7-inch iPad on track for October 2012 release, $200 to $250 price
Apple will be going forward with the 7-inch iPad, currently targeting an October 2012 release alongside the new iPhone, and -- here's the killer -- at a $200 to $250 price point. According to our sources, the reason for such aggressive pricing is to do to the tablet market what Apple did to the MP3 market in 2004 with the expansion of the iPod product line -- leave absolutely no space for competitors.
We haven't gotten a firm read on the exact screen dimensions, so we're using 7-inches generically here. Our sources have indicated, however, that the 7-inch iPad will be identical to the current 9.7-inch iPad, just scaled down. While that might raise hopes for a 2048x1536 resolution Retina display, just like the new iPad, it's more likely Apple would stick with the same 1024x736 display currently found on the iPad 2. If that's the case, Retina display would make an appearance in a future version of the product.
One way Apple will be keeping costs lower is by providing less storage capacity. $200 to $250 will get you 8GB. By way of comparison, the current entry-level iPod touch also starts at $200 for 8GB. (And no, Apple won't be replacing the iPod touch with the 7-inch iPad, both devices will remain in the product lineup -- though it'll be interesting to see what happens with iPod touch pricing and storage capacity.)
While Apple's late co-founder, Steve Jobs, was famously dismissive of 7-inch tablets, calling them terrible and dead-on-arrival, he also said no one wanted to watch video on an iPod and that Apple wasn't interested in making a phone. One of Jobs' chief criticism of the 7-inch form factor was its impact on software -- that competitors stretched out smartphone apps instead of making iPad-class apps. Obviously, Apple's 7-inch iPad would run the same apps as the current 9.7 inch app, though scaled down. While that will affect design elements like touch targets, and may cause some developers to approach iPad apps in different ways, it's better than introducing a 3rd interface size to the mix (in addition to iPhone/iPod touch and 9.7-inch iPad).
Apple previously addressed the lower price point by keeping the 2011 iPad 2 around at $399 following the launch of the new iPad.
Rumors of a 7-inch iPad mini have been around since just after the launch of the original iPad in 2010, and picked up speed when competitors like Samsung, RIM, and Amazon began offering 7-inch tablets. Some, like the Kindle Fire, are already at the $200 price point, using cheap to compete with good. While Amazon won't talk sales numbers, and none of these devices can really be called successful at this point, to a certain segment of the market, cheap is what matters. Apple hasn't chosen to address that segment in desktop or laptop computers, or in phones, but they have in MP3 players and it sounds like they will again in tablets. And they'll do it in the same way -- by being cheap and good. For large scale markets like education, a 7-inch, $200 to $250 iPad would be compelling.
Steve Jobs' tag line for the original iPad was "...our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price".
Sound like Apple is getting ready to be even more unbelievable.
Update: This article has been updated to reflect more recent information, namely that Apple will likely start with a standard display and move to Retina display in the future version of the product.
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.
Either way, a price point that low would make this an iPad-killer. Nobody would buy the 10" anymore because 7" (or 7.85") is a WAY better form factor. They'd cannibalize sales, something to be careful of. The iPad makes you buy something else. The iPad-mini makes you decide NOT to buy that iPad and buy something else at a lower price point. Not good business. Convergence is bad when trying to move product.
Same reason I never bought a 7-inch netbook :)
WTF? What is "stressful" about what you do? You write for a web site. You write about rumors. I'm sorry but, where's the "stress"?
This should be a labor of love for you. Sure, there are deadlines and confirming sources and what not, but you should be ENJOYING doing this, not stressing over it, because if you let it be a stressful endeavor, one day you will find yourself having to abandon it due to health concerns. You are providing valuable information to readers who appreciate the work you do. Don't let it give you a heart attack. That's what the day job rat race is for and this shouldn't be that, for you.
I'm not saying the 7" ipad won't happen, but it will never happen at that price point in my opinion.
I am surprise that this is still a rumor over in US; no secret can be kept when you make things in China.
I completely understand this concept. In fact, I've been expecting Apple do do this since the original iPad was announced. Different sized iPads at different price points. (But no iPad shuffle, please.)
But, Rene, if there isn't a 7 to 8 inch iPad in October, be ready for a heavy (virtual) smack down. I won't hold anything back. I know that iMore needs to at least report on actual rumor sites' posts, but I'm hoping iMore doesn't descend too far into rumor-mongering.
My guess (personal opinion) is that Apple doesn't intend to take next-generation Android or Amazon 7-inch tablet competition lightly, and will scorch the earth with this iPad before anyone else gets any traction.
I'd love to see it. It's a buy for the kiddo. I wonder if it'd come in 4G flavors?
Then again, with no memory to speak of, you won't be able to hold much in the way of maps. So in the end, this product will be even more of a nearly useless gimmick than the larger iPad. And people will lap it up, and "the press" will fawn over it without a bit of real critical analysis.
I am just the average user and have been holding off buying a Kindle Fire in the hopes that Apple will bring out an affordable Ipad mini! I have heard the rumors for several months and have been waiting!. the Ipad is too big, and the Ipod touch is too small. I want to be able to toss it in my bag and go! So, I am definitely sure that there will be a market. I have the original Nook and have been holding out for an Ipad of equal size! I hope Rene, you are right and am hopefully waiting!
Oops, that is the logic and smarts of those clowns at RIM.
The word is tens and tens of Playbooks have been sold.......yes, the iPad killer.
Now the playbook has everything native its even better.
Word is even though the media is completely biased and hated on the PlayBook like crazy RIM was still able to sell over a million of them.
The Playbook doesn't have to be an iPad killer, many people will still like it even if they aren't part of the millions of iPad owners...
There are vastly less ferarris then there are Hondas and fords....ferrari is still better car, just not for everyone, especially the common people.
At 200-250 they would be making no profit, just like everyone else is making no profit at that price point.
For arguments sake please endulge me in the following scenario, the numbers I make up are just for illustration and not based on an reality: In a world where no 7 inch tablets exist, Apple will sell 1 billion 10 inch ipads In a world where 7 inch tablets exist, Apple will sell 800 million 10 inch tablets thus, because of Android, Touchpads and Playbooks, Apple lost 200 million 10 inch iPad sales because those people wanted a 7 inch tablet instead of a 10 inch, and went with one of the offerings.
There are also many consumers who want a 7 inch tablet, but, only want Apple offerings, thus, they buy the 10 inch model, lets say there are another 200 million of these people.
If Apple makes a 7 inch tablet that makes no profit, sure, they will retain those 200 million people who bought the Android/Touchpad/Playbook, but, they will also lose another 200 million people who want ONLY an Apple 7 inch
Net loss of 200 million sales that make a profit
So to summarize, if Apple makes no profit on a 7 inch tablet, there is no point of them releasing it. It will only reduce their profits.
Either that or they decided to take the losses for the purpose of driving out the competition. Of course you have to be careful selling products at a loss in the US, you can run into anti-trust issues.
GUARANTEED - they have the numbers worked out. It will have removable memory and/or iCloud required. I suspect there will be some level of cloud connection required.
$199 iPad Mini with data package will fly off the shelves.
Moreover, a 7" iPad is not significantly cheaper to build than a 10" one, and Apple don't do cheap, it's just not part of their strategy.
I believe Rene and iMore's sources, there is actually thought and reason and just a huge headline with wild speculation. Nice job guys.
I hope it comes with GPS.
Apple will release a 7" device.
It will be a 7" iPod Touch. (This will not replace the current touch, just be an addition to the iPod line-up)
The 7" iPod touch will run iPhone and iPod Touch apps, but NOT iPad apps. (Much like the iPhone and iPod Touch don't run iPad apps now).
The 7" device, much like the current iPod Touch, will have a marketing focus on gaming and music.
Just my $0.02US
iPhone 4´ - iPod Touch 7´- iPad 10´
I WANT ONE REALLY BADLY.
I still have the original iPad and the only problem I ever have with it is that it is big and heavy when it's in my purse with all my other stuff. A small one would be far more comfortable to read with on the go and I'd be tempted to wait in line to get one right away. The smaller price tag doesn't hurt either!
Please please please let it be real this time.
We don't see any technical issues with the smaller iPad. It could continue to use the original iPad's 1024x768 pixel geometry, and presumably support all existing non-Retina apps with no changes. All at a lower price. And there may or may not be minor changes to iOS to allow for increasing the actual tap target sizes without increasing the size of the associated graphics. (Some tap targets are already larger than the actual visible buttons.)
But a larger iPad might be problematic. Apple probably wouldn't increase the pixel count for a 13-inch-ish iPad, so Apple might not be able to claim "Retina" resolution. And it might be more tiring to move up to 30% more across the larger screen over extended use periods. Not to mention the possible added weight, less-portable size, potential cannibalization of MacBook Air, and higher retail pricing.
I'd like to see an 11.6" iPad.
With the coming versatile Windows 8 tablets that will be dockable, run Metro apps, and run Windows Desktop, Apple needs an answer to the slate that can be used on a desktop. By adding 0.75" in width (the right bezel) and just over 2" in length, a 13" iPad could replace the MacBook Air. If it can be docked or sent to a large monitor, then the problem is solved.
If the iPhone will really go to being more of a 16:10 geometry, then the iOS world of apps is going to have a fragmentation issue on their hands. Likely Apple would need the iPad to follow suit and go to a 16:10 shape.
Regardless, the future of consumer computers is tablets, not clamshells, and it would behoove Apple to pare down to just 1 clamshell line, the MacBook Pro.
You were right with the iPhone 4S and the iPad 3 - but then so was most everyone else. They were pretty obvious product progressions that most veteran users and observers nailed.
$399 64GB iPod touch or 16GB iPad 2. $499 and up for the new iPad.
Now that Jobs is gone, Tim Cook is certainly going to do what he thinks will grow the company and a smaller iPad is certainly one of many things that will grow market share.
I wish I could believe you and scorching the earth and doing what they did with mp3/Itunes at first glance makes sense indeed. Alas, the potential 7 inch Ipad buyers most probably already bought music from Itunes so Apple wouldn't make any additional profit here. The complementary yearly content revenue would therefore : have to come from Apps -> we all know this is peanuts (2-3 billion paid to developers in 5 years time, so max. 1 billion) come from video/movie rentals -> sure, but again nothing to get excited about, cfr. Netflix & co textbooks... 5$ a piece profit, 10 books for each kid every year, 20 million US kids getting one = again max. 1 billion. See my point ? Not enough to compensate for the losses of the cannibalization on the regular Ipad. Of course, they'd hope that most buyers go for 16GB or 32GB which would then sell for 250$ and 300$ respectively, but still...
My guess is that they have yet to decide on the price and are considering 300$ so this latest rumor merely has a typo in it !
They are really going to dominate this market, but at $200-250 it will either be an overall inferior version (memory aside), or we've been grossly overpaying for the 9.7". I'm really curious to see the specs on this thing, if it ever materializes.
100% plausible and seems to fit nicely into a strategic plan.
I seriously doubt it will be a scaled down "new iPad" though. I'll bet if they do go mini, they will instead shrink down the iPad 2. Cheaper screen, cheaper processor and cheaper cameras with 8 GB of storage would make a lot more sense for a $200-$250 machine, and would still blow the competition out of the water. I'm not sure how many people could justify a $300 premium for only 2.7 more inches of screen and 8 more GB of storage, meaning material cannibalization of lower priced new iPad sales.
Speaking of cannibalization, if they do come out with this, kiss the iPod Touch goodbye unless the cut current prices in half. Even then, I can see a lot of consumers deciding to just go ahead and spend an extra hundred or settling for less storage to get a real iPad.
When Steve said a 7" display sucked, he was referring to the current state of the art with low pixel density displays. Now, we have retina densities. I have an iPhone and an iPad with retina densities and in my opinion a 7.8" retina display would be just fine. I think Steve would agree.
A 1024x768 display would not require any modification to apps as it is the original iPad and iPad 2 screen pixel size.
Lastly, $200 is ridiculously cheap. I think Apple could easily price this at $250 or even $299 and kill off the other tablets. It'll probably be storage that decides the final price, or you could even have all three price points!
Yes, saving a whole $15 worth of production cost over using a 32GB module.
The whole point of that rumor was that they would a) leave the resolution of the iPad alone and b) re-use manufacturing facilities to save money, just cutting bigger pieces out of the large sheets produced by the factory.
Your rumor suggests that a) they will break compatibility for this model AGAIN this year (that would be once for the New iPad, once for the rumored taller 4" New iPhone and again for the iPad Mini, all within a year), b) that they would go with an even higher resolution display than the New iPad, meaning it require a separate production line to produce.
Both of those suggest this rumor is unlikely, I'd say. Regardless of the source.
The New iPad display is so hard to push light through (presumably all the in-display electronics blocking light transmission) that the power demands from the display went up by almost 100%, which resulted in a 100% larger battery. Which means extra costs, etc.
Certainly by this fall its possible that Sharp's IGZO technology will have come online and helped to reduce this problem, but its unlikely we'll get back to the transmissivity of the iPad 2 for example. So no matter what, more battery-weight, cost.
I don't buy it. Just for the software fragmentation issues alone.
Another option is 7" at 1920 x 1280. A pixel doubling of the iPod touch, iPhone res, but at the same DPI.
Still, you have to be highly skeptical of this rumor. It nukes their one product per price point strategy. If they do it at 200 to 299, the iPod touch has to move down to 150 and the iPod nano has to go down to 99.
And it'll remain as rumors.
Retina on the 7" for $200 ? Apple would never do this as it'd kill their own iPod touch ;)
And the new iPhone comes out June 29th ;)
When Steve Jobs came back to Apple he slimmed down the line of products, it would be nice for the consumer but most likely not for Apple. Keep on a dreaming.
I can't see Apple either a) selling it between 200-250 and keeping the same specs as the new iPad, or b) selling it for a lot more than that and NOT keeping the same specs (at least display-wise).
Now, unless they really make an amazing unpredictable change to the iPod Touch then I agree with most people here that a 7in iPad would destroy the iPod Touch line. At that point if you want a small music player there is the nano, and it is perfect for that. Also, I agree that if they do make a 7in iPad and keep the same specs as the new iPad then it will destroy the market for the 9.7in version.
Frankly, I would almost solely like to use an iPad for comfortably browsing the web and reading, along with more easily (than using an iTouch) writing emails and taking notes in a class or something. I can do all those thing much more comfortably with a lighter, slightly smaller, iPad. If I watch a movie, I am going to watch it on a TV, not an iPad, whether it was 7in or 9in.
So, here is what I think we will see, SOMETIME between now and Nov. 1st at the latest: an entirely new Line of iPods, it is really about time isn't it? We will see COMPLETELY redesigned iPhone, I don't know about other people but frankly I just think that it needs a totally new look. Even the difference between the 3GS and 4 isn't too huge. Lastly, I really do think (and hope) that we will see a smaller, cheaper IPAD (not big iPod Touch). That's what I think is going to happen. Oh yeah, and I hope we see a very fresh and new looking iOS with iOS 6.
Until it happens though we won't know for sure...but I am super excited for this fall because iPad mini or not I am expecting some great new things!