Would you want a 5, 7, 8, or 12-inch iPad?

The iPad currently has a 9.7-inch screen because it was made for a very specific user for whom thats screen size was absolutely perfect -- Steve Jobs. The man brought the Apple II, Mac, iPod, iTunes, and iPhone to market, so he may have known a thing or two about how to create the best mainstream devices. Apple tested other sizes, of course, and have said as much, but Steve Jobs didn't believe smaller tablets allowed for the kind of software experience he wanted -- more than just upscaled smartphone apps -- and bigger tablets likely cut down portability and ease of use.

But rumors have persisted of smaller iPads, and many professional users, especially drafters and designers, have yearned for bigger iPads. Samsung, Apple's distinguished manufacturing-partner-come-competitor offers almost every size variant imaginable, from the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note to the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab, almost in quarter-inch increments. Both the Kindle Fire and BlackBerry PlayBook clocked in at the smaller, 7-inch form factor.

We assume the iPad 3 will stick with the 9.7-inch screen size. After all, too many options are the same as no options, and consumer choice often becomes confusion and indecision. But if Apple were to expand the iPad family, if they were to offer a single additional screen size for the iPad, if they answered all questions about software compatibility, even if it meant a third scale for apps (between iPhone and iPad, or larger than iPad), what size would you want?

If you could get a 5, 7, 8, or 12-inch iPad, which would it be and why?

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Would you want a 5, 7, 8, or 12-inch iPad?


Me too. It would be great for taking notes. Also, I use my iPad for digital sheet music, so it would be really nice to have the music appear the same size as the actual printed music. Maybe an 11-inch iPad would be a good compromise.

Is that a joke ? how big is the iPad currently from corner to corner ? about 12"s right ?
As a designer I would love to have a 15" wacom pressure leveled tablet with all the design software from 2d to 3d
If Apple cared about hard core users they would have a pro range and make a 15" wacom tablet .... but instead we have to salivate over the 15" axiotron that never got released
So in conclusion they should make an ipad without a border, gorilla 2 glass :)

If it would be cheaper, heck yeah, bring on the 8-7 inch iPad. Otherwise, go for 12 or 9-7 inches.

I'd use a 12 inch iPad- I'm a musician, and I use mine to read sheet music when I play in the pit for musicals, and with my students for exercises I write on the Mac. The 9.7 inch screen works, but for that purpose the 12 inch screen would be better. In all other respects, though, 9.7 is fine with me.

I do the same. I read all my music in landscape, but would love to be able to see a full page.

How about if Apple creates a keyboard dock ala the ASUS Transformer that can convert a regular-sized iPad into a small MacBook (or iBook?) Air if the user wants/needs better content creation functionality while still retaining the very good content consumption functionality the iPad provides? THAT is the iPad I'd have interest in purchasing.

7 or 8, absolutely, I love the 7" form factor despite Steve Jobs' opinion. I don't think the 5" is different enough from an iPod Touch.

Why the need for compromise? How about an adjustable size iPad? Think outside the box. Sounds crazy? Well the genius that figures that one out can buy Apple. Get to work.

With flexible screens that's no so far-fetched as one might imagine.
Even with the current screens, the device could have an extra inch on each side, hidden under the bezel. The user could pull the bezel and the device would sense it and adjust the resolution automatically. In theory you could build a single device that covered the 10-8 inch range.

I'd love a 12, I test drove an iPad for a week and found myself just pretty much watching video and a little bit of web surfing. When watching Netflix especially I wanted a bigger screen.

Without a doubt bring on the 7 or 8 inchers. I have an iPad and a Playbook. The Pad for all it can do and the Book for it's portability. A 7 or 8 inch iPad would kill.

12 inches or more for drawing and graphics creation with advanced screen and stylus to compete with the Wacom products, i.e., increase the size and bring down the price for such an advanced tool for creating visual art, graphics, and for writing and illustrating etc. etc. (By "bring down the price" I mean that the iPad, by definition, would do so much more than the Wacom stuff.)
Also a bigger screen for easier use of audio recording and editing software, not to mention photo editing/photoshop. (And make sure to include a USB port and memory card slot.)
A guy can dream, can't he?!

Keep the 9.7" screen but reduce the bezel so the overall size of the ipad is smaller and lighter.

7" would be perfect. if people didn't want something smaller, they have the choice of sticking with the iPad 2 but if apple is going to keep creating new iPads, they might as well try something different. My kindle fire is the perfect size because it can fit in my purse and is easy to bring everywhere I go. However, I'd love to trade it in for an iPad so it can sync with my iPhone and macbook and make my college course work available for me wherever I am.

7" is best fit for a man's front pocket or hold in hand for long time and carry with me all the time. My iPad is nice for around the house on the lap or on a table. Best of both worlds, I am lucky to have both

Personally, at the moment I don't care about these different-sized variants. Just the release the iPad 3 already!

amen brother. bring it on i want to finally upgrade our family's iPad 1. bought in first week of release and we never regretted it... PS nothing wrong with size. it has good portability. and as long it will go 'retina' I'm sure it be getting greater.

"...it was made for a very specific user for whom thats screen size was absolutely perfect — Steve Jobs."
I don't buy it. Unless there is a documented proof for that, I believe that iPad screen size was picked out by a large team of testers and engineers and approved by Steve. After all, there are many important factors for deciding the perfect screen size, not just "made for Steve because he liked it".

Yes, the same large team of testers that picked out stitched leather, linen, brushed metal, and ran extensive testing to determine the iPhone absolutely had to have a glass screen. :)

To be real honest they will not make a 7" tab because at the end of the day that will be like waving the white flag. Apple is not into doing that so they may make and 8" tab or maybe bigger but they will not, mark my words, make a 7" iPad this year or ever. We all know this so to hash it out and debate all you want this will not happen. I would LOVE to see it happen but I know that it will not. We have a better chance at seeing RIM make a 10" PlayBook before we see Apple make a 7" iPad.

Apple truly believes that tablets are the future, one day replacing PC's. Do you see them just making one size forever? That's silly.
It's inevitable that we'll see different size ipads. Apple is going to be very careful in doing this though. In addition, Cook mentioned that they don't believe in limiting tablet features like Amazon has though i do think they can choose to brand it a certain way. For example, the ipod touch is branded as a music player first and foremost but it does almost everything you'd expect from that size of an iOS tablet.
When asked about rivals and low-priced alternatives to the iPad, Cook said "price is rarely the most important thing." Customers might feel great paying less for a cheap tablet, but "then they get it home and use it and the joy is gone."
What Jobs said then doesn't really apply now.

I think this idea is retarded. Does one really need an iPod Touch, an iPhone, a 9.7" iPad, and any other size variant Apple can push to the unassuming masses? Never mind having a Mac and a Macbook. When is enough, enough? I have all ways trounced upon the idea that many form factors are needed to satisfy customer demand. That's simply wrong. The original iPod Touch was fine until the dawn of the tablet. I honestly believe, as this is opinion, Apple uses the consumer's gadget-lust to drive everything. It's no longer about need, it's about satisfying desire. It's a drug and they feed off your desire. Thank God I will only own an iPhone.

A Tablet without a Wacom or N-Trig digitizer is NOT a tablet !
I have an iPad1 (Sept 2010) and Tablet-PC (May 2004) with Wacom digitizer.
Love iOS, dislike Win-7 ! Love Wacom digitizer. Dislike writing with finger or stylus on iPad !
Would love to see a 10" Tablet with Wacom digitizer, 1.25 lbs, 10 hr battery, 0.25" bezel.

Why 8"? The 7" model has been proven to be successful. Portable, fits in your pocket, thumb typing. I don't get why you would not produce a 7" iPad? Unless the extra inch is required for battery life or a quad core processor? I think 7.5 would be the better number. IMO I'll get one regardless I'm sure. Ha

Actually, i'd like a 9" screen size, so, just a little bit smaller. This would help with weight, and add additional portability. Of course, I'd also like to own a 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14" iPad just because I like choices on however i'm feeling on a particular day.

I'll take a 12 and a 5!
I'd love to replace my current iPad with a 12-inch one and to replace my iPhone with a 5-inch mini 3G iPad. My eyes are fine, I just like bigger screens.

7 or 8 sounds perfect to me. With the stipulation of a higher resolution screen. One of the major reasons that I've chosen to skip all of the current tablets is that the screen is too low of a resolution - doesn't have to be quite as high of dpi as the 4 or 4S but something close would be greatly welcomed!

A 5" that makes phone calls (that is, a Big iPhone) would be perfect...my parents old eyeballs (and anyone else over 50, probably) would really appreciate a Large Print Edition.

I am also a musician - a professional accompanist, actually - and have used my iPad 2 as my virtual music binder since summer 2011. (ForScore is my app of choice.) I'm glad my eyes can still view most sheet music on this device whose total size (including bezel and actual viewable screen) are smaller than a letter-sized paper sheet.
I would TOTALLY, TOTALLY sell a kidney to have a legitimate 12" or 13" iPad Pro, along with a beefier processor. Consider that most bound volumes of sheet music are larger than letter size, and that most music I scan must first be reduced to around 93% on the photocopier before scanning - which of course means one more level of image degradation.

bigger,better for me,
I use ipad as a cash register, it is hard to read the small letters and numbers.
I would buy even 14" or 15"