Originally Posted by wizard69
I'm not saying a sub seven inch device is a replacement for iPad but rather it is an alternative. A lot of people don't seem to grasp that on these forums, but for many uses the iPad is simply too big. On the flip side id love to see a bigger iPad along the size of a clipboard, or about 13-14" in size.
It is pretty simple really; look at the Nook and the amazon pads, they are almost an ideal size for reading documents and being handy enough to have with you all the time. You can't say that with iPad.
Apple may have a point in that a smaller iPad might not be as useful as the current one but who cares? That is like saying the Touch isn't useful because of it's size. Interestingly enough I'm seeing more and more people carrying around Touches as PDAs than ever before. These users don't use them for music or media and instead use them for mail, calendar, and the ocassional web access. Think about the people that carried Daytimers and the like around constantly.
Somebody wants a 6"
Somebody wants an 11"
Somebody wants a 5.5"
Somebody wants a 12"
Seriously? You think we don't understand that somebody somewhere wants a different size something?
Here is why I think Apple has chosen not to make such a product...
An iPad interface, scaled down to a smaller screen size, becomes too small for convenient interaction. While not everyone cares, a significant percentage of users do. They want the interface to be the right size for finger based interaction.
Custom interfaces could be used for each screen size but that results in a fractured platform. This is why Apple likely chose such a ludicrously high resolution for the iPhone4. A slightly lower resolution would have been cheaper and quite sufficient. However, it would have resulted in a splintered platform on which apps perform strangely on various devices. An even multiple of screen resolution kept the platform unified. Pixel doubling looks a bit rough but is much better than any other form of scaling.
So right now devs need to target two screen sizes with one of those sizes possibly being pixel-doubled/halved. That's pretty easy.
As the market for these devices expands, the balancing point will change. But until then, a more unified platform seems desirable. With that in mind, Apple chose a tablet screen size that the majority of people would find optimal. Not everyone, but the majority.
Keep in mind that eReader interaction is different. eReaders are not being constantly interacted with. On screen interface elements are rarely present. The text rendering engine is what user are looking at 99% of the time. Text rendering scales nicely and doesn't require finger based manipulation. In other words, multiple screen sizes and resolutions don't pose the same problem for eReader platforms as they do for general purpose tablet platforms.