A few days ago, CNET wrote a story, a rumor really, about how the iPad Mini will be the device that Apple announces later this year. The revelation came in light of John Gruber proclaiming, with a sort of ambivalence towards the subject matter, that the HP TouchPad (which had just been announced) would have a conflicting launch with the iPad 3, if HP shipped the tablet device in "late summer." When the Internet caught wind of an iPad 3 mention, especially from Daring Fireball author Gruber, the shockwave was felt everywhere. More "rumors" and "confirmations" managed to hit the Inter-webs soon after, with people saying that there is an iPad 3 coming later this year. But, CNET writer David Carnoy believes that it's not the iPad 3, or even an iPad 2.5 as Gruber clarified on his site, but actually a smaller model. The heavily rumored iPad Mini.
When it comes to Apple, there's no telling what the company is doing before they want the world to know. Sure, we know a second-generation iPad is coming, and there have been leaks in the design department that can offer some sneak peeks as to what it may look like, but all of the details still escape us. But, one thing Apple does well, is stick to their yearly refreshes of their creations. The iPod line-up and iPhone see this, and everyone believes that the iPad will see this schedule, too. With that in mind, if Apple does plan on showcasing a new iPad at the end of 2011, just a handful of months after they announce --and launch-- the iPad 2, will the Cupertino-based company really unveil an improved, upgraded tablet? Some say that the yearly refresh is too quick, so would it make sense for Apple to release the third-generation iPad in just six months time?
There's no doubt that Steve Jobs did a very good job of outlining why Apple was creating a larger tablet, and added that a smaller version just wasn't necessary. Things change all the time, and there's no denying that the 7-inch tablet market is seeing support from consumers. Many believe that the Samsung Galaxy Tab's size is perfect for every day usage. On the flip-side, there are still others who believe 9.7-inches is perfect for a tablet. There's even some who believe 9.7-inches is too small, and that the Motorola XOOM's 10.1-inch display is the sweet spot.
So let's run with the idea that Apple is indeed planning on unveiling a new tablet in the fall of 2011. If it is the iPad 3, then Apple's going to upgrade whatever they plan on releasing with the iPad 2. A better display. More memory. And whatever else Apple can think of to throw in there. That means that everyone who bought an iPad 2 will more than likely look at that tablet in their hands, and smash it to the ground in frustration. (Or at least throw it like a large frisbee.) Okay, that may a bit extreme, but I imagine that the frustration would certainly be there. Most people who buy an Apple product know that there's something better coming along in a year's time (after the initial announcement, anyway), but they make the purchase anyway. But, if Apple's already planning on releasing a better version to the iPad 2 by the end of the year, there will be plenty of people in the general public that cry foul.
But, what about an iPad Mini? No, not an iPod Touch or iPhone. Those have a 3.5-inch display. What the general consensus believes the iPad Mini will feature, is a 7-inch display. You know, the one that Steve Jobs basically said is completely worthless. We're playing with a rumor and base speculation, so let's go ahead and just ignore the fact that Apple's CEO said a 7-inch tablet would be pointless, shall we? Here's the question: would you by a 7-inch Apple iPad? With the iPad version of iOS, which isn't drastically different than the iPod Touch/iPhone version, and the processing power of whatever the iPad 2 features, would you pick up Apple's tablet device if it had a smaller display?
I want to watch movies and television shows on the original iPad's 9.7-inch display. I won't lie, losing almost three inches seems like a lot to lose. But, having a 7-inch display means that the device may be lighter, and perhaps for those who want to use the tablet as an eReader and a Web browser, that would mean all the difference in the world. Plus, playing a game on a 7-inch display rather than almost 10-inches probably wouldn't be that big of a deal, right? In all honesty, to me, it will all depend on what Apple unveils as the iPad 2. I imagine that whatever Apple puts into that device, it will also find its way into the iPad Mini. That is, if the iPad Mini even exists. Maybe it will just be a bigger iPhone.
Let me know in the comments whether or not you'd buy a 7-inch iPad. Do you think the smaller screen size would be perfect, or completely pointless?