Originally Posted by Tailpipe
Whether this particular rumour is true or false, it would make sense for Apple to release such a device. As well as a 7.85" screen I'd love to see an iPad with a 5.5" screen.
Why not? Sure, it would be a defensive move that would protect market share, but since iPod touch has all but replaced the Classic IPod, adding iPad screen sizes would give Apple extra SKUs across different price points.
Perhaps the best reason for this is that gives customers greater choice. A larger iPod touch or smaller iPad that could fit into a jacket pocket would be great.
For a 7.85" device, the major applications would be email, reading books, music, and movies on the move.
Retina screen resolutions are essential for success.
Originally Posted by jragosta
I'm also becoming more comfortable with the idea. Apple doesn't have any real competition at the 10" size, but lots of people are using 7" tablets to enter the market - and they will eventually create some competition for Apple. By releasing a 7" iPad, Apple has a low end product to offer and has a better chance of retaining its dominant market share.
However, I don't think it's going to be as cheap as people are assuming. I just don't see a $249 iPad-mini. Apple's costs don't go down by anywhere near the 50% reduction in area.
I, too, think that a mini iPad is beginning to make sense.
Ideally, it would be retail priced at $249 -- but $299 seems more likely.
Apple doesn't need to match the KFC or B&N -- they just need to offer a quality product and ecosystem that will impel the customer to opt for Apple at a little higher price.
I did some searching and as of 3/22/12, parts costs for the 16 GB WiFi iPad are:
$316 - New iPad
$245 - iPad 2Will Apple Choke on These Expensive iPad Parts?
So, it looks like it will be difficult to get the parts costs down without leaving out some hardware -- cameras, etc.
However, another way may be possible, as demonstrated by the new ATV...
Apple could use POP/SOC parts built for more powerful devices (iPad 2, New iPad, iPhone) that do not meet QA tests for the target device -- but can be under-clocked, have a CPU or GPU disabled...
This doesn't improve the yield of the "powerful chips", but it makes the iPad Mini and ATV chips almost free (and improves the overall yield of the POP/SOC manufacturing process).
Ideally, Apple could manufacture a single, top-end, POP/SOC and satisfy the needs of all its current ARM devices (plus a couple of new ones) by factoring yield rates into the manufacturing process.
100 A5X starts @ 50% yield == 50 new iPads & 50 A5X rejects
50 A5X rejects tested for iPad Mini specs @ 50% yield == 25 iPad Minis & 25 A5X (mini) rejects
25 A5X (mini) rejects tested for ATV specs @ 50% yield == 13 ATVs & 12 A5X (ATV) rejects
12 A5X (ATV) rejects could be used in Airport Extremes, or other products
Now, if you apportion the manufacturing and QA testing costs across the entire family of ARM devices, you are increasing the yield and reducing the costs of the parts for all ARM devices.
This is especially effective when going to a smaller process -- say 45nm to 32nm or 22nm -- which is happening now (and will continue as technology evolves).