The Jersey Shore and a new Britney or Mariah album, FFS. So they're not to be trusted or counted on to be the "guiding force" in what should be. Their job is to simply recognize a good idea when they see it, and line up to buy it.
Ford's line on the faster horse customers wanted is doubly insightful, though. It doesn't just suggest that customers don't quite know what they want; it also suggests that they are, subconsciously, aware of the problems they encounter with what they currently have. When nobody says "I wish my iPad were smaller", it doesn't necessarily follow that nobody wants a smaller iPad. And when everyone says "my iPhone and iPad do exactly what I need them to", that can still mean that they could like something in between. But when nobody even suggests that they would want something, of whatever form, that they can't currently have, that's different.
 
Robo
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2012-04-16, 11:43

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
Seriously. The "masses" didn't know they wanted a 10" touch-based tablet until just two short years ago.
But they did want it — they just didn't know it yet. It only seems like Apple can tell consumers what they want because Apple's been so good at predicting what they want.

Now the iPad is out, and so we can gauge consumer reactions, and I've never had someone come up to me and ask about my iPad and say that they like it, they just wished it was a little smaller. Not once.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates
What I'm saying is if Apple put it out there, it's going to sell.
I don't think so. The pull of the Apple brand is strong enough to ensure they won't make a Kin-level flop anytime soon, but it by no means guarantees success. The iPod Hi-Fi and first-gen Apple TV certainly didn't light the world on fire. Again, it only seems success is guaranteed for Apple because they've made so few missteps in recent years. Apple can get consumers to give them the benefit of the doubt more than other companies, but a bad idea is still a bad idea. I'm not saying the iPad mini is definitely a bad idea, just that I'm not at all convinced it's a good one. What would the point of it be? Who would it serve that a similarly-priced full-size iPad wouldn't serve just as well, if not better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates
In the same way the iPod mini and nano took off, even though the larger, traditional iPad was "better", on paper, in most of the ways that counted.
But those were A) pocketable devices, where every millimeter matters, and B) not defined by their screen. The iPod nano had a smaller screen than the iPod mini, but nobody cared. It didn't make any difference to how you used the product. It didn't have apps. Classic iPods were defined by their capacities, and the iPod mini still held "1,000 songs in your pocket," which was good enough for most people. For someone with 500 songs, choosing the iPod mini had literally no downside.

But the iPad is different. It's all screen. It's all apps. It's not at all like changing the screen size of a classic iPod. Changing the screen size on the iPad changes the nature of the entire experience.

How do you type on a 7" screen? What about apps that really suck shrunken down to 7 inches, because the buttons are too small? Why would tens of millions of people want a 7" iPad over an equally priced 9.7" one? Those are questions I haven't seen answers to.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
 
psmith2.0
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Join Date: May 2004
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2012-04-16, 11:48

Well that would be hard for anyone to do. And I think it would be way the hell more than six figures of users.

Keeping that resolution of the iPad 2 changes very little in usability, development, selling, etc. I realize it's in that odd no-man's land of "too big for pocket, not big enough for full immersion". But we're thinking about it from the savvy, follow-this-crap-24/7 geekster perspective. Regular people aren't thinking "full immersion" and phrases like that. They don't know what that means, nor do they give a rat's ass about pixels (and their density), etc.

All they know is "I love my sister-in-law's iPad, but it's heavier than I imagined. I'd like something more like my Kindle and not have to buy a dedicated bag/sleeve for it...".

I think the Kindle has a lot of fans and users, and a lot of people weaned on that smaller, easily held/gripped size. I think that's a huge potential market (the Fire isn't exactly setting the world on it, from all I've seen/read).

It's purse-friendly, that size. And lighter, smaller (for years that's all I've ever heard you guy talk about here...now that the possibility of it might exist, it's suddenly "10 inches or nothing! Hell no on the 7 inch iPad!" ).

And you cannot discount the growing kid/youth stuff (especially with that textbook stuff rolling out). I think about my little monkey niece and nephew, and how they've got another 4-5 years of "little hands" and sub-high school bodies. And, due to my sister's iPhone/iPad, they're already fully into this stuff. They know the App Store, how to download and update things, they know how to e-mail and FaceTime, etc. So they're "there" already. A lot of kids are. In fact, how many parents would pay a few hundred bucks, come Christmas or birthdays, to keep their kids off their shit (iPhones and iPads) and turn them loose with a little 7" version of their own if it means them never monkeying with your stuff ever again? Seeing all I've seen, some would gladly pay thousands.

And smallness/lightness obviously does count for something to many because I think that 11" Air is doing really, really well.

Steve didn't want it, true. But he's not around anymore. And Apple has the freedom/flexibility, if they think it's worth doing, to "go against him" (especially if some of his proclamations or wants were more of the 'petulant tyrant' variety...which, let's face it, a lot of them probably were. That Isaacson book should've shed plenty of light on all that. He was gifted, and a visionary. But he was something else too, at times.



And nobody is ever 100% right about everything. Not even him.
 
Robo
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2012-04-16, 11:55

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Ford's line on the faster horse customers wanted is doubly insightful, though. It doesn't just suggest that customers don't quite know what they want; it also suggests that they are, subconsciously, aware of the problems they encounter with what they currently have.
Exactly.

I'm not saying that Apple should, like, ask the masses what they want, and build exactly that, which seems to be the argument ad absurdum that pscates is trying to attribute to me, with comments about Jersey Shore and the like. I'm certainly not a fan of crowdsourcing and design by committee. But Apple does have to make something that the masses do want. Right? That's how they've gotten to where they are now, by doing just that, again and again and again. I didn't think that would be a controversial statement.

I think most people would prefer a $299 iPad 2 to an equivalent iPad mini. I think the iPad mini would feel like a step back, in ways that the iPod mini and nano didn't. All else being equal, shrinking a pocketable device is an improvement — and for users with less than 1,000 songs, all else was equal. But the iPad is just not a comparable device.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
 
psmith2.0
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Join Date: May 2004
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2012-04-16, 12:01

I wasn't attributing anything to you, Robo. I don't think you're of the Jersey Shore set, for crying out loud. Relax.

Chances are, this will never even come to be and everyone who doesn't see the point can all be right in the end. Cool? And I'll take my lumps like a man, when the time comes.



"'scates, you damn idiot...you thought Apple would release a...". Yeah, yeah...

I think this is all splitting hairs, really. Timing it all out in the "who wanted what when" sweepstakes. I don't know if pocket-ability factors in that much, as the current iPad certainly isn't. So there shouldn't be any unreasonable expectations that a 7" version should be. People will either tote it as is, or slide it into a purse, messenger bag, backpack, school bag or brief case or whatever. Like they already do. And for those who are using it around the house 80-90% of the time, it's even less of a concern. Apple surely wouldn't attempt to market it as an "iPad in your pocket" to begin with. So nobody's going to be disappointed that it doesn't go there.

I'm usually a traditionalist and "see the point" kinda guy (I think Apple is right more than wrong, I appreciate their approach, I certainly don't think they should have their fingers into every pie and creating tons of versions of things, etc.). But the notion of a 7" iPad doesn't bother me for some reason, nor does it rub up against all the things I believe are How It Should Be (I'm guilty of that in other areas...namely the iPhone, because it is pocketable and benefits from easy, single-hand/thumb use in so many cases; when that starts to get messed with or altered, I get a little "grrr..." because I think that's an important aspect, after five years of easy use, accessibility, etc.). But I don't put the iPad in that same league because it's intended to be a larger, two-handed device from the start. So it has a little more leeway and flexibility in sizing and design decisions, IMO.



In the way you've not heard anyone asking for it, oddly enough I have. Granted, several of them were kid-focused (but that's not bad, or "wrong" either). And a couple were from big-time Kindle users. The iPod touch is too small (plus they've already got something that size in the form of a phone, Apple's or otherwise). And the iPad, as is, is just bigger and heavier than they prefer, or are accustomed to.

Are they dying for one? No, of course not. But I've had conversations and exchanges with about 5-6 people over the past few months, when this topic comes up. Most of my real-life friends aren't of the geek/tech variety, so when they volunteer or say things, unsolicited, I tend to take notice (because people like us, who camp out at online tech forums, tend to want every crazy-ass thing, or delve into the weeds on every aspect). Often to the point where it's just not even fun anymore...

It's nice to sometimes hear a normal person say what they like/want, out of the blue, and then give their reasons for it (and have them actually make some sense, and hang together). It's refreshing to hear wants/reasons not based on GHz, pixels, Intel chip yields and stuff like that.

I tend to forget that most people in my life don't view all this through the same prism/filters I do. And the stuff I've come to take for granted, they truly do appreciate and put huge marks on. And the stuff I find myself obsessing on, or considering "important", never crosses their minds. Interesting insights.

And since my friends aren't of the Jersey Shore set either, I feel okay putting some value into the things they say or ask about. Most would be happy if their little amped-up, drop/spill-happy monkeys left Mommy and Daddy's iStuff the hell alone for the love of all that is holy. If a smaller, more affordable iPad goes toward that, even better.

Last edited by psmith2.0 : 2012-04-16 at 12:26.
 
Robo
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2012-04-16, 12:10

I'm sorry. I'm probably a little more tightly wound than usual, right now. We cool?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
Keeping that resolution of the iPad 2 changes very little in usability
My hunch would be to disagree, especially for typing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates
And smallness/lightness obviously does count for something to many because I think that 11" Air is doing really, really well.
Nobody's saying that smallness/lightness doesn't "count for something." I love compact electronics!

The question is compromise. The 11" Air features comparatively few compromises to the 13" model. The keyboard is still the same. The screen is smaller, but on OS X you can stack windows. And it's not like everything on the screen is just smaller — it's a different resolution.

I don't think roughly halving the screen area on the iPad is comparable. I think it'd be too small to touch type on but too large to thumb type on, like the portrait keyboard on the current iPad. Existing apps that were just shrunk down would have smaller buttons. I think it would be too many compromises.

After all — trying my own hand at argument ad absurdum — if smallness/lightness is all that matters, why shouldn't Apple introduce a 7.85" iPad and a 6" iPad? Those 6" Kindles are popular! And it'd be so much smaller and lighter! But of course, the amount of compromises to get there does matter, and for the 7" iPad I just think it'd be too much. Just MHO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates
Steve didn't want it, true. But he's not around anymore.
I don't think anyone's said that the only reason Apple should make a 7" iPad is because Steve didn't want it.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
 
ezkcdude
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2012-04-16, 12:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
Steve didn't want it, true. But he's not around anymore. And Apple has the freedom/flexibility, if they think it's worth doing, to "go against him" (especially if some of his proclamations or wants were more of the 'petulant tyrant' variety...which, let's face it, a lot of them probably were. That Isaacson book should've shed plenty of light on all that. He was gifted, and a visionary. But he was something else too, at times.
The problem is the margin. If Apple is getting into that segment of the market because they are losing share to Kindle, that means, by definition, the 7" iPad will cannibalize the larger (and more profitable) 10" iPad sales. Apple doesn't want that.

And if Apple is not worried about losing market share to the Kindle, then why would they do this?

Either way you look at it, it doesn't make sense financially...unless the profit margin on the 7" iPad can equal or improve on the 10" version...

Or Apple is worried about losing the entire tablet market to competitors of cheaper and/or smaller tablets like the Kindle, which again doesn't seem likely.

I'd like someone to tell me the *business* case for making the 7" tablet. I haven't heard a good reason yet. And at the end of the day, Apple is a business. They don't just make things willy-nilly for fun.
 
psmith2.0
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Join Date: May 2004
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2012-04-16, 12:34

I know. And I'm fully 50/50 on it, honestly. If they do it, great (I know some folks who'll jump on it, day one). If they don't, nobody loses anything and Apple is still Apple. If Apple really wanted to make a statement, then yeah...get that iPad 2 down to the price levels talked about for this mythical 7" iPad.

Nobody would ever want anything else!

Refurb 16GB Wifi-only iPad 2 models go for $349 (new battery and outer shell), so that's really tempting for a lot. It would be nice if that (or $299) was the everyday going price. That would surely kill all talk of a 7". The people who want a 7" for size/price reasons would deal with it and adjust accordingly, I'm sure.

Maybe someday.
 
zippy
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2012-04-16, 12:35

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
They focus. They don't offer a 19-inch MacBook Pro, or a 10-inch MacBook Air, or five different iMac sizes, even though virtually every computer manufacturer does just that, and as much as Sony has learnt this, they haven't quite internalized it.
Apple does offer different sizes of the same thing though. They do have 2 sizes of MBA, 2 sizes of MBP and 2 sizes of iMac. So it's not like 2 sizes of iPad would really be an OMGNOWAY situation. The difference between Apple and Sony is not just that Apple has far fewer models, but that they also are very clearly delineated from one another. It's easy to see what you get/give up when you move from one model to another.

With Sony, they'll have 4 or 5 different TVs that are the same size and generally the same specs, but a few of them just look different. Or in one model, you add one thing while giving up another and in the next, you flip-flop those trade-offs. And maybe none of them actually have everything. There isn't a clear progression from base model to fully featured.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
How do you type on a 7" screen?
Easier than you type on a 3.5" screen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
What about apps that really suck shrunken down to 7 inches, because the buttons are too small?
I guess I don't really see where that's going to be such a big issue. I see far, far more buttons on the Web that are uncomfortably small while using an iPhone and yet we seem to do OK with those.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
Why would tens of millions of people want a 7" iPad over an equally priced 9.7" one?
Who's saying we can get an equally priced 9.7" iPad? The assumption is that an 8" (let's face it, it's far closer to 8" than 7") iPad would be less than the existing iPad offerings.

So the question is who would want a smaller and cheaper iPad? I think lots of people. Starting with millions and millions of kids and millions of women who want to fit something into their purse, and millions of people who want a full functioned tablet, but with emphasis on reading portability. I imagine it would be easier to hold a 7.85" iPad with one hand while holding onto a subway/train/bus handle with the other than it would be to do that with a 9.7" iPad.

I know many will say that's what the iPhone/iPod Touch is for, but I disagree. I will do things like read or surf the web on my iPhone as a last resort. The screen is just too small to do any of that kind of thing on a regular basis. But a 7.85" device would be a perfect cross-over device: very-portable, yet easy enough to see. At least IMO.

Do you know where children get all of their energy? - They suck it right out of their parents!
 
zippy
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2012-04-16, 12:42

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezkcdude View Post
The problem is the margin. If Apple is getting into that segment of the market because they are losing share to Kindle, that means, by definition, the 7" iPad will cannibalize the larger (and more profitable) 10" iPad sales. Apple doesn't want that.
Apple has said repeatedly that they don't mind cannibalization as long as it is them cannibalizing their own products. It's better than having someone else steal those sales.

And how would selling a 7.85" iPad to someone instead of them buying a Kindle Fire cannibalizing Apple? That would be cannibalizing Amazon Kindles.

And why exactly are we to assume that Apple can't maintain worthwhile margins on a 7.85" iPad? Just because Amazon reportedly isn't? I'd very strongly suggest that Apple is leaps and bounds ahead of everybody in the manufacturing/profiting business - especially Amazon.

Do you know where children get all of their energy? - They suck it right out of their parents!
 
hmurchison
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2012-04-16, 13:56

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy View Post
And why exactly are we to assume that Apple can't maintain worthwhile margins on a 7.85" iPad? Just because Amazon reportedly isn't? I'd very strongly suggest that Apple is leaps and bounds ahead of everybody in the manufacturing/profiting business - especially Amazon.

It's not really hard to see this unfolding. The ones getting caught up are the Jobsian clones (prattling about sandpaper, fingertips and 7" screens" and those that have a ideal of what an iPad should be and have a hard time seeing beyond.

I work with a couple of happy Kindle owners. Not the Fire but the eInk smaller units. They LOVE them..battery lasts a long time...it's small and light. Perhaps i'm just a weakling but an iPad at 9.7 inches is fatiguing to read on if I'm holding it. It's not just a good form factor for reading handheld IMO.

One size rarely fits all.

Just piece together what you know for a fact and the possibility of a mini at acceptable margins becomes likely.

1. Manufacturing...Brazil is online along with Foxconn
2. New battery density (42 mAh in the new iPad)
3. Anobit purchase
4. Smaller A5 processor used in the Apple TV and lower cost iPad 2

We know also that the new iPad still contains plenty of 45nm parts. A tablet slated to ship latter half of this year would have time to use newer products. Smaller and more efficient broadband and baseband chips have been announced and are undergoing volume production.

Margins are a factor of cost of goods and final selling price. If you can deliver a highly integrated solution it often costs less. I've done a bit of chip sleuthing and many of the component suppliers that delivered multi chip solutions just a couple of years ago for tablets are now delivering single IC that handle the function that took 3 chips a while ago. Intel is attempting to add LTE support right into the silicon for future devices. This is where cost reduction without sacrificing margin will come from. Integration.

So it's not a matter of "should it be done?" but rather "is it the right time to deliver the right product?"

omgwtfbbq
 
Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2012-04-16, 15:34

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy
Easier than you type on a 3.5" screen.
Not really. 3.5" screen is small enough to type using two thumbs. A 9.7" screen is large enough to touch type. 7" screens are neither. I've used 7" tablets, and there's no good way to type on them. Their keyboards in landscape are about the size of the iPad's in portrait. And the keyboard on a 7.85" iPad wouldn't be any wider, since that extra screen size is going toward giving the screen a taller 4:3 aspect ratio.

Really, the most (only?) viable way to type on the iPad mini would probably be to use the split thumb keyboard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post
It's not really hard to see this unfolding. The ones getting caught up are the Jobsian clones (prattling about sandpaper, fingertips and 7" screens" and those that have a ideal of what an iPad should be and have a hard time seeing beyond.
Or those who have very real concerns about the usability of the product, and what it would actually add to the iOS ecosystem. But, y'know, same difference. Silly Jobsian clones!

Sorry, but ignoring the arguments people are making against a 7" iPad, and then just painting the people making them as close-minded or "Jobsian clones," is pretty lazy. It's like calling someone an "Apple fanboy" and then dismissing everything they say. If someone is an Apple fanboy then critics should point out the parts in their commentary where their fanboyism leads him astray, not just call them a fanboy and leave it at that. Likewise, if I'm wrong about the usability of the screen size or keyboard or whatever than show me why I'm wrong, don't just dismiss the opposing arguments as Jobsian prattling that doesn't need to be addressed.

Because I, personally, don't give a damn about what Jobs thought about iPad screen size. I give a damn about what I think, and what I've felt and experienced, and all the 7" tablets' keyboards have felt like absolute crap to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison
I work with a couple of happy Kindle owners. Not the Fire but the eInk smaller units. They LOVE them..battery lasts a long time...it's small and light.
The battery lasts a long time because of the e-ink screen, and they're light because of their much smaller batteries. In other words, a 7.85" iPad, or even a 6" one, is unlikely to be anywhere near the same weight as an e-ink Kindle anytime soon. Most 7" tablets weigh about a pound.

I'm not sure I buy the idea that the only way to make the iPad lighter is to chop off half the screen. The iPad 2 was 10% lighter than the iPad 1 with the same screen size. Another 10% reduction would take the iPad to 1.1 lbs, which is within spitting distance of most 7" tablets. Sure, the iPad "3" took a small step backwards, weightwise, due to its increased battery needs, but technology will continue to improve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison
So it's not a matter of "should it be done?"
I actually think it is a matter of "should it be done?" My hunch would be that it shouldn't.

Apple tries to introduce the fewest possible products — especially with iOS products. They rely on the economies of scale gained by selling tens of millions of the exact same thing, as well as the app ecosystem created when developers can reach tens of millions of customers with one version of one product. Apple still only introduces one new phone each year! So for Apple to introduce a new iOS product, they have to be convinced that it will be a meaningful contribution to the iOS line — and not just "for now," not just "until 9.7-inch screens can be had at the same price," but for the foreseeable future. Introducing a 7" iPad would be committing to the form factor.

That's in part because it would be a burden on developers. It doesn't matter that existing apps would be able to run shrunk down; the savviest developers would still want to custom-tailor their apps for the smaller screen. If their game calls for a one-inch button, they'd still want that to be a one-inch button, which means making larger HUD assets at the 1024*768 resolution and reconfiguring their positions.

I don't think Apple feels threatened by Amazon. If they want to sell a $299 iPad, they can easily wait until they can sell a $299 iPad that offers the full-sized iPad experience.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
 
Kraetos
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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2012-04-16, 16:00

I'm 100% with Robo. I don't think people want a smaller tablet, I think they want a cheaper one. We already have a smaller tablet... it's called a smartphone.

The Kindle comparison is not fair because eInk changes the battery math. I think it's far more likely we see a larger iPad before we see a smaller one.

Logic, logic, logic. Logic is the beginning of wisdom, Valeris, not the end.
 
hmurchison
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2012-04-16, 17:05

An affordable smaller tablet satisfies both lovers of a lower price and smaller form factors. Neither is mutually inclusive or exclusive.

With regard to keyboard input it's important to realize that the virtual KB is just one of many input modalities. With the new iPad voice
dictation has arrived. Not yet full Siri but for those that struggle to type yet can articulate well in a supported language they have another
method for inputing text.

The UI argument needs further examination. While the UI elements would indeed shrink it's important to realize the abstraction between a
drawn element and its corresponding "tap target"

Apple suggests the minimum tap target size is 44x44 points but that doesn't mean that the drawn element needs to follow. Put more succinctly Robo's point about a developer wanting to keep a 1inch drawn target on all iPads may not be ideal as the developer could simply modify the tap target irrespective of the drawn element. The only limitation would be a crowded interface that does not allow expansion of the tap target.

I contend that an overabundance or over-reliance on tappable targets is poor UI design in many cases. iOS is simply not OS X reduced down and simplified it's an new way of interacting with content and if the task manager Clear can deliver touch control with nary a button on the UI then developers need to look at how they can reduce the clutter of buttons and enable more intuitive swipes and other gestural controls.

This makes for a more transportable UI across various sizes of mobile devices.

So the question becomes who stands to benefit from a smaller and cheaper iPad model? I would think that there are plenty of consumers and businesses alike that wouldn't mind a tablet larger than an iPhone but even more portable than an iPad.

My ideal target would be:

.9 of a lb
10 hour battery life in Wifi (9 hour with cellular)
OLED or IGZO display for power savings.
802.11ac
Bluetooth 4.0
9-Axis inertial Module
Sub $300

The straw that stirs this drink is going to be iCloud. When you reduce the reticence of consumers to add another device to their group by making it easier to setup and manage you tear down a large wall.

Couple this with the move towards shared data-plans coming from AT&T and Verizon and the potential success for cellular based tablets improve as well.

omgwtfbbq
 
Kraetos
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Boston-ish
 
2012-04-16, 17:56

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post
An affordable smaller tablet satisfies both lovers of a lower price and smaller form factors. Neither is mutually inclusive or exclusive.
But what's the point of an iPad mini if there's a $299 iPad?

Quote:
With regard to keyboard input it's important to realize that the virtual KB is just one of many input modalities. With the new iPad voice
dictation has arrived. Not yet full Siri but for those that struggle to type yet can articulate well in a supported language they have another
method for inputing text.
Keyboards aren't going anywhere. They will always be more precise and discreet.

Quote:
I contend that an overabundance or over-reliance on tappable targets is poor UI design in many cases. iOS is simply not OS X reduced down and simplified it's an new way of interacting with content and if the task manager Clear can deliver touch control with nary a button on the UI then developers need to look at how they can reduce the clutter of buttons and enable more intuitive swipes and other gestural controls.
Gestures are the opposite of obvious. You have to know what a gesture does before you use it, but buttons say what they're going to do right on them.

Quote:
So the question becomes who stands to benefit from a smaller and cheaper iPad model? I would think that there are plenty of consumers and businesses alike that wouldn't mind a tablet larger than an iPhone but even more portable than an iPad.
7 inch tablets haven't exactly taken off. The case for pent up demand for 7" tablets doesn't seem strong to me. The only 7" tablets which have taken off appear to have done so because they are cheap. Expensive 7" tablets didn't go anywhere.

Quote:
My ideal target would be:

.9 of a lb
10 hour battery life in Wifi (9 hour with cellular)
OLED or IGZO display for power savings.
802.11ac
Bluetooth 4.0
9-Axis inertial Module
Sub $300
Why is this any better at 7" then at 10"? You still haven't answered one of Robo's most important questions: how is a 7" tablet better than a 10" tablet for the same price? Yes it's more portable, but not nearly as portable as a smartphone.

You can distill this entire debate down to "is 7" a sweet-spot or a no-mans-land?" Based on sales of 7" tablets and on my own experience using a Fire, I think it's pretty obviously a no-mans-land. You don't get any real advantages over a smartphone, but you don't get the advantages of a full tablet, either.

Quote:
The straw that stirs this drink is going to be iCloud. When you reduce the reticence of consumers to add another device to their group by making it easier to setup and manage you tear down a large wall.
Agreed. But again, it seems to me the case for a bigger iPad is stronger than that for a smaller one.

Logic, logic, logic. Logic is the beginning of wisdom, Valeris, not the end.
 
hmurchison
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2012-04-16, 18:12

But what's the point of an iPad mini if there's a $299 iPad?

You're not addressing those who wish to have a smaller iPad

Keyboards aren't going anywhere. They will always be more precise and discreet.

True. But it appears that voice input is here to stay as well.

Gestures are the opposite of obvious. You have to know what a gesture does before you use it, but buttons say what they're going to do right on them.


Few things in life are obvious. We learn from teaching, experience and familiarity. Gestural UI have a learning curve just like anything else.

A 7" tablet is lighter, right now the iPad is just a bit too portly for gaming long term (as a controller) and reading. Reducing the iPad 2 down to $299 doesn't help deal with it's
weight nor does it make it any more transportable. A 7" is easier to deliver at reduced cost and its smaller size is bound to be more comfortable.

omgwtfbbq
 
ezkcdude
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Join Date: Jan 2005
 
2012-04-16, 18:16

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post
A 7" tablet is lighter, right now the iPad is just a bit too portly for gaming long term (as a controller) and reading.
Really? I think it's better for both of those tasks. I can't read PDF's on a 7" screen. I'd also rather watch content and play games on a 10" screen.

You can't put a 7" tablet in your pocket, so what makes it so much more portable?
 
Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2012-04-16, 18:18

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post
An affordable smaller tablet satisfies both lovers of a lower price and smaller form factors. Neither is mutually inclusive or exclusive.
But if most of the reason people want a smaller iPad is because they think it will be cheaper, the potential for Apple to further drop the price on the iPad 2 is highly relevant. Like pscates said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates
If Apple really wanted to make a statement, then yeah...get that iPad 2 down to the price levels talked about for this mythical 7" iPad.

Nobody would ever want anything else!

[...] That would surely kill all talk of a 7". The people who want a 7" for size/price reasons would deal with it and adjust accordingly, I'm sure.
And here, I agree with pscates completely. I think to most users, a cut-down iPad would seem suboptimal. They wouldn't view the smaller size as a selling point — it'd feel like a step down.

I know this because, outside of the Kindle Fire and Nooks, 7-8" tablets just aren't selling. The BlackBerry PlayBook didn't sell. The Galaxy Tab 7 didn't sell. The Galaxy Tab 7 Plus didn't sell. The Galaxy Tab 7.7 didn't sell. The HTC Flyer didn't sell. The Huawei Springboard didn't sell. The Droid Xyboard 8.2 didn't sell. The only 7" tablets that are selling are the super cheap sub-$200 ones, because they're super cheap. Amazon and B&N didn't want to put small screens on their tablets — they did because they're competing on price.

Apple doesn't compete on price. They'd rather keep the iPad user experience intact and hit that $299 price point a little bit later, because the iPad user experience is what they're selling. It's their #1 selling point. It's their biggest advantage.

The more I think about it, the more I think a shrunken-down iPad is just something Apple won't do. It seems so un-Apple. Displaying apps at a reduced size? It just seems so half-assed. I don't doubt that they have a 7.85" iPad in the labs, ready in case the Kindle Fire starts becoming a more serious theat — they'd be irresponsible if they didn't. But I think they can ride this one out. The iPad hasn't even had a holiday season at $399 yet, after all. And next spring, they can drop the price of the iPad 2 to $299, and all the talk of a smaller iPad will probably disappear, because a reduced price is the main reason people seem to want one, anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison
With regard to keyboard input it's important to realize that the virtual KB is just one of many input modalities. With the new iPad voice
dictation has arrived. Not yet full Siri but for those that struggle to type yet can articulate well in a supported language they have another
method for inputing text.
But there goes the "it'd be better for using on a subway" argument. Portability isn't just size; if inputting text in a reasonably fast manner required speaking out loud, a smaller iPad could very well be less portable for many users.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison
The UI argument needs further examination. While the UI elements would indeed shrink it's important to realize the abstraction between a
drawn element and its corresponding "tap target"

Apple suggests the minimum tap target size is 44x44 points but that doesn't mean that the drawn element needs to follow. Put more succinctly Robo's point about a developer wanting to keep a 1inch drawn target on all iPads may not be ideal as the developer could simply modify the tap target irrespective of the drawn element. The only limitation would be a crowded interface that does not allow expansion of the tap target.
That seems less than ideal to me, and you're still admitting developers (that cared about UX) would have to modify their apps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison
I contend that an overabundance or over-reliance on tappable targets is poor UI design in many cases.
I mean, I agree, but talking about how things should be doesn't really change anything. "It's okay that shrinking the iPad would make smaller buttons harder to use because, well, developers shouldn't use so many buttons anyway!" doesn't get us anywhere in the real world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison
iOS is simply not OS X reduced down and simplified it's an new way of interacting with content and if the task manager Clear can deliver touch control with nary a button on the UI then developers need to look at how they can reduce the clutter of buttons and enable more intuitive swipes and other gestural controls.

This makes for a more transportable UI across various sizes of mobile devices.
I like Clear, but it works because it's for power users. It's for people who seek it out and buy it and buy it because it's gesture-driven. If every app was like Clear, your average user wouldn't know how the hell to do anything once they turned on their iPad for the first time.

I subscribe to Gruber's analogy that gestures are like keyboard shortcuts. In that sense, Clear is like, idunno, Quicksilver? Super efficient for the people who want to get used to it, but not at all appropriate as the default UI for everything.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
 
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