Steve Jobs was adamantly against releasing a smaller version of the iPad
. He bemoaned the 7-inch form factor as a tweener device that sits between a smartphone and a tablet, and because most tablet owners already have a smartphone, he said it didn't make any sense to give up screen real estate on a tablet in order to build one small enough to fit in your pocket. That's what a smartphone is for. In his opinion, a "10-inch screen is the minimum necessary."
Of course, Steve Jobs is no longer with us, and Tim Cook is the one making the big decisions at Apple. Could that mean a smaller sized iPad is the works? John Gruber of Daring Fireball claims Apple is already toying with a prototype that it has in-house, though he's not sure if Apple will ultimately decide to release it to the public.
"What I do know is that they have one in the lab, a 7.85-inch iPad that runs at 1024x768 and it's just like the 9.7-inch iPad shrunk down a little bit," Gruber said on The Talk Show
(skip ahead to the 78 minute mark to hear his comments).
Gruber points out that Apple builds all kind of products that never end up being released, but in this case, the motivating factor would be to compete with lower priced tables in the $199 to $249 range, like the Kindle Fire (second most popular tablet in the world) and Nook Tablet. Despite how Steve Jobs felt about the 7-inch form factor, there's a market for these devices, even if only because the price is right.
Would you be interested in a 7.85-inch iPad if one existed?