7-inch iPad on track for October 2012 release, $200 to $250 price

7-inch iPad on track for October 2012 release, $200 to $250 price:
7-inch iPad on track for October 2012 release, $200 price
Apple will be going forward with the 7-inch iPad, currently targeting an October 2012 release alongside the new iPhone, and -- here's the killer -- at a $200 to $250 price point. According to our source, which has proven reliable in the past, the reason for such aggressive pricing is to do to the tablet market what Apple did to the MP3 market in 2004 with the expansion of the iPod product line -- leave absolutely no space for competitors.
We haven't gotten a firm read on the exact screen dimensions, so we're using 7-inches generically here. Our source has indicated, however, that the 7-inch iPad will be identical in every way to the current 9.7-inch iPad, just scaled down. That seems to include a 2048x1536 resolution display, just like the new iPad. If accurate, that would put the pixel density at around 326 ppi, identical to the iPhone 4S (and higher than the 264 ppi new iPad) retina display. It's hard to imagine a device with a panel like that having a price tag of just $200, especially when the baseline new iPad comes in at $500, but one way Apple will be keeping costs lower is by providing less storage capacity. $200 will get you 8GB. That's identical to the current entry-level iPod touch, which also starts at $200. (And no, Apple won't be replacing the iPod touch with the 7-inch iPad, both devices will remain in the product lineup -- though it'll be interesting to see what happens with iPod touch pricing and storage capacity.)
While Apple's late co-founder, Steve Jobs, was famously dismissive of 7-inch tablets, calling them terrible and dead-on-arrival, he also famously said no one wanted to watch video on an iPod and that Apple wasn't interested in making a phone. One of Jobs' chief criticism of the 7-inch form factor was its impact on software -- that competitors stretched out smartphone apps instead of making iPad-class apps. Obviously, Apple's 7-inch iPad would run the same apps as the current 9.7 inch app, though scaled down. While that will affect design elements like touch targets, and may cause some developers to approach iPad apps in different ways, it's better than introducing a 3rd screen size to the mix.
Rumors of an a 7-inch iPad mini have been around since the launch of the original iPad in 2010, and picked up speed when competitors like Samsung, RIM, and Amazon began offering 7-inch tablets. Some, like the Kindle Fire, are already at the $200 price point, using cheap to compete with good. While Amazon won't talk sales numbers, and none of these devices can really be called successful atto a certain segment of the market, cheap is what matters. Apple hasn't chosen to address that segment in desktop or laptop computers, or in phones, but they have in MP3 players and it sounds like they will again in tablets. And they'll do it in the same way -- cheap and good.
Recently AppAdvice reported on the logic of 7.85-inch iPad, which makes a lot of sense. And both iMore and Daring Fireball heard Apple had that device in the labs. Only the go to market decision remained.
Steve Jobs' tag line for the original iPad was "...our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price".
Sound like Apple is getting ready to be even more unbelievable.



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