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The 7-inch iPad Rumor is Back Thanks to Kindle Fire

By , Douglas Perry - Source: DigiTimes | B 25 comments

Apple is reportedly feeling the heat emanating from Amazon's 7-inch Kindle Fire, and plans to launch its own 7-inch solution before the end of 2012.

As stated earlier today, Amazon may have reinvented the tablet industry with the launch of its 7-inch Android-based Kindle Fire. For $200, it packs quite a punch in content delivery and ease of use -- a punch that may already be felt by the fruity tablet giant itself, Apple.

Steve Jobs once said that Apple had no plans to sell an iPad at that size because iOS developers wouldn't want to create apps for a screen that small. He even indicated that the current crop of apps wouldn't run well on a 7-inch screen. Since then, the 7-inch and 9-inch iPad rumors remained dormant... that is, until the Kindle Fire crashed the scene with its incredible price point.

Amazon claims it's selling over a million Kindle units a week, and the Kindle Fire is at the forefront of those sales. That said, the iPad rumor beast has awakened, bringing new reports that Apple will likely launch a 7.85-inch iPad sometime before 4Q12 in addition to the iPad 3 which is slated for a 1Q12 release.

Honestly, the release schedule of the latter third-generation iPad offering is somewhat of a given based on the company's previous schedule. But a 7.85-inch tablet arriving during the iPod touch timeframe leads us to wonder if this will be more of an iPod product instead. Nevertheless, unnamed industry sources in the supply chain claim that Apple is feeling the heat from Amazon's Kindle Fire as well as super-sized smartphones from handset makers, thus pushing the company to resurrect its plans for a smaller tablet.

In the meantime, Apple is reportedly pressing for an iPad 3 1Q12 release in order to cash in on market demand as well as market expectations. As it stands now, global shipments of tablets are expected to reach 60 million units by the end of the month, 70-percent of which are iPad tablets.

Industry insiders are also reporting that Apple is actually purchasing 7.85-inch displays from LG, and will also purchase panels from AU Optronics (AUO). Makers in the supply chain expect to begin production of the 7.85-inch Apple tablet at the end of 2Q12... probably once the bulk of the initial iPad 3 shipments are out the door and into the hands of retailers.

The question is, however, how Apple will trim cost from its iPad and whether the decline in component cost has been enough to enable Apple to cut the price of the regular iPad minus a few features to $200.

Cutting features is problematic as Apple could be endangering its platform experience and if it touches core features, the value proposition of the App Store and the device itself is affected. Rumors coming out of Taiwan suggest that Apple will be launching an 8-inch device with a 7.85-inch screen before Q4 of next year. The Digitimes report strongly contradicts Steve Jobs conclusion that a tablet needs to have a 10-inch screen to be useful, but the market may have changed and if Apple can keep at least a screen resolution of the current iPad (to support current apps) in a smaller device, it could be worth a thought.

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  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , December 17, 2011 2:25 AM
    Kindle is a threat to IPAD. This is good, but I think Jobs might have been correct. People are not buying Kindle for the size its because the experience you get. It allows people to do what most others do with tablet which is read the internet online books and play video games. Its hard to justify $500 for IPAD when that is all you want to do. Unless IPAD comes down in price to match Kindle it is DOA. Nobody will go for it.
  • 3 Hide
    the_krasno , December 17, 2011 2:26 AM
    Shouldn't it be called "iPod Macro"?
  • 1 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , December 17, 2011 2:27 AM
    So... after trying out Android and iOS, I'm still in deep confusion as to why is there a need for more powerful tablets. They're still ridiculously limited by their OSs - I'm STILL waiting for my x86 tablet.
  • Display all 25 comments.
  • 4 Hide
    southernshark , December 17, 2011 2:33 AM
    Ok there are things I like about a 7" screen. I like putting the Kindle Fire in my coat pocket and toting it around with me to bars/ coffee shops and checking my email on the fly. Yeah I'm that guy that is watching football and checking my fantasy team at the same time. You can't put an Ipad in your pocket. And phones just aren't as cool at the 7" tablet. But anyway... I do feel that the Kindle Fire is a bit bunk. It just doesn't do 1/2 what you can do with an Ipad. Its only redeeming feature is its ability to be put in the coat pocket. Now this is actually a pretty cool feature, and I am glad that I have a Fire. But at the same time I also now plan on buying an Ipad3 so that I can do a lot of other things on it, like Skype, read larger things, type better.... etc....
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 17, 2011 2:45 AM
    I am thinking about buying the Kindle precisely because of the size. It's the entire reason I never bought an iPad. I want something the size of a paperback book. That's the perfect size for me. The iPad is currently too big. But I will consider buying one if they bring out a smaller version (or a bigger Touch).

    If Apple can come out with a $300 iPad about the size of the Kindle, I'm in. The extra functionality you get with iPad is worth $100 more. But not $200 more.
  • 0 Hide
    windows8daily , December 17, 2011 2:56 AM
    amk-aka-PhantomSo... after trying out Android and iOS, I'm still in deep confusion as to why is there a need for more powerful tablets. They're still ridiculously limited by their OSs - I'm STILL waiting for my x86 tablet.


    Here you go: http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Apple-iPad-Amazon-Kindle-Fire-Android,news-13555.html
  • 0 Hide
    windows8daily , December 17, 2011 2:57 AM
    windows8dailyHere you go: http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Apple- [...] 13555.html


    oh wrong link
  • 0 Hide
    windows8daily , December 17, 2011 2:58 AM
    amk-aka-PhantomSo... after trying out Android and iOS, I'm still in deep confusion as to why is there a need for more powerful tablets. They're still ridiculously limited by their OSs - I'm STILL waiting for my x86 tablet.


    Here You Go: http://www.samsung.com/us/computer/tablet-pcs/XE700T1A-A03US
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , December 17, 2011 3:18 AM
    its interesting how the market has slamed the 7 in blackberry playbook but its okay for kindle and perhaps apple. the playbook 16 g unit is selling for 200 and can do most things a full size computer can do. the video is spectaclar and it has a kobo app for any book. Get one before they increase the price.
  • 0 Hide
    Red_one , December 17, 2011 3:39 AM
    The 8 inch tablet is a good size if in the 4:3 screen ratio. The Fire seems ok, but locked down to much.--much like Apple. I give Apple credit though as far as build quality it is superb, just don't want to deal with the closed system.

    I own the Archos 80 G9 and for basic stuff it can't be beat for the price. Sure it's build quality is questionable, but for $269 and full fledged honeycomb experience you can't go wrong. The video and music streaming from your network computer works good. Impressed with the screen compared to $199 tabs.
  • 0 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , December 17, 2011 3:56 AM
    I might take a 7" tablet to do the following:
    -Use as a Navigation System/Stereo in my car (Mount needed)
    -Operate my Garage
    -Manage my household, the lights, electricity, etc.
    -Interact with my DVR at home
    -Skype
    -As another commenter said, sit in a bar/coffee shop and browse the web, check E-mails
    -Mount to my PC or a projection system to I can use it to play games (but I guess they can't run Crysis yet, can they?). Built-in Kinect would be nice.
    -Note taking (having a stylus for this would be nice) and using MS Office
    -A built-in personal assistant (like Siri) would also be a necessity.
  • 0 Hide
    DSpider , December 17, 2011 5:18 AM
    Let's hope it won't have a home button this time.

    No oleophobic coating on the screen (a la 3GS and up) and aluminium back (a la iPad) is the reason why I haven't bought a new iPod touch in, oh, 3 years. They better not skimp on those. Oh, and include a charger ffs! AFAIK only the iPod doesn't come with one. iPhones and iPads do. If you're selling it as an iPad it better include one.
  • 0 Hide
    belardo , December 17, 2011 8:26 AM
    A 7" iPad should do well... as some people may prefer that more portable size. Actually - Apple should do VERY good to come out with such a product. Such a user may keep the 10" iPad home for use all over - but take the 7" with them. With iCloud - all their data is accessible.

    But I don't SEE it meeting Fire's $200 price point. Maybe $300. The 7" iPad Must come with the cameras and other features that Kindles don't have. Also, if the 7" iPad has the same 1024x768 resolution - that'll bring it to near-retina display.

    We'll see.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , December 17, 2011 11:34 AM
    Rumors and speculation are fun but more often than not have no factual foundation. Would an oversized IPOD touch (that is what is really being discussed) might sell. Would apple be willing to cut its margins on its other devices or in fact compete against itself is hard to predict.

    It is still annoying that many believe the Fire is positioned to compete with the Ipad. Amazon is selling a device to provide content (sell) from books to general merchandise.

    One thing is clear, consumers are in love with gadgets and some love to write 21st Century gossip.
  • 0 Hide
    thisisaname , December 17, 2011 12:26 PM
    Interesting but I remember Jobs saying 7inchs was to small for a tablet. Ripping up his work already!!
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , December 17, 2011 1:08 PM
    To small for a tablet but not to big for a iPod. Semantics, I know... But doesn't go against the "blessed word" of the "prophet" (church choir)
    iMen!
  • 0 Hide
    mcd023 , December 17, 2011 1:40 PM
    windows8dailyHere You Go: http://www.samsung.com/us/computer [...] 0T1A-A03US


    That actually looks really sweet! I'd go and put windows 8 on it when it comes out (or now, since I have the dev preview).
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 17, 2011 7:11 PM
    I'm not sure if phasing out ipod would be a good move for Apple. Like one of the above posters said, it's too big to use as pmp, but small as tablet. The question is, if those who are currently using Ipod willing to jump on Iphone wagon after phasing out. Otherwise, Apple would lose money.
  • 0 Hide
    fb39ca4 , December 17, 2011 8:32 PM
    still waiting for windows 8 tablets. they will have the awesome tablet-y interface current ones do, but have the full functionality of windows
  • 0 Hide
    shloader , December 18, 2011 1:23 AM
    Calling it something other than the iPad would allow them to alter features to however they deem fit. Really we're talking about a scaled iPod. Hell, just use another vowel. 7.85 inches... hmmm... Call it the iPud and watch that baby take the market by storm.
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