Originally Posted by technohermit
Don't be so pessimistic.
I know I'm interested in a 7", and two other family members. The 10" feels like you are carrying a laptop screen around. For my daughter (make that three other family members) 7" would be perfect. She is only 4. As of now, she is using apps on my old 3G iPhone, but if a 7" version of the iPad were available, I'd own at least one--probably two.
Surely I'm not the only one interested?
Seems to me that while this first version is 9.7", there is no reason for it to be either 9.7" again or 7" when bringing out iPad Version 2. Why not 8.5" or 9.2" or 7.9" etc.
What I don't see is Apple feeling compelled to carry something that slots in between the Touch/iPhone and the iPad. It worked out that for its first version, Apple chose to go with the 9.7" form factor but this is a first attempt, and a remarkably polished one at that.
I would agree with the suggestion that Apple wanted the screen to be as large as possible to avoid comparisons with the Touch. Surely a 7" iPad would have been labelled little more than a very large Touch. It's is being dismissed by some, even at 9.7" as just that. But now that the iPad has been successfully launched, that's no longer a concern.
So for Apple it's all about determining what is the optimal size. To me that should be something slightly smaller than the current iPad. I would have argued even smaller would be great but then I checked one out on display and found myself thinking that the 9.7" iPad is not nearly as large as I imagined. The trick is to reduce weight and if it's possible to go with a smaller screen without compromising the usability of the device. Perhaps increasing ppi can compensate for a somewhat smaller screen which would offer gains in terms of weight and easing of handling.
In the end, Apple needs to consider the end result, i.e. make design decisions focused on producing the most usable, enjoyable product possible. You don't succeed in business by making a product that consumers will be tricked into thinking they'd like to have. You succeed by giving them a product that they will be glad they purchased because that leads to repeat business, i.e. brand loyalty. If that means sticking with 9.7", so be it. If it means designing a new unit based around a somewhat smaller screen, so be it.
What Apple will not likely do, however, considering it carries a Touch that tops out at $399 and an iPad starting at $499, is try to shoehorn a third product in there. Tweak the Touch and iPad, sure, to accommodate those who might have issues with the current products, but Apple has never been about having every imaginable market segment covered.