Ok. I’m going to do nothing more than synthesize three excellent posts on the possible 7” iPad.
First we have John Gruber:
I bet Apple could make a $199 iPad Mini and turn a profit on it — especially with a $249 version sitting next to it with double the storage. It’s that simple. If Apple thinks people would buy a smaller cheaper iPad and that they can turn a profit making them, they’ll do it. No reason to overthink it.
Next, Gabe Glick:
The more I think about it, the more I think these rumors are right, but we’ve all been interpreting them the wrong way. The new 7″ iOS device supposedly coming this fall is not an iPad Mini.
It’s a giant iPod touch.
And finally, Joel Bernstein:
If the iPad’s screen were scaled to 163 DPI, it would be 7.85″ diagonally.
This is suspiciously close to the 7″ iPad rumors circulating.
A 44 point target on a 7.85″ iPad would be the same size as a 44 point target on the iPhone (0.27″). Millions of people use the iPhone every day, and have little trouble tapping a 0.27″ target. As Apple has pointed out, their fingers do not change size when they move to their iPad.
True, but the feel of the interface does change. It isn’t broken or unusable; it’s just smaller, like an iPhone. Or, to get back to Glick, it’s more like an iPod rather than an iPad.
So, if Apple is readying a 7-ish inch iOS device, there are a ton of reasons to call it the new iPod Touch (or more radically, the new iPod). Then, it takes the place in the lineup of the old iPod Touch, and it would be better than that device in almost every way. With a larger case and less dense screen, battery life could be significantly improved compared to the current Touch. And what has Apple pitched the iPod Touch as for the last several years? A gaming device. Think about it. Sure, the new iPod (read 7-inch iPad) would be great for reading, watching movies, and (slightly less so) listening to music, but it would be a brilliant handheld gaming device, suffering far fewer of the limitations of its predecessor while working brilliantly with the established iPod Touch marketing.
The key will be making prices similar. If Apple can get close to current iPod Touch pricing or to the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire, they will not only take the 7-inch tablet space, but expand their grip on the gaming market even more than they already have, all without releasing a single dedicated gaming device.
Update: When Daring Fireball links you, you post a follow up. Here’s why even if the device turns out to be an iPad, it’ll still replace the iPod Touch in a number of ways.