in design

A smaller iPad?

 

 Apple’s strategy tends to be to introduce a product that’s really, really good, and then as time goes on, expand the product to fit price-points below and/or above it.

[…]

Expanding the iPod line-up was an easy choice, because (1) different iPod models for different purposes didn’t cannibalize the other models, and (2) they were easily replaceable by a different iPod model.

[…]

This distinction is important because if Apple is attempting to make tablets the next central computing platform, creating a small iPad could undermine it. Many people do buy the current iPad for the same reasons they might buy these smaller tablets, but once they’re using it, they could begin using it for more uses than they envisioned—like editing video or their photos.

– The iPad Mini and  the Future of the iPad

There are two points this review overlooks.

1. Apple did variegate the iPod because the primary goal, was just to sell an iPod. Not to generate a culture. It makes sense that Apple should wait for a culture, of using the iPad as a solo device of its own, to be established before it releases a smaller iPad. But on the contrary, Apple has only expanded their Macbook lines, to have the greatest possible [sensible] continuum of screen sizes, to serve every possible consumer. Sure they don’t have 14.3” screens between 13” and 15” screens, but thank god (and Apple) for that. That’s why they manage the work that they do. There was initially a 15” and a 17” laptop. And then there was a 13” Macbook. And then there was a 13” Macbook Pro. And then there was the 11” Air, which initially a scoffed upon device (as is the case all the time) is now an entirely usable device.

That a culture doesn’t need to be established for laptops is a valid argument. Just like it didn’t need to be, for the iPod. People wanted it, and everybody was making one (mp3 player, or laptop). But tablets have already reached that stage. Everybody’s making one. People don’t unanimously agree that they need one, but I don’t think that’s very far.

2. And here’s the second point. I think the high resolution display on the iPad is like a nail in the coffin. The iPad now has a resolution that is much greater than that of most desktops (at least greater than any computer I have used yet). Will there really be a challenge in adapting apps for a 10” screen onto an 8” screen? Not more than the challenge of using the same apps for a 27” iMac, on a 11” Air. Sure working on a smaller screen is more hindering and everything. But that’s the obvious trade off for portability. With this resolution, I would imagine (I haven’t actually seen it, so this is all speculative and might be entire bullshit with respect to the reality) that the primary challenge does not remain, the size of the elements for readability. The only challenge is in terms of user interaction, because the Air and the iMac have a much more sharper pointing instrument to interact with the interface – the mouse pointer. Over here, we have a finger. Which puts a restriction on how small each button can be. So I’m not saying every app for the 10” iPad will work smoothly on a smaller one. But I don’t think it’ll be a very significant problem, except for those apps which try to fill up the screen with buttons too much. And I don’t think people want to use those in the first place. I don’t think, that Apple matching a retina display on an 8”  (I find 7” to be a value more pleasingly between the 3.5” iPod touch/iPhone and 10” iPad) iPad, is something very far. Five years, sure sounds like an overstatement to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if a smaller iPad comes out next year. It makes perfect sense to not have come out this year. But I don’t see why we aren’t on the verge of a smaller iPad, very very soon. This is, after all, almost definitely a significant part of the close future of interacting with computers.

//I have not addressed numerous valid (if only subjectively) points expressed as well, which sure would weaken my point. But they don’t do much to undermine my belief, that a smaller iPad is much more imminent than written by Kyle.