Previously, when I’ve read rumors regarding a smaller, 7-inch iPad, I’ve dismissed them as being very un-Apple. Let’s face it, we’ve all ready iPhone nano rumors for years and they’ve never amounted to anything physical. I assume the same of any smaller tablet discussions. When the original iPad was launched, Jobs stated that they designers and engineers had played around with loads of different sizes and ratios, before coming up with the “perfect” 9.7″ form factor. The theory was proven correct by failed attempts from Samsung and BlackBerry to make a popular small tablet. Then, the Kindle Fire happened.
Smaller iPad rumors have recently resurfaced. According to the most recent gossip from “near the supply line”, Apple is testing a 7.85″ display panel for a MiniMe tablet. Italian design studio, Ciccarese Design, has put together a very convincing concept render of what it would look like scaled down. And for the first time, I think I like the idea. It would make it more portable, and arguably better for reading ebooks one-handed. My main issue is with pricing.
Can Apple make one device slightly smaller than another, and make it a big enough difference in price to warrant the production? The only reason Amazon can sell the Kindle Fire for $200 is because – quite frankly – it’s made from cheap materials and components. (And the company still loses money on each one sold.) If Apple sticks to Aluminum, glass and custom made ARM chips, there’s no way they can be sold anywhere near the two hundred buck mark. It’s more likely to be around $350-$400, which – to me – isn’t cheap enough.
What do you think? Is there a space in the market for a smaller iSlate?