Tuesday, October 19, 2010

No 7-inch iPad for the Immediate Future (if ever)

Apple's Steve Jobs made it clear that he thinks a 7-inch tablet, like Samsung's Galaxy Tab or the rumored 7-inch iPad, is a bad thing.

Jobs had plenty to say on the subject during Apple's recent earnings call, "It's meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size," he said.

Users' fingers are too big to be able to accurately hit icons on a screen that size, he claimed, but clearly we tap icons on much smaller screens.

Steve continued, "Apple has done extensive user testing and we really understand this stuff," he said. "There are clear limits on how close you can place things on a touchscreen, which is why we think 10 inch is the minimum screen size to create great tablet apps."

It's not just our pesky fingers that are the problem, He also trashed the screen size and resolution of 7-inchers. "One naturally thinks that a 7-inch screen would offer 70 percent of the benefits of a 10-inch screen...this is far from the truth. Seven-inch screens are 45 percent as large as an iPad," Jobs said. "This size isn't sufficient for making great tablet apps."

As I type this story on iPad, the virtual keyboard takes up half the screen while the upper screen displays my text. On a 7-inch tablet, my screen real estate would be much smaller. Both the space for viewing and typing text and for displaying the virtual keyboard would be reduced. This means that my keyboard keys would be much smaller and therefore requiring my strikes to be more accurate. On a 7-inch tablet, typing would be more of a chore and hence avoided.

"No tablet can compete with a smartphone. And given that all tablet users will already have a smartphone in their pocket, giving up screen area to fit in a pocket is a bad trade-off," he said.

I would agree with this statement; however, I see a market for the 7-inch tablets too. The question is will one size dominate the mobility arena over the other. Clearly users have used screen of varying sizes, but which one would be the one that they prefer and more importantly boast to their family, friends, colleagues and coworkers?

Jobs is obviously doing some marketing countermeasures ahead of the holidays when several new tablet models may become available that compete with the iPad.
But he was also sending this message to those reporting rumors that a 7-inch iPad is on its way: it's not happening (at least not until the market forces Apple's hand).


Carl W. Brooks
iAmThereforeiPad, Founder and Chief Editor

iPad News, Reviews and How-To-Dos.
We help make your iPad experience Magical through information!

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