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Apple Eats 7" of "Magical" Foot With Revolutionary iPad Mini

Magical iPad Mini

In case you have been hiding under a rock for the last few hours you probably have heard that Apple has announced a (insert superfluous adjectives) iPad Mini with a 7.9” screen. While Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, stated that this new device is “not just a smaller iPad” I find it hard to think of a single feature that does not fit that bill. This makes me wonder how this all fits in with Steve Jobs and his famous statements on why Apple will never make 7” tablets while it derided the 7” Android and upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook tablets. Thanks to The Register we have a transcript from the financial results conference call from October 2010. Here is what Jobs had to say:

Almost all [Android-based tablets] use 7-inch screens as opposed to iPads near 10-inch screen. Let’s start there.

One naturally thinks that a 7-inch screen would offer 70 per cent of the benefits of the 10-inch screen. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. The screen measurements are diagonal, so that a 7-inch screen is only 45 per cent as large as iPad’s 10-inch screen. You heard me right. Just 45 per cent as large.

If you take an iPad and hold it upright in portrait view and draw an imaginary horizontal line halfway down the screen, the screens on a 7-inch tablet are a bit smaller than the bottom half of the iPad’s display. The size isn’t sufficient to create great tablet apps, in our opinion.

While one could increase the resolution of the display to make up for some of the difference, it is meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size.

Apple has done extensive user testing on touch interfaces over many years, and we really understand this stuff. There are clear limits of how close you can physically place elements on a touchscreen before users cannot reliably tap, flick, or pinch them. This one of the key reasons, we think, the 10-inch screen size is the minimum size required to create great tablet apps.

Or better yet:

The reason that 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. We think it’s too small to express the software that people want to put on these things. And we think – as a software driven company – we think about the software strategies first.

While Apple is famous for their reality distortion field I am loving how iOS lovers have backpedalled since the iPad Mini rumors started creeping up. Apple is essentially admitting to the world that they were wrong and there is actually a market for 7” devices. Hell Apple is going to make a killing selling millions of their iPad Mini’s to their loyal fan base. This is not the first time Apple has backpedalled on their “extensive user testing” and I doubt it will be the last. Remember how the 3.5” iPhone screen was the largest size Apple would produce for cell phones because any larger and it would require 2 hands? Guess they were working on the iPhone 5’s 4” screen when they said that.

While many of you may be wondering what the iPad Mini means for RIM I don’t think it is a huge market changer. Apple essentially FOLLOWED the market to 7” devices instead of leading with their iPad Mini. What the iPad Mini has really done is raise the bar for build quality and for a $329 price point. Hopefully RIM comes packing with some of their own legendary engineering in BlackBerry 10.

PS: Thanks Ronen for inspiring this post along with “you know who” and his sanctimonious defense of iPad’s being better because Steve Jobs said Apple would never make a 7” tablet…

PPS: Before some of you start to defend how the iPad Mini’s 7.9″ is different than 7″ lets just try not to split hairs 🙂

15 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Been thinking this ever since iPad Mini rumors started appearing.

  2. Their terrain altering maps software is revolutionary too…

  3. They will sell more of these in one week than RIM has sold Playbooks in total. You may not like that, but it is what it is.

  4. So what IS the point? That apple was wrong and now they will laugh all the way to the bank? What is the last mistake RIM made that resulted in increased sales?

    • The point is that Steve Jobs said 7″ tablets were DOA (Dead on arrival) and yet they will be selling a 7″ Apple Mini on November 2, hence the “Apple Eats 7” of “Magical” Foot With Revolutionary iPad Mini” headline. And the Revolutionary part is sacarsim meaning they will be following everyone else’s lead.

    • Man you really have a comprehension issue…

    • If you think Apple is laughing all the way to the bank you are seriously dellusional. They will make money on mini sales but they will make a hell of a lot less on the than they would make on iPad sales.

      What you see with all these product launches from Apple are shrinking margins. Apple would like to put out a single product for a long period of time. They are finding they can’t do this.

      Microsoft meanwhile makes near infinite profit on each unit of windows 8 it sells, because once you develop the software the marginal cost is zero.

      RIM meanwhile could do well if they can licence BB10.

      So again, Jeff Apple fanboys might be smiling over their new mini Apple sure as hell isn’t, whether they admit it or not.

  5. Yes, Apple will be following other’s lead. Steve Jobs stands corrected. So? Now what? What does it matter? Isn’t the point of this post a petty one?

    • If you don’t understand how many time a playbook owner was told by an Apple guy that they would never by a 7 inch tablet because it was just too small, and then you add to how many of those same Apple guys are going to go out and by the mini because Apple has now told them it’s OK. You would get the point of this blog post.

  6. What this does is validate RIM’s decision to make a 7″ tablet. It also ensures the price point of non-Apple 7-inch tablets will need to remain at about $200 which means there is no money in selling tablet hardware. Apple is in the unique position of having won total mind-share in the tablet space, Apple is not just a device, it is a destination and the PlayBook can’t take you there.

    If BB-10 can become a new and desirable destination, RIM might be able to make another run at the tablet space, but it will likely be a niche market.

  7. I have an iPad, I can’t see ever buying the mini. If I bought another 7″ it would be an N7 for sure. That said, my playbook rocks and I hope with BB10 come the missing apps also!

  8. I have an iPad. I have 3 Playbooks, I have 3 itouch’s. I just don’t get the need for the iPad mini. Doesn’t mean it won’t do well and not bashing it, but yes, after hearing Apple say there isn’t a need for 7″ (and 7.9″ isn’t much more), I think it shows that they’ve realized there IS a market for smaller tabs.

    There is always going to be a market for every product on every platform. This adds competition which lowers prices. And what works for me, may not work for Papped, which may not work with Kiddo, and down the line.

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