7.85-inch iPad rumored for next year

Everyone and their dog knows that an iPad 3, possibly with a high-DPI display, is due out early next year; but did you know that the rumor mill in Taiwan is predicting a second, smaller device? According to DigiTimes, Apple will introduce an iPad with a 7.85" display some time in the fourth quarter of next year. Production is reportedly scheduled to start in the second quarter.

DigiTimes got word about the device from its sources in the supply chain, and it claims Apple "has been persuaded" to develop the 7.85" iPad in response to Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire has a 7" display and is currently priced at $199, considerably cheaper than the $499 iPad 2. IHS expects the Kindle Fire’s low price to catapult it right behind the iPad 2 as the second-most-popular tablet this quarter.

The report sounds reasonably plausible, but a 7.85" iPad sounds decidedly un-Apple to me. Such a product would mean fragmenting the iOS ecosystem, forcing app developers to adapt their software for three different display resolutions—3.5" for the iPhone and iPod touch, 7.85" for the baby iPad, and 9.7" for the regular iPad. On top of that, Apple isn’t exactly known for low-margin, ultra-cheap devices, so competing with the Kindle Fire at $199 seems somehow unlikely, considering Amazon is said to be selling that device at a loss right now.

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    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    One of the original draws of a mac product was the guaranteed uniformity of consumer experience. Now getting a mac pro is like getting any dell equivalent where you pick from the cornucopia of options. Getting an I-pod, I-phone and soon I-pad will be very similar.

    • Imperor
    • 9 years ago

    So Samsung really beat them to it this time! Thus the persecution of the Galaxy Tab 7.7… We can’t have Apple [i<]following[/i<] the competition now, can we? 😉

    • Jahooba
    • 9 years ago

    “Such a product would mean fragmenting the iOS ecosystem, forcing app developers to adapt their software for three different display resolutions.”

    I guess this kind of logic isn’t necessarily wrong, just very short-sighted. This presumes that Apple can never make another product every again because of something as trite as a resolution change.

    No one is “forcing” developers to make anything they don’t want to (see below).

    And the iOS ecosystem has been “fragmented” for a while now as there are device-exclusive apps all over the App Store.

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    Will the same retailers that refer to 37″ HDTVs as being ’40” class’ also be advertising this iPad’s screen size to the hundredth of an inch?

    • sschaem
    • 9 years ago

    “Such a product would mean fragmenting the iOS ecosystem” what ????
    Why cant the 7.85″ version use the same 1024×768 display of the 9.7-inch ipad2 .
    Do developer have to re-code their apps because the screen is 20% smaller but use the exact same res? no.

    The 7.85″ version would be sold for ~$399, not $200.
    And no, Amazon does get ~50$ profit from each fire (~150 BOM), so Apple would make ~$220 profit per device.
    In percentage that pretty much match ipad2 margin. The issue for Apple is not margin,
    but how many people would get the ipad mini VS an ipad3…
    It make no sense for apple to release a product that cannibalism its higher cash profit product.
    If Apple is going to sell 50million tablets, they want all those sales to be for the $$$ ipad3, not a cost reduced mini.

    BTW, Chinese company sell 7″ android tablet for 99$, and the shipping companies makes money, the re-seller get its cut, all suppliers get paid and the builder get its profit (side note, the state get more profit out of those device in sale tax then ANYONE in that chain… how does that make any sense..). a 7″ tablet for $350 is like selling silicon as gold to people.

    So if apple doesn’t release a 7″ tablet it wont be because of profit margin or coding nightmare,
    but because Apple prefer to sell ipad3 with a higher $ profit per unit.

      • crazybus
      • 9 years ago

      If they’re the same aspect ratio, a 7.85″ screen is about 35% smaller in area than a 9.7″ display, not 20%.

      • obarthelemy
      • 9 years ago

      I’m with you:
      – 7″ with the current 10″er’s resolution, so no fragmentation
      – introduce it alongside or after to quad-rez 10″, so less cannibalization
      – open up a new market. For having used both, 10″ and 7″ are quite different, 7″ is a joy to travel with, 10″ better for home use.

      Apple seems to want to fight this one out, instead of letting themselves be slowly overtaken for price and design choice reasons as they usually do (and are doing in the phone market). I’m looking forward to see what MS does in tablets… Will Office be enough to make them succeed ?

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 9 years ago

    Ok I guess I’ll post my wild baseless theory too.

    The .85 inch extra will be for a new UI element, namely a virtual button area, which will benefit games and certain types of media. It will have a slightly different feel than the rest of the screen and allow players to have an almost controller like feel when in landscape orientation.

    /crazytalk

    • Hattig
    • 9 years ago

    Another small iPad rumour. But interesting because it is 7.85″ rather than 7″, so a little larger.

    It’ll either be 1024×768 and run standard iPad apps unchanged. The on-screen keyboard could be easier to use, but maybe some text or UI elements will be harder to hit. There will be little impetus for app writers to customise their apps for the smaller screen. Good for people with slender fingers / smaller hands.

    Or it’s 1600×1200 (retina version of 800×600), and will require a whole load of work for apps to be made compatible – but when they are, at least the UIs will be targeted nicely at the new 7.85″ screen size.

      • rechicero
      • 9 years ago

      And probably 4:3 instead of 16:9 or 16:10. So, more real state per inch than the competence.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 9 years ago

    What’s to fragment? If it’s a 1024×768 display, it’s just another 1024×768 display just like the iPad and iPad 2.

      • crazybus
      • 9 years ago

      At that size and resolution everything would be ~66% of the size of a regular iPad. That could easily make text too small to read or UI elements to small to touch.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 9 years ago

        It might take a little work on the part of certain apps, but I’m pretty sure the iPad iOS can handle it. I’ve spent a lot of time with it using the office iPad for web testing and other general tomfoolery. We’re talking about widgets roughly 20% smaller in either direction. I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal.

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]On top of that, Apple isn't exactly known for low-margin, ultra-cheap devices, so competing with the Kindle Fire at $199 seems somehow unlikely, considering Amazon is said to be selling that device at a loss right now.[/quote<] There have been other tear-downs, indicating Kindle BoM cost is closer to $150-$170. I'm sure Apple can undercut that or, alternatively, get more for the same cost.

      • ludi
      • 9 years ago

      That may be the BOM cost but then figure labor, shipping, warehousing, marketing, etc…and Amazon very probably is taking a loss on the final product.

      Whether or not Apple will want to, remains to be seen. They’ve generally done well by selling at higher margins.

        • NeelyCam
        • 9 years ago

        Oh, I know. But the $191 figure didn’t include those either – I was just pointing out that Amazon doesn’t necessarily lose as much money as that number implies because other tear-downs point to a lower figure.

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    [u<]2013 Apple Rumors[/u<] - New Retina display means you wear contact lenses with 536870912 x 50331648 resolution. Yeah the rumor's probably wrong cause the resolution is whack. - iLap is a realistic leg prosthetic where Apple tells you then moves you where to walk for lunch. "It's for the best!" new slogan is win/win with media frenzy. - iSnuggle is an emotion implant that crowds your brain with applications that cushion your every other emotion. No buying out of the implant zone. 70% of your brain matter you keep. - Swipe feature on new interactive device just by praising ghost of Steve Jobs with prayer-like motion.

      • JohnC
      • 9 years ago

      A page from Apple’s history records:

      “-in 2013, a relatively unknown MIT graduate David Sarif has began his long and productive career at Apple’s then-experimental Human Augmentation Research department”

        • indeego
        • 9 years ago

        JohnC, any relation to WaltC?

          • pedro
          • 9 years ago

          A very good question.

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    they’ll likely just maintain the same aspect ratio and pixel density of the 10inch. no issues there.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 9 years ago

      Same density – no way. You’re talking about an 800×600 display and that’d be pretty awful. The iPod Touch is higher-res than that.

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        yeah, i didn’t mean pixel density.

        • Corrado
        • 9 years ago

        My guess is that its 1024×768 @ 165ppi. Its not the magic ‘300ppi’ but its better than the 120ppi on the iPad now.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 9 years ago

          Ya I’m good with that.

    • nagashi
    • 9 years ago

    “Such a product would mean fragmenting the iOS ecosystem”

    …As opposed to how offering a 11″ and a 13″ Air fragments the OSX ecosystem? Hardly.

    “forcing app developers to adapt their software for three different display resolution”
    Without detailed information as to what screens would be offered on a rumored device, you can’t say that.

    I don’t think it’s un-apple-like at all to see them offer 3 tiers of ipads:

    7.85″ iPad mini (1024×768) $300 (more for additional storage or 4g)
    10″ iPad (1024×768) $400 (more for additional storage or 4g)
    10″ iPad Pro (2048×1536) $550 (more for additional storage or 4g)

    Is that *really* unapple-like? I don’t feel particularly positively or negatively towards this at all, but it certainly seems very much like Apple’s laptop/desktop strategy, and without adding much work to developers. At most they’d have to make sure their apps work on a slightly smaller screen in terms of actual physical size, assuming the screen is the same resolution.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 9 years ago

      Except $300 (or even $400) isn’t enough to maintain Apple’s profit margins.

      There’s a reason Apple doesn’t make an $800 laptop.

        • NeelyCam
        • 9 years ago

        Apple can make a kindle-sized iPad for some $150. It’ll be enough of a margin, especially if selling it at $299 will kill Kindle Fire, B&N Nook and whatever mini tablet Samsung was hoping to sell for $399, protecting Apple tablet market share.

        I personally think this is a brilliant move. To me, iPhone/iPod Touch is a bit too small and iPad was a bit too large. Kindle hits right in the middle, and I was considering buying except that the slow browser and clunky scrolling annoyed me. 10″ iPad I won’t touch because it’s too big and expensive for what it is… For me to accept the size, I need a keyboard so I can actually use it for something.

        A 7-8″ iPad is perfect – would complement 11.6″ MacBooks/Ultrabooks perfectly. In fact, if it came with phone functionality (even if it’s through a bluetooth headset), I might just dump my smartphone.

        • HisDivineOrder
        • 9 years ago

        The iOS ecosystem is not the same as PC’s and laptops. Otherwise, you could have said the same for why Apple would never dip down into the “free with service” phones market or the $200 iPod Touch market. Instead, they did it. Why? Because they want to get more people started using the iOS ecosystem, locking them into its riches before they have the chance to jump to the Amazon or Google alternatives. Not to mention, the one that MS wants to make, too.

        Selling a laptop below cost is just getting people onto OS X, which is not really locking anyone into anything these days. But with iOS devices, there’s just a lot more restrictions there about what you’re buying when you buy in there. Buy a few apps for your “free” 3GS phone or your $200 iPod Touch, suddenly you’ll have Universal apps that just beg you to go buy an iPad.

        I think Apple knows that Amazon’s going to erode their business strategy in the long run if they don’t put an alternative iPad down at the bottom to counter Amazon. I think that’s why they’re going to wind up going down cheaper. They may not want to make ALL their money off the iPad/iPod/iPhone business through apps, but they certainly know the value of getting people hooked on the ecosystem. That translates not only to more content sales (apps, movies, TV, books, magazines, and music), a lot of which are locked into iTunes, but also translates into more people upgrading to more devices inside iOS. It could translate to progression from iOS to OS X in the future as apps get more cross-compatible between the two OS’s (or as they converge). Certainly, that’s what MS is most afraid of.

        Apple knew that the best way to get 20-something year olds in 5 years to buy an iPhone is to sell them an iPod Touch now. The best way to sell them an iPad in the future is to give them a cheaper iPad to buy now, from which they “should” want to upgrade. You give them enough to satisfy them, but not enough to fully sate them. Change the argument from convincing them to, “Buy an expensive iPad” to “Upgrade TO an expensive iPad.” If a given customer already feels like they’ve invested part of the way, it’s not as expensive in their mind to go up to the higher, premium models.

        So what Apple does or does not do with its Macbook line is a poor indicator of what they will or won’t do with their iOS device lines. They’re just vastly different. That said, history of iOS devices (iPod Touch’s, iPhones) tells me they’re going to hit the low end to start up the, “Gateway drug effect” soon because they’ve delayed doing it for long enough for a true threat to arise and they can’t let tens of thousands of customers get started on the Amazon Kindle Fire drug, invest in it, and then be reluctant to lose all those investments.

        Especially not when there’s an easy way for them to get those customers. There’ll be a cheaper iPad. I’ve always thought an 8″ iPad would show up eventually as it would be, “Bigger than 7,” which is the number Jobs cited as like sandpaper, but I also think Apple will drag out an old favorite and keep the previous iPad line around as a lower cost option with a lower resolution display a la 3GS vs 4 vs 4S.

        • ImSpartacus
        • 9 years ago

        Lol, PC nerds don’t like to hear the truth…

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