Apple’s prepping a 7-inch iPad for a mid-year release

Posted on Feb 10 2012 - 3:17pm by Mike Wewerka
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Rumors of a 7-inch iPad have been swirling around since just after the original iPad was released. But former Apple CEO Steve Jobs would squash that rumor whenever the topic was brought up. He would say that 7-inches is to small and that the 9.7-inch tablet size (the iPad’s dimensions) was perfect. Perhaps new CEO Tim Cook feels differently or maybe he’s just being pressured into making a 7-inch version due to the release of the Amazon Kindle Fire, a competitor that didn’t exist when Jobs was at the helm.

Industry analyst, Erza Gottheil of Technology Business Research, says that he expects Apple to introduce the smaller form factor sooner than later, but not at the upcoming event in early March. Apple currently has two other events throughout the year the iPod event in September and the WWDC event (iPhone) in June. With people expecting the iPhone 5/6 in June, could we get a “one more thing” surprise announcement or Apple could introduce a new event between now and June?

Gottheil believes that despite what Jobs has said in the past, a 7-inch iPad has always been in the works at Apple, which does go along with old rumors of suppliers leaking info about components for a 7-inch iPad that has never materialized. A 7-inch iPad would give Apple a trifecta of tablets, using the newest model, in this case the iPad 3 which would start at $499, the previous model (the iPad 2) at $399 and a new, smaller 7-inch iPad Mini at $299 (possibly even $250). It will certainly cost more than the Amazon Kindle Fire, but with a more robust eco-system, Apple would still have the advantage.

As we’ve said the last few times this rumor has popped up, we’ll believe it when we see it. In any case it’s fun to entertain the possibilities.