back to article Apple 'prepping smaller iPad'

Apple may be prepping a smaller, lower-cost iPad, perhaps as both a defensive parry to Amazon's $199 Kindle Fire and a less-pricey offering to cost-conscious emerging markets. Such are the conclusions to be drawn from a report on Tuesday that both Taiwan's AU Optronics and Korea's LG Display have provided Apple with 7.85-inch …


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  1. JDX Gold badge


    Is there any technical reason a smaller device would cost less to build? Sounds like same components just a smaller screen so a touch less raw material, but miniaturizing tends to cost more not less.

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: Cost

      Yup, quite a few... The only parts which presently impose a size limit (and a premium if you were to go smaller) are the battery capacity and the users fingers. Everything else is miles away from any kind of super small size premium level.

      Screens are actually easier to make smaller, just try and find a large OLED for example! So the screen will be cheaper. A smaller screen will use less power, which is handy as the battery (as always) is really going to be the compromising component.

      I doubt they could keep the current margins, and might have to cut it a bit, but that's always the way with a product range. Top end products have the margin. That's how Nokia managed to fail, they dominate the low end, and lost the top.

      At the end of the day, a mini-pad would be firmly aimed at those that might go Android, to tempt them into the collective and convert them.

    2. Lunatik

      The bulk of the iPad is battery, battery necessary to power such a large screen.

      Reduce the size of the screen and you reduce the power requirements, hence the size of the battery.

      The actual electronics don't need to scale as they take up a low % of internal space that they can easily be fitted into a 7" chassis, just as they can a 9.7" chassis. After all, much the same components are fitted in every smartphone from 3.2" upwards.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's not the cost to build. The markup will be less.

  2. JeevesMkII

    Don't make me go back and remind you what the "rumour mill" had to say about the phantom iPhone 5. Stop writing these stupid articles and report some real news. That's supposed to be your job, you hack.

    1. Annihilator

      A billion thumbs up

      As I recall, one of the rumours for the iPad 2 was "retina" display. Presumably the Apple reporting tactic is "if we're wrong, just add it into iProduct version+1 rumour, repeat as necessary"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        This "mini" Ipad has already been released..

        It's about 1/4 the size of it's older brother, and they call it "iPod touch". Unfortunately, due to the reduced size, they couldn't fit a 3G radio in.

        1. Steve Evans

          re: Corrections..

          I thought the mini ipad had already been release, it was called the iphone and they managed to squeeze wifi and 3G into it (well after a couple of goes anyway!).

    2. Joe K


      I couldn't have said it better myself.

      You idiots at the Reg just look like MUGS reporting these chinese rumours now.

      Wheres the Reg tombstone icon when we need it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They ran out of tombstones as they were so popular...


  3. Pamplemoose

    I can't see it happening, this is just "iPhone Nano" all over again.

    Also since when has Apple ever been arsed about what their competitors are doing when it comes to price?

    1. Andy Fletcher


      ...since Steve passed away. Once the innovator at the helm is gone, shareholders start making the decisions and those will always be short term gain.

  4. cnapan

    Smaller screens probably cheaper to make

    That's one reason at least.

    Apple would be mad to miss out on smaller tablets, just as they're a bit mad not to offer more than one size of phone. I expect this to change too.

    The thing about people is that different people like different compromises in terms of pocketability etc.

    Some may want a device which is bigger than a phone to surf on but small enough to fit in the pocket, for example. The new smaller kindle is that sort of form factor - pocketable - which the ipad certainly isn't.

    I do hope that we're not going to keep hearing references to what Steve Jobs might or might not have done.

    (I wonder if we'll see Flash on an ipad too :-) )

    1. gribbler


      Are you a giant? How big do your pockets need to be to fit a 7" tablet in them?

      1. Greg J Preece

        A decent leather jacket will take a surprisingly large device in its inside pocket.

        That sounds almost like a euphemism....but it's not.

      2. Andus McCoatover

        Fit a tablet into my pocket???

        Firstly, my winter jacket can comfortably take my ASUS 701 in a side-pocket. Charger, modem and mouse in the other. Almost always carry them about with me.

        My Autumn Barbour can take my IBM T30 in the rear 'poachers pocket'. Dropping the rabbits off, and the shotgun cartridges, natch.

        (I bag the ASUS with a plastic shopping bag when it's snowing, of course...)

      3. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

        Standard pockets

        The original 7" Galaxy Tab fits comfortably into an inside jacket pocket or most back pockets in jeans. This is what makes it such a great form factor when travelling.


  5. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Sounds like they're copying Samsung?

    Smaller device ... better resolution ... it's starting to sound a lot like the Samsung devices ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sound more like click-bait

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As that's what they did with the iPhone when they dominated that market, oh wait, that's complete cr*p too!

    1. Steve Evans

      re: Riiiiiiiight

      Well actually they are. They are still making the 3GS, that's your cut down budget iphone.

      So unless they have some new "super" feature for the ipad 3 they have a problem. How can you sell an ipad1/2 as a budget option if there's bugger all difference to the ipad 3? Also the margins might not let them slash the price of the budget option enough to get in and mix it up with the Android tablets. Hence they might need a real budget model.

      1. robin thakur 1

        Its the apps

        The super feature which sells iPads and iPhones has long been the Apps available, not the specs, I would say. The specs stability and backwards compatibility make developing the apps supremely more viable than the constantly changing standards on Android. Having taken a look at the Galaxy Nexus just now as well as the Samsung Tablets, whilst they are ok devices, with spectacular specs, they just don't have the apps I need to use on a day to day basis, not to mention the decent Exchange integration. Developers will focus on the iDevices for some time to come simply because they appear not to make much money off of the Android app markets by comparison.

  7. Arnold Lieberman


    Get an Archos 80 G9, 8" 1024x768 running Android 3.2 for £200. I will be, when the turbo version comes out any day now...

  8. Mark Dowling

    iPad Minus?

    or iPod Touch Plus?

  9. Steve Evans


    I assume the iphone4/4s box does include sandpaper then?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The rumour mill...

    I can understand that when a factory gets a big order of specific parts from a specific company, one can speculate what they intend.

    They may have got the *name* of the iPhone wrong, but to all intents and purposes, the iPhone4s is a significant upgrade over the iPhone4.

    I can't help but think if they *had* named it the iPhone5, the world would've rejoiced and been quite happy with the result. I can also see Jobs having one last laugh before he died - all that speculation, that "it's definitely going to happen" - just to be thwarted by a name. Kinda funny when you think about the possibilities of that. It's the old adage "what's in a name?"

    The iPad smaller form factor - well, if this rumour is coming from the factories that manufacture iPads and some of the parts on order are a smaller screen, it stands to reason - assuming the sources are right - that Apple will indeed release a smaller, cheaper version, regardless of what Jobs said. It also makes financial sense, as the Kindle Fire could snag a significant portion of the tablet market due to price alone, but couple that with Amazons success with the Kindle reader and their massive brand - they are the *only* ones currently who could challenge Apple in this market. Apple are not going to take that lying down.

  11. BlueShiftNZ

    What Steve said

    What Steve actually said was "7 inch tablet? Over my dead body!"

  12. jubtastic1

    Why assume they're for biddy iPads?

    Could be a screen for a new magic trackpad, or some other gizmo. The Aspect ratio might be a clue, but I suspect a small number of production samples just means they're playing with ideas, or more likely, competitors heads.

  13. LarsG


    A baked in the oven dog turd, ' iPad mini ' then put a logo on it people would buy it.

    1. mrfill
      Paris Hilton

      Get in first...

      I'm going to pre-order in the morning. This one's gonna be HOT..

      **Paris because she's as cute as an iPad mini

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      An in the next day Samsung and others would start believing that there is a market for baked dog turds and announce their own, and the rabid anti-apple sheepleˆHˆHˆH cognoscenti would say it is better and buy those.

      Please try and use intelligent arguments, do not repeat the same used when Apple announced the first iPad.

      1. Flashy Red

        True that :)

  14. J 3


    Hm, good idea, why didn't I think of that! That might make the 6th generation iPod nano's interface completely useable, then. For example (but not only), try to tap the lilliputian letters that appear on the right side of the screen when one is listing songs...

  15. Jon B
    Black Helicopters

    So that's why there was no iPod Touch upgrade.. the same time they announced the iphone 4s.

  16. ian 22

    What fresh heresy is this?

    The Book of Jobs clearly says " thou shalt not do 7 inches. Seven inches thou shalt ot do. No seven inches."

    Is the old tyme (damned spelling corrector) to be cast by the wayside?

    So the iPad nano becomes the iPhone maxi?

    1. zb

      Is that why you are not allowed porn on an iPad?

    2. Greg J Preece

      "So the iPad nano becomes the iPhone maxi?"

      You're thinking of the upcoming 13 inch version, the maxiPad.

  17. SirWired 1

    Yeah, and flash-based MP3 players were doomed too...

    I remember Jobs saying that flash-based MP3 players were simply not capable of providing a good user experience. Until, of course, Apple released flash-based MP3 players.

    1. robin thakur 1

      I assume he was referring to the state of play with cost, power drain and development of Flash Ram at the time (iDevices tend to use single chip solutions for storage) and certainly if my first iPod Touch had been twice the price and twice the size, that wouldn't have been a great user experience for me...

  18. Cameron Colley

    I don't understand the comment about fingers and size.

    What about the iPhone?

  19. drekka

    It's not about the size

    I think a lot of people tend to forget what made Apple great and many others fail. Apple is not about following others in other markets. It's about creating new and exiting products that create whole new markets. If Apple chooses to produce a smaller tablet, it won't be to compete with Amazon or anyone else, it will be because they have come up with something that others have missed, something that they think people will want.

    Apple doesn't play catch up, Apple leads. That's how they went from nothing to everything in less than 10 years and that's why I switched to their products.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Downvote him!

      Sorry, that was an article (*) about a possible, unconfirmed rumor about Apple. You're not allowed to say anything good about Apple, this kind of article serves only as clickbait for the members of the Church of I-Hate-Apple.

      (*)Honestly, reporting on rumors just because they are about Apple? It would be quite trivial to generate those automatically just repeating crap from "analysts" and blogs. Way to go, El Reg!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My generation

      Steve (RIP) was the same vintage as me. I cannot remember if he always wore spectacles, but I can guarantee you that sometime in his early to late 40s, he started wearing them for reading. I was fortunate to have passed the half century before i required them.

      Reality check for the über-nerds. No one over 45 can use a 7" "slab" OR an iPhone successfully without spectacles. 10" is the minimum "doable" size, thus the iTpad size and Steve J's comments.

      And while we are at it, the 40+ generation has loads of cash to spend on quality items - we are the target market

      Personally, I doubt whether a 7" iPad will appear. Some other whizz-bang device might happen in that format though.


      1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

        Yet Another Reality Check

        A significant proportion of nerds actually already wear glasses...

        I for one would like a lovely hackable 5-7 inch robust tablet, but my needs may not be representative of yours, and I accept that. I certainly don't see it coming from Apple with their lockdown, and I'm not sure I like Android at all either.

  20. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Repeat aloud:

    Market share in a non-recession is important yes?

    Market share in a non-recession is important yes?

    Market share in a non-recession is important yes?

  21. noodle heimer

    maybe, just maybe

    they've noticed that the 7" tablet from BN - a store with, like Apple, actual physical storefronts - is currently the best-seling Android tablet. This despite or because it's being pitched as an e-reader.

    I think Apple has realized that there is a good-sized chunk of the market that wants a smaller display.

    I'm curious about whether they want to go to 7" or down to 5" -- I had a chance to play with the Samsung 5" android mini tablet / big media player this weekend, and it is a very nice size point.

    Genuinely pocketable. About the size of the Tungsten T3, extended.

  22. JaitcH

    7"/17.78 cm rules

    I picked up a few of the pre-Jobs tablet when visiting China. Sure the finish was a little iffy, but they had neat features that Apple never deployed on their copies.

    The company I work for has now successfully deployed 7 inch units for use by maintenance technicians for a truck company and has landed a contract for a telephone company so their field technicians can interrogate circuit assignments, etc.

    Most work uniforms have pockets large enough to accommodate a 7" pad case, whereas a 10" would never fit a pocket.

    I fitted a 7" unit in the kitchen for my wife to read off recipes from the InterNet. I also have a 7" unit on my motorcycle that enhances the function of, and adds features to, my set of wheels.

    Jobs wasn't bad in product feasibility, but he sure was in the mid-sized tablet - as Apple now acknowledges.

  23. origins


    hmm isnt a smaller ipad an iphone?

  24. Euchrid

    What Jobs said publicly wasn't always what Apple was planning privately

    "Steve Jobs – who would of course have been involved in any decision to go forward on such a device – mercilessly savaged 7-inch tablets during a quarterly financial report conference call that was held a year ago tomorrow.

    A smaller display, Jobs said, "isn't sufficient to create great tablet apps."

    Yup and Jobs also publicly dismissed solid-state MP3 players…. when Apple was secretly working on such products; in the meantime, Jobs attacked the offerings by rival companies. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the same thing is happening here, but Jobs’ public pronouncements were sometimes made for tactical reasons.

    I think JeevesMkII pretty much nailed it – and the track record for the rumour mill is exactly stellar as has shown.

  25. Lloyd

    Running Scared?

    Sounds like the Amazon Fire might well have put the wind up them a little bit.

  26. uhuznaa

    Easy enough

    Apple could easily take the iPod touch and scale it up from 3.5" to 7". Larger battery, larger screen, same innards, same resolution, same software. 960x640 on 7" is still a higher pixel density than the 10" iPad with 1024x768. There're plenty of apps running on that "retina" resolution and even if the UI elements would appear much larger than on the iPhone or iPod touch it would be perfectly usable. And cheap, because just a larger screen with the same amount of pixels and a larger battery with a new case aren't that expensive. With the iPod touch at $199 you could sell this with a similar margin for $249 or less.

    On the other hand scaling the 10" iPad down with a smaller screen and battery wouldn't make it much cheaper and all the UI elements in the apps would shrink to nearly unusable absolute sizes. Idiotic idea, actually.

    But Apple is between a rock and a hard place here. An iPad mini would be easy and would sell not too bad, but it would very much look like the start of what nearly doomed Apple the last time: Sprawling products to cover a market at all angles.

    I'm sure they have production-quality prototypes of both approaches, but I'm also sure they will wait this out for a while.

  27. Andy 97

    Blimey, Steve's only been dead for a couple of weeks...

    Whatever next?

    Flash on iOS 5?

  28. paulc

    He's right about finger tips being a limit...

    I have an Arnova 7 2G and find it problematic opening links on web pages and generally have to zoom in to successfully "click" a small link.

    My daughter has an iPad 2 and web browsing is far easier on that.

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


      But a 10 inch is a PITA to lug along.

      And reading a PDF document on a smart mobile phone is a PITA as well.

      I'm not sure, but a 7 inch may be a good compromise, or it may well harbour the worst of both worlds, sort of like an iMac... (y'know, not a desktop, not a lappie, complete utter rubbish).

  29. Anonymous Coward

    What's to say...

    that it signals a smaller iPad? It could be a bigger iPod Touch...

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