After reading "David Chartier wonders why the 7-inch product category even exists" it got me to thinking about a few iPad things.
With the original iPad being released in 2010, why is it now "obvious" that the tablet segment needs a smaller form factor? 2 long years have passed since Apple undoubtably created something that shook the market up. Ok so Apple doesn't create new products but they create desire, taking parts and processes from existing lines and bringing them together in a fashions that had yet to be realised but seem obvious when done so. At the very least you can argue that Apple creates products that define a generation or at least inspire companies to copy their lead.
I've yet to go hands on with a phablet and those seem to be a waste of both worlds. Trying to bring together 2 markets BUT like I say I've never used it but, more importantly, I can't see a use for it or forcing it into my daily workflow admittedly like I try to do with my iPad.
Would I get an iPad mini which is something similar to what I have now but smaller?, Probably not. Do I want a Nexus 7? Yes because it's different enough and at a price point to make me want to at least try android as a whole. And I guess that's my whole thought process going on here. Am I really interested in the Nexus 7 because of Android or because of my geeky personality do I want to try something new or do I want to see if the form factor will result in more productivity? Each of those reasons is compelling enough and introduce that all important price factor alongside you start to reach no brainer territory.
With a potential Nexus 7 coming soon with 3g it's not a stretch to see that Google performed their own Apple like manoeuvre. Release a product with an obvious missing feature and thus immediately creating demand for the next product whilst consumers make do till the next product release. Genius?
To say an iPad mini wouldn't work is folly but it does feel like a reactionary manoeuvre. Trying not to hark back to a "Steve Jobs" quote that iPad form factor is just about right. Big enough to consume content and dealing nicely with full page websites. That keyboard is spacious compared to netbooks but can that iPad mini cram that into a smaller form factor.
All this you wonder why all those other manufacturers spent so much time trying to grab the iPad market share. Over the last few years Apple has carved out their own niche and were those big powerhouses really not brave enough to venture into a new territory knowing Apple would release "the same old, same old" if they did react? That 7" market was good for the taking.
Lets looks at Amazon. Amazon is a retailing powerhouse with a massive audience reach and yet that Kindle fire never saw a release on UK shores and also never saw real clones being developed. Sure you can hit eBay and find a 7" tablet but can you be that sure tablet is going to be supported, upgradable to the news Android OS? Why didn't Samsung, Lenovo, Dell or HP jump on that form factor, forcing Apple out of that sector?
Let's look at the potential iPad mini. Releasing an iPad mini with a screen similar to the 3GS would, in my opinion, cheapen Apple products as a whole. Having a product that's still classed as prestigious lookinganything but spectacular wouldn't shine the best light for Apple. However push a retina display screen in that factor similar in nature to the 4s you have a winner there and then. Suddenly other devices look old. Don't think so? Go back to an iPad 2 after using the new iPad for a period of time. Same to be said for a 3gs that looks positively elderly now against fellow handsets.
Imagine walking into a shop looking at 2 similar devices, 1 looks familiar with a sharper screen resolution and that higher priced Apple device will look extremely tempting. Again I'm not going to say the Nexus 7 is a bad device. Walking into PC world I eventually managed to hunt it down and left feeling genuinely impressed with it overall.
In recent years Apple has never been one to follow and you can bet an iPad mini would only be released if Apple thought it was good enough... hopefully.