Bloomberg reports, that two individuals with knowledge of the project say Apple is designing a 7 to 8 inch tablet “iPad Mini” to compete with less-expensive alternatives like Google’s new Nexus 7 model.
Google designed the $200 Nexus 7 after Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which is currently the only tablet to gain any significant traction against the iPad by completely undercutting Apple’s dominant tablet presence through price ($200 Kindle Fire to $500 iPad).
The product could potentially arrive alongside Apple’s probable iPhone 5 launch in October, but Apple has traditional spread product launches out to prevent product cannibalization. Perhaps Apple realizes a vulnerability they have in the market, and looks to quickly resolve it before companies like Amazon and Google can gain a foothold.
The potential iPad Mini must come as daunting news to companies like Google who are trying to gain leverage in the market where Android tablets have failed in the past. Even though the Kindle Fire was built off of Google’s Android OS, it operates through its own proprietary store as opposed to using Google Play. Not only is it unusual that the product might be launching side-by-side to the iPhone 5, but the design itself stricting goes away from Steve Jobs’ original intentions with the tablet computer.
“There are clear limits of how close you can physically place elements on a touch screen before users cannot reliably tap, flick or pinch them,” said the late Steve Jobs in a quarterly earnings conference call back in October 2010. “This is one of the key reasons we think the 10-inch screen size is the minimum size required to create great tablet apps.”
Not only does this go against Apple’s philosophy, but it shows a more reactive posture typically not expected from Apple. Steve Jobs stood behind Apple products, as opposed to reactively altering them. It could be a winning strategy for Apple, or it could create too many products that overload consumers with too much choice. Would you buy an iPad Mini?