RIM: Problems with 7-inch tablets only exist in Apple's 'distortion field'

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Responding to Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs' claims that a touchscreen tablet with a 7-inch screen is too small to use, a co-CEO of Research in Motion said the comments do not apply to users "who live outside of Apple's distortion field."



The comments made Tuesday by RIM's Jim Balsillie are, of course, meant to defend his company's 7-inch PlayBook tablet set to launch in early 2011. Balsillie said he thinks customers are "getting tired of being told what to think by Apple."



"For those of us who live outside of Apple's distortion field, we know that 7-inch tablets will actually be a big portion of the market and we know that Adobe Flash support actually matters to customers who want a real web experience," Balsillie said in his response. "We also know that while Apple's attempt to control the ecosystem and maintain a closed platform may be good for Apple, developers want more options and customers want to fully access the overwhelming majority of web sites that use Flash."



On Monday, Jobs indirectly took aim at the PlayBook and other forthcoming 7-inch tablet devices when he said that the form factor is too small for users.



"(A 7-inch screen size is) meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size," Jobs said. He added that his company has done extensive research on touchscreen interfaces and what works best for users, which is how it arrived at a 9.7-inch display for the iPad.



RIM's co-CEO on Tuesday also took the opportunity to respond to comments Jobs made Tuesday about the iPhone outselling all BlackBerry phones during the September quarter. Apple sold a record 14.1 million iPhones, exceeding Wall Street expectations.



"RIM has achieved record shipments for five consecutive quarters and recently shared guidance of 13.8 (million to) 14.4 million BlackBerry smartphones for the current quarter," Balsillie said. "Apple's preference to compare its September-ending quarter with RIM's August-ending quarter doesn't tell the whole story because it doesn't take into account that industry demand in September is typically stronger than summer months, nor does it explain why Apple only shipped 8.4 million devices in its prior quarter and whether Apple's Q4 results were padded by unfulfilled Q3 customer demand and channel orders."



"As usual, whether the subject is antennas, Flash or shipments, there is more to the story and sooner or later, even people inside the distortion field will begin to resent being told half a story."



Jobs prompted the response by appearing on his company's quarterly earnings conference call on Monday. The Apple co-founder took the opportunity to speak his mind on RIM and Google's Android mobile operating system.



"We've now passed RIM," Jobs said. "I don't see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future. It will be a challenge for them to create a mobile software platform and convince developers to support a third platform."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 344
    Same ol', Same ol' ...



    Flash this, blah blah blah, flash that, blah blah blah. Flash is a bloated mess and an absolute battery WHORE! It's the cause of most crashes of all browsers and is CLOSED proprietary software, which is ironically the same thing they seem to be railing against. Hypocrites! IF they got off their collective butts and really invested time and money into HTML5, we wouldn't be having this conversation.



    Oh and I say when iPhone opens up to Verizon, and the other two baby cellphone companies, you are going to see a HUGE growth spurt. I personally know many friends who are waiting and once CDMA phones drop, it's on like donkey kong ... sorry I had to throw that in there.
  • Reply 2 of 344
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,113member
    What do you expect RIM to say?



    "My God! Steve Jobs is RIGHT! We are failures!!"
  • Reply 3 of 344
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,106member
    Well maybe he is right and maybe he is not, the market will decide once these devices come to the market.



    Personally I own an iPhone and an iPad, I don't think I would have bought an iPad if it was 7" as I would not have seen a big enough improvement over my iPhone to justify it.
  • Reply 4 of 344
    Blackberry ceased to be interesting to me in the Summer of 2007. All my Blackberry lovin' friends from back then were jealous of Safari, and since then of the apps. They all carry iPhones now. I don't see them going backwards.
  • Reply 5 of 344
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    I kind of wondered where SJ was coming from on that one. If 7" is too small for a touch interface isn't that sort of a problem for an iPhone and iPod Touch as well. I think a 7" iPad would be pretty cool. I hope they'll make one someday.
  • Reply 6 of 344
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by saarek View Post


    Well maybe he is right and maybe he is not, the market will decide once these devices come to the market.



    Personally I own an iPhone and an iPad, I don't think I would have bought an iPad if it was 7" as I would not have seen a big enough improvement over my iPhone to justify it.



    I think Apple would have been crucified by the media if the iPad had come out at 7"
  • Reply 7 of 344
    That's wonderful Jim.. How about you show us an "actual" working demo of Playbook as you've yet to do that instead of showing some fancy videos and spitting out specs? How about RIM spend time coming up with a better product than the Torch instead of trash talking a company that's rolling with the Benjamins right now.



    What's up with all these CEOs trash talking? Jobs, Ellison, Ballmer, etc. I guess they all have new job titles as well.. CET (CHIEF EXECUTIVE TRASH TALKER).



    This is a fun and amusing time in the tech world.. I can just sit down, have some popcorn, watch and listen to these top tech dogs trash each other. Trash talking has gone beyond the football field and basketball court.. Fun times indeed.
  • Reply 8 of 344
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    ooooh...



    Steve's arrow hits another soft spot.

    Great stuff.
  • Reply 9 of 344
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    I kind of wondered where SJ was coming from on that one. If 7" is too small for a touch interface isn't that sort of a problem for an iPhone and iPod Touch as well. I think a 7" iPad would be pretty cool. I hope they'll make one someday.



    I've heard other remarks like this, indicating some interest in a smaller iPad someday. There may be a market, as you say, but I am glad Apple chose the 9.7" as a first device. As long as Apple is selling every iPad it can make, I wouldn't look for another form factor anytime soon. They have no motive, since they already own the market.



    As for the iPhone/Touch, those are pocketable, and therefore a different category of device. For instance, I carry my iPhone everywhere, but the iPad is sometimes too bulky for convenience.
  • Reply 10 of 344
    Agree - the market will decide if a 7" tablet fills the bill or not. I can also recall SJ lambasting video on a mp3 player screen shortly before the first video iPod was introduced.
  • Reply 11 of 344
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    I kind of wondered where SJ was coming from on that one. If 7" is too small for a touch interface isn't that sort of a problem for an iPhone and iPod Touch as well. I think a 7" iPad would be pretty cool. I hope they'll make one someday.



    Although the iPhone and the iPad share the same OS, the user interface elements are quite different. I think Steve's point was that an iPad like interface would not work for a 7" screen (not sure I agree, but I am pretty confident thats what he meant). An iPhone like UI would work on the 7" screen.

    But that brings us to his second argument (which most outlets have ignored) that the slightly greater mobility 7" gives you, is not worth the loss of usability. Essentially, the 7" only adds the ability to stow away in handbags, to what the iPad can do (or maybe large jacket pockets).

    OTOH, the slightly greater usability the 7" screen gives you over the iPhone, is not worth the extensive loss of portability (the iPhone or iPod Touch can literally go everywhere). So his point was basically that 7" was a compromise not giving you enough usability as the iPad, nor enough portability as the iPhone.

    I disagree with these comments of his (but its not like I have used a 7" tablet, so take my opinion for what its worth) but I do agree with his other comment. The ONLY reason all these companies are promising 7" tablets is because they cannot compete with Apple on price.



    I think Apple's reputation for charing an Apple Tax is blinding people to the amazing cost efficiencies Apple is achieving. They have cornered the markets on most components, and got the best prices (locked in years ago). They have brought a lot of component design in house, saving extensively in costs (best example is the A4). Their software is fantastically tuned to the hardware, meaning that the same amount of hardware goes far further running iOS than Android and the likes. Their supply chain is Walmart like efficient.



    Not only are the able to control costs like none other, they are able to control selling prices like no one else in the industry. AT&T would love to give an iPhone away for each iPhone you buy, like Verizon does with Droids, but Apple prevents them from doing this because they know people are willing to pay the money they ask for the iPhone.



    This is the real "Apple Tax". People are willing to pay the actual price for Apple products, rather than waiting for them to drop to below cost level bargain bin rates.
  • Reply 12 of 344
    I thought Jobs' most poignant remark was that RIM and HP are behind in the OS implementation and will have a difficult time catching up. I wish more CEO's would talk as frankly as Jobs. Go on the record and not be so mealy mouthed!



    And secondly, his comment that TweetDeck had to test their Android app on 100 different phones before release. That sounds a lot like a Windows problem.



    Thirdly, I agree, integration trumps fragmentation. Many times on this board I have said that although Google software is free, it is still too fragmented when compared to Apple.



    Best
  • Reply 13 of 344
    noirdesirnoirdesir Posts: 1,027member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    I kind of wondered where SJ was coming from on that one. If 7" is too small for a touch interface isn't that sort of a problem for an iPhone and iPod Touch as well. I think a 7" iPad would be pretty cool. I hope they'll make one someday.



    The point Jobs made was that for typical tablet content 7" is too small. Of course you can scale up everything that works on a smartphone to 7" and it will still work (*) but all that content that only really works on the iPad but not so well on the iPhone does not work that well on 7". The question is naturally what percentage of iPad usage would not have been done (or much less satisfactorily) on an iPhone or a 7" device. A lot of tasks work well enough on all three sizes (3/3.5", 7", 10"), ie, web browsing. But there is always the uncanny valley, if take something with me that does not fit into my pocket and I have a 7" and a 10" device in front of me, which will I take with me?



    (*) I can hold my iPhone in one hand and type on it. Heck I recently wrote the protocol of a meeting during the meeting on my iPhone. Could I do the same with a 7" device? I doubt it. That means there are tasks that work well on an iPhone but would not work as well on a 7" device.
  • Reply 14 of 344
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GQB View Post


    ooooh...



    Steve's arrow hits another soft spot.

    Great stuff.



    Yeah. I'm LOVIN' it.
  • Reply 15 of 344
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tbsteph View Post


    Agree - the market will decide if a 7" tablet fills the bill or not. I can also recall SJ lambasting video on a mp3 player screen shortly before the first video iPod was introduced.



    Hmmmm..... Was there a competing product there that made Apple change its mind? If so, what?
  • Reply 16 of 344
    Anyways.. Apple has been known to do things they say the wouldn't do. So I wouldn't be surprised if they release a 7" iPad..
  • Reply 17 of 344
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Responding to Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs' claims that a touchscreen tablet with a 7-inch screen is too small to use, a co-CEO of Research in Motion said the comments do not apply to users "who live outside of Apple's distortion field."...



    Flash is a lost cause, but I find myself agreeing about the 7" tablet. I would love to ditch the too small iPhone and the too big iPad and just use one mid-sized device. It would suit my needs better than either of the two current alternatives and I know i'm not alone. I've heard the same thing from far too many people for us all to be wrong.



    I also find that Steve's remark about the sandpaper is just rude and juvenile. It's also insulting in that it makes no sense to say a 7" iPad is too small for fingers when the iPhone is even smaller. The only serious testing that's been done (admittedly before the iPad arrived) says that thumb-typing in portrait mode on the iPhone is one of the fastest methods of input available. I know from personal experience that I can type much faster on an iPhone than I can on an iPad, simply because the iPad with it's gigantic side bezels is just too large to effectively thumb type on at all.



    For those of us that want a small, efficient portable computer but don't necessarily need a phone, or a TV watching machine, a 7" tablet is the sweet spot. RIM's tablet will no doubt be a gigantic piece of junk and the Galaxy Tab is looking to be a loser as well, so Steve is right when he says these devices will likely fail in the market, but being very, very disingenuous when he implies this will be due to some quintessential problem with screen real estate.



    I have a lot of iPhone apps with more buttons in the menu bar and much smaller targets for my fingers than Pages or Numbers on the iPad and they work very well indeed. IMO Mr. Jobs is out and out lying about some of this stuff and it's really quite apparent this time that he is. Perhaps the reality distortion field is finally breaking down. I know it has for me.
  • Reply 18 of 344
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... there is more to the story and sooner or later, even people inside the distortion field will begin to resent being told half a story...



    While one may chose to argue about the other statements from RiM's co-CEO, this one is hard to refute.
  • Reply 19 of 344
    noirdesirnoirdesir Posts: 1,027member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tbsteph View Post


    I can also recall SJ lambasting video on a mp3 player screen shortly before the first video iPod was introduced.



    True but I think video did add little to the value of the iPod. It was not that it was completely unusable it was a marginal feature not worth getting your panties in a bunch over. Similarly as 7" tablets won't have zero market share, just that it might be much smaller than the 10" tablet market.
  • Reply 20 of 344
    Oh and for the record, size DOES matter. 7" is acceptable for some, but most would agree that 10" is much more usable.
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