Rumor Has It: Apple Considering Developing an 8-Inch iPad
The last time I dismissed The Wall Street Journal, I was wrong about the iPhone 4 being offered through Verizon. This time around, I’m still hesitant to believe the rumors, but according to “sources familiar with the situation,” Apple is currently looking at building an 8-inch iPad. But do we need one? And rather than question the rumor’s validity, should we be asking, What can an 8-inch iPad bring that a 9.7-inch iPad doesn’t?
First and foremost, a tip of the hat goes to WSJ. According to the report, Apple has been shopping around 8-inch iPad designs to its suppliers and may be looking for a company to build the 8-inch screen. Steve Jobs infamously said that a 7-inch tablet wouldn’t be usable, but with all the love for 7-inch Android tablets such as the Kindle Fire, and Steve Jobs’ passing, Apple’s tune may have changed. Besides, it’s 8 inches, not 7 inches. So what kind of difference would two fewer inches really make?
Pro: We Need a Smaller iPad
The iPad in its current size is great for reading digital magazines, playing games, sharing videos and getting work done, but what if you’re the kind who needs even more mobility? The iPad, as it is, doesn’t exactly fit in your back pocket. A smaller iPad probably wouldn’t either, but it may be more comfortable for people who have found the original iPad to be somewhat unwieldy to use, especially with one hand. What’s more, an 8-inch screen with a (presumably) 1024×768 resolution wouldn’t require any extra work for developers, so device fragmentation wouldn’t exist. The iOS interface is already usable on a 3.5-inch screen, so 8 inches (or even 7 inches) wouldn’t be unusable as Jobs once insisted. Technically, there’s no reason Apple couldn’t build such a device, and there’s clearly market demand for the form factor. It’s simply up to Apple to execute the plan.
Con: We’re Just Fine with 9.7 Inches, Thank You
We don’t need an 8-inch iPad because it doesn’t need to be made. Apple is selling plenty of existing iPads and more importantly, the iPad 3 is on its way. Let’s see what a high-resolution display on an iPad does before we start shrinking it. Apple is also famous for prototyping devices that never see the light of day, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple is building a few of these to just get a feel. As much as I would like to get my hands on an 8-inch iPad, I’m not sure it would actually offer a uniquely different experience. Apple may agree with me on that, which is why even with a potential demand, such a device will never exist.
Discussion on the pros and cons of a smaller iPad could wax poetic into the wee hours of the morning. There never may be a definitive answer. But more importantly, do you want an 8-inch iPad? Is there a Goldilocks-zone for tablets, or is it all about personal preference? It it a little of both? Chime in and let us know. Apple could be listening.