Steve Jobs was quoted as saying that the 7-inch iPad was too small. While the technologies that would allow such a device have changed in the last couple of years, the reasons Apple would release it haven’t.
The reason that most people bring up regarding the release of a 7-inch iPad is the Kindle Fire. Analysts and media types insist that Apple needs to bring a smaller tablet to market to ward off the threat from Amazon.
There are a couple of things to consider with this argument. First, people that use that as the basis for the release of a 7-inch iPad are full of shit. Second, using that argument shows they don’t understand Apple and how the company works.
Apple will not respond to a competitor by releasing a product that they don’t feel is ready to be sold or will not make a significant impact in the industry. The Kindle Fire, while a decent seller for Amazon, is not a competitor to the iPad.
People do not go out and look at an iPad and then decide to get a Kindle Fire, knowing they can get the same experience. The Fire and the iPad serve different markets.
I believe that Apple’s had a 7-inch iPad for a while now, so they could have released it at any time, but they didn’t because it wasn’t the product they envisioned.
In the years since the original iPad was released, chips have become smaller, wireless technologies are better, retina displays have been introduced, and Apple has a better idea of how people use the device. This is crucial information to have when making product decisions.
The 10-inch iPad was the perfect size with the technologies and market data Apple had available at the time. The fact is, it’s still the perfect size.
A 7-inch iPad is only a sign that Apple is filling out its product strategy, not that its strategy has changed. The company does have a history of doing this very thing with its products.
Let’s take the original iPod. Looking at it now, it was big. However, at the time, with the technology available to them, Apple released what they felt was the best product they could make.
Then Apple came out with the iPod mini, which later became the iPod nano, capturing another segment of the market. That release was followed up by the iPod shuffle, again capturing another segment of the market.
It was changes in technologies that allowed these products to be released, but I believe Apple had planned the releases all along.
When you look at a 7-inch iPad, or any other Apple product, don’t look at how it affects its competitors, but rather how it fits into Apple’s product strategy. Doing that will make things a lot clearer.