7-Inch iPad? Unlikely ...

A cheaper and smaller-storage version of the iPad does seem to mesh with Apple's game plan.

As the iPad-centric event on March 7 nears, DigiTimes claims Apple is looking to make a 7.85-inch iPad to compete with Amazon's Kindle Fire and the increasingly popular line of 7-inch tablets. Another separate report from the site says Apple is looking to introduce a cheaper 8GB version of the iPad 2 next week, which is more likely out of the two stories. Let's see if we can debunk these rumors.

With its typical secrecy, Apple invited the press next week to an event where it is expected to unveil a new iPad - presumably dubbed the iPad 3. The only spec you can probably put a bet in for the iPad 3 is a higher-resolution display, double the linear resolution, at 2048 by 1536 pixel. This is supported by a purported leak of the display for the new tablet, which we have seen on video. The rest is guesswork.

The myth of a smaller iPad

DigiTimes reports that makers in Apple's supply chain have started delivering samples of 7.85-inch iPads for verification, with volume production likely to begin in the third quarter of 2012 at the earliest. This is apparently to counter the increasing popularity of the Amazon Kindle Fire, but there are several arguments against this idea.

Apple doesn't need a Kindle Fire competitor. Apple sold 43.1 million iPads in 2011, according to the company's financial numbers. Amazon holds the number two tablet spot with 3.9 million Fire sales last year, which is not too bad, considering the likes of Samsung are openly admitting they are not faring well in the market.

The only problem with that is that Amazon is actually selling the $200 7-inch Fire at a loss, about $10 per unit, hoping to recover money through content sales on the tablet. Apple on the other had, is making hundreds of dollars from each iPad sold, so it's unlikely Apple will try to sell a smaller iPad in a similar fashion, or at a small profit margin. That's besides Steve Jobs' very public outing of his dislike for 7-inch tablets.

What Apple is likely to do in order to sell a cheaper iPad is perhaps look at its iPhone lineup. Speculation of a small-screen budget iPhone is always a hot topic before each iPhone launch, but instead of making a smaller, cheaper device, Apple always opted to reduce the storage on the previous model and sell it a discount: The iPhone 4 is now $99, replaced by the iPhone 4S at the $199 price point, and the 3GS is free with a two-year contract.

This is where DigiTimes' second report rings true: an 8GB iPad 2 to go along with the iPad 3. This would allow Apple to sell a cheaper tablet alongside the brand new iPad 3. Now, you could argue that 8GB on an iPad is not a lot of space; you could quickly find you are out of space, as many apps and games for the tablet are quite sizeable. If the 8GB iPad 2 becomes reality, it's likely that it won't have a 4G version either, leaving this for its newer sibling.

Follow Daniel Ionescu and Today @ PCWorld on Twitter

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?