Steve Jobs was wrong on one thing, at least. When he said that a seven-inch tablet wouldn’t work, he was wrong. Dead wrong. I thought so at the time and I am convinced of it now.
Don’t misundersand. I love the current iPad. As a media consumption device it is unbeatable. But as I tablet to carry around, to use for book reading and for general productivity work it is a compromise. It is simply too big.
I have tried to get used to the iPad as an eBook reader and, for a few minutes, even for an hour, I think it is great. Then I get tired of holding it as the weight tells and the edges bite into my hands . That’s why I read most of my books on the iPhone. It is always with me and the screen is just about acceptable. The new iPhone will be even better for reading and productive work.
The original Kindle was the ideal tablet size and I have been impressed with the various seven-inch Android tablets on the market. The iPad, on the other hand, is so big that you might as well stuff your MacBook Air into the bag and have done with it. I have always felt its place is on the sofa at home rather than in the backpack.
I am certainly getting excited about the iPad mini, especially when I read that it is going to be very thin and light. I don’t care if it doesn’t have a retina display, I just want one.
There is a pent up demand for a 7–8in iPad and it will sell not just on price, although I imagine many will see it as relative inexpensive entry into the Apple eco-system. It will sell mainly on its virtues: As tablet you can reasonably carry around all day, an ideal alternative to a Kindle as a book reader, and as a device that is well capable of productive work.
Apple will have another winner on its hands with this one. I am no Horace Dediu, but I see massive sales in my crystal ball.
by Mike Evans, 1 September 2012