6-inch MiniPad (or MaxiPod) Coming in Fall?
Despite Steve Jobs's repeated avowals to the contrary, reports persist
of a smaller form-factor tablet. The latest spate of rumors take a new tack on the idea, however: rather than being a small iPad, the new 5- to 7-inch device might in fact be a large iPhone, sized to compete with not only small tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the BlackBerry PlayBook, but also larger smartphones like the Dell Streak.
Ming-Chi Kuo, the Concord Securities analyst formerly with the Taiwanese publication DigiTimes, told AppleInsider that Apple is looking into a mid-sized iOS device that it would bring to market possibly as soon as fall 2011. With a screen somewhere in between 5 and 7 inches, Kuo said he was "not sure" if the new device would released as a small iPad or a large iPhone/iPod touch. A separate report by a Czech blogger,
citing two independent sources, claims that Apple is working on a large iPod touch with a screen size of about six inches.
Steve Jobs has made statements denying a smaller iPad is in the works, but it's important to bear in mind that Apple has been known to make pronouncements that it later contradicted. Jobs savaged 7-inch tablets as "tweeners' that are "too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad
" at an investor conference call last year. However, Jobs also said Apple would never make an iPod that could play videos and mocked tablets as being worthless for doing anything other than surfing the web in the bathroom. If Apple feels there is a market in something, they'll almost certainly go after it rather than leave it to competitors.