Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Displays Handhelds Apple

Did Steve Jobs Pick the Wrong Tablet Size? 433

Posted by Soulskill
from the nobody's-perfect dept.
An anonymous reader writes "During the 2010 Christmas shopping season, Steve Jobs famously dissed the 7-inch tablets being rolled out by competitors, including Samsung's Galaxy, as being 'tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with the [9.7-inch diagonal] iPad,' adding that 'the current crop of 7-inch tablets are going to be DOA — dead on arrival.' A year later Jobs was dead, and the iPad Mini, with a 7.9-inch diagonal screen, was rolled out under his successor Tim Cook in October, 2012. Looking at industry-wide tablet sales numbers for January 2013, which show that the iPad Mini surprisingly outsold its larger sibling by a substantial margin (as did 7-inch Android tablets from competitors), Motley Fool's Evan Niu thinks that the 7.9-inch form factor was the correct size all along, contrary to Jobs' pronouncements (which, of course, was partly marketing bluster — but he chose the larger size in the first place). Of course the Mini is cheaper, but not by much — $329 vs. $399 for the larger iPad, for the baseline model with WiFi only and 16GB storage. Had Apple introduced the iPad with the smaller size to begin with, Niu argues, competitors would have faced a much more difficult task grabbing market share. While the Mini is currently available only with 'Super VGA' resolution (1024x768), rumors are afloat that Minis with the Retina display (2048x1536) are close to production."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Did Steve Jobs Pick the Wrong Tablet Size?

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 03, 2013 @06:26AM (#43059973)

    16KB storage: Apple is really screwing with the customer now.

  • Does it matter? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by deergomoo (2689177) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @06:26AM (#43059979)
    Now there's two iPad sizes. And lots of sizes for Android tablets. A fair amount of choice for Win 8 too. Everyone's happy!
    • Re:Does it matter? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rosyna (80334) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @07:14AM (#43060155) Homepage

      I'm not quite sure why it matters since 7.9 inches does not equal 7 inches.

    • ...but what you want to do with it does.

      I'm not normally one to leap to Jobs' defence, but IMO he was right about the preferable size. However, I'm prepared to accept that since my acuity of vision is quite a lot less than 20/20 (I hope this is the only characteristic I share with that man - though I wouldn't object to having as much money), this might affect my perception. My Android phone is adequate for its purposes (actually, I'm very happy with it), but I struggle to use it if I don't have my glasse
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Exactly. I don't have a tablet but I'm really thinking about getting one. I really want a 10 inch tablet. Neither 7 inch nor 10 inch will fit in your pocket. So to carry it around you need some kind of backpack or messenger bag or whatever. So you might as well have the bigger tablet. I find that even my 4 inch phone is quite large. Next time around for a phone I'll just get the smallest thing that will do tethering, and use my tablet for mobile internet.
        • My Kindle Fire (7") fits in my trouser(s) pockets just fine, indeed that's where I carry it most of the time. Where is this myth that 7" is "too big for pockets" coming from? A shirt pocket perhaps, but 7" isn't that much bigger than many mobile phones.

          A tablet should be able to go whereever you'd take a notebook (the paper kind, obviously.) That's why the iPad was ridiculously stupidly oversized from the get-go, and is one of the reasons why I'm still baffled it sold as well as it did. I am not surprise

      • by anagama (611277)

        I have a Nexus 7 and my wife has a Nexus 10. I thought I'd prefer the 10" too, but when it comes down to my usual use case, i.e., laying back on the couch watching a video, surfing the net, or reading a book, it turns out the 7" size is much more comfortable because I can hold it in one hand, and shift it from hand to hand when either arm gets tired. The ten incher is a two handed device, or requires some kind of stand.

        It will also fit in jacket/vest pockets.

        As for being blind, I have terrible vision in o

    • Re:Does it matter? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @07:41AM (#43060271)

      Now there's two iPad sizes. And lots of sizes for Android tablets. A fair amount of choice for Win 8 too. Everyone's happy!

      I think it does matter. Jobs was even right about the big size being needed, though his explanation given was wrong (and who knows if he even told the full truth). If tablets had initially come at 7" then they would have been far too close to phones. There would have been almost no application that you could do on a tablet that couldn't be done reasonably on a phone just a bit worse. There wouldn't have been a reason to keep the two separate and development of tablet interface programs would be much slower. In the end people would have just called the iPad a "too big phone which you can't call from" and it would not have sold as it did. I think Android is only just managing to break through this barrier and Apple wouldn't have had nearly the success they have had first mover advantage.

      The iPad is its self almost exactly the maximum reasonable size for a tablet for most people. Even a tiny bit heavier than the heaviest iPad and many people can't hold it in one hand it for long. It's already big enough that it has to have a special split keyboard for some people to be able to type on comfortably. Also the iPad is close to the limit which fits comfortably into your personal space in economy class (no; a laptop is not "comfortable") and feels spacious elsewhere. On the other hand; the size is a limitation for some applications such as a full screen magazine spread. The battery is a limitation as a replacement for a book. For photo editing, a thing which a tablet could be good for the screen is still very much on the small side. You can see why really big people with big hands and their own private jets might like a bigger tablet and you can also see why Microsoft made the mistake of making the surface too big and heavy. If you were designing the iPad from scratch and you could make it fold and add anti-gravity and had no cost limts then you would probably end up with an even larger device with more inertia and much higher resolution (I wouldn't call it more "weight").

      An iPad mini makes sense now; however that's only because the iPad went before it and defined the category of a tablet. If that hadn't happened people would just be complaining that it's a too heavy phone. Me; I have multiple android devices and I find myself switching sizes; however I definitely prefer a tablet to a phone for plenty of stuff. I'm even wondering if it wouldn't be better to just have a dumbphone and a tablet instead.

      • I'm even wondering if it wouldn't be better to just have a dumbphone and a tablet instead.

        That's... fucking brilliant, actually. That's probably the most ingenious yet simple idea I've seen on /. in years.

        Hat tip to you, sir.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Right, the Apple product is perfect in every way and everything else is either just a copy or shite. Nice try.

        People should have bought any tablet Apple churned out back then, regardless of size. The first version of the iPad was actually quite badly flawed in a number of ways - the back wasn't flat so it rocked if you tried use to it flat on a desk, and the screen resolution was both low and an odd multiple of what came before so that it took a while for apps to be ported to it (since Apple encouraged ever

        • by T-Bone-T (1048702)

          How was the resolution an odd multiple? It had exactly double the pixels in each dimension. If you took 4 iPhone(original, 3G, 3GS) screens and put them together, you'd have the same resolution. Not only that, it was 1024x768, an extremely common resolution for many older screens.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I think Android is only just managing to break through this barrier and Apple wouldn't have had nearly the success they have had first mover advantage.

        I say this as a known Apple hater and as an Android user, Android isn't breaking through anything. The barrier is moving. The barrier isn't just perception, though; it's based on perception, but we can make generalities about perception even though it's subjective, based on averages and means. And what I think you will discover is that phones were just too chunky until recently. Somewhere around the time phones hit 1 GHz they got to be a pleasure to use. This is just a coincidence, there's nothing magical a

      • Back when the first iPad was released, even a 4.3" phone was considered extremely large, so a 7-8" tablet would have still been significantly larger than phones of the time. And your point is weakened by the fact that larger screen phones exist today and people are still clamoring for smaller tablets. Besides the iPad, there isn't a single, truly successful 10" tablet, but there are several, well-selling 7" ones.
      • Re:Does it matter? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Solandri (704621) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @04:45PM (#43063275)

        The iPad is its self almost exactly the maximum reasonable size for a tablet for most people. Even a tiny bit heavier than the heaviest iPad and many people can't hold it in one hand it for long.

        Size and weight are not directly related. As technology improves you can maintain the same size at reduced weight. It may have been the right weight when it was released, but I maintain that a 9.7" screen is too small for a "full sized" tablet.

        Another aspect which I don't think is being fully considered is inertia (not the watered-down high school version, the full 3x3 tensor). Hold a fork as you naturally would. Notice where it rests in your fingers. It will balance perfectly there. That's not an accident - it was deliberately designed that way. If your center of mass is at the point where the object is supported, the inertia tensor is symmetric. That means when you translate the object, it will not rotate. It feels "balanced". When you raise your fork with food attached, your finger naturally shifts forward to the new CM, keeping it balanced and the inertia tenser symmetric. (This is also why spoons and forks tend to flare out towards the end of the handle - the larger mass there increases the inertia, both making it slower to rotate and decreasing the distance you need to shift to rebalance it with food attached.)

        To see how important this is, grab something like a curtain rod and hold it from the end. Now try pointing at a moving object with it. It'll be difficult because every time you move it (translate it), its inertia will cause a rotation making it point at something else. And every time you try to rotate it, it will want to translate. Your arm/hand effectively has to simultaneously make two corrections (translation and orientation) instead of just one (translation or orientation).

        The same is true for tablets which are balanced at or near the center. That's not where you hand typically holds it, so any lateral movement also causes a rotation. Frequently adding weight to an unbalanced object to move its CM closer to the support point makes it easier to handhold even though it's heavier. Most of the fatigue from handholding an item isn't in supporting the weight (which your arm can easily do unless you're a total wimp). It's from your wrist having to constantly adjust it so it's oriented properly. When properly balanced, there is less need for orientation adjustments, and so your hand experiences less fatigue.

        It's already big enough that it has to have a special split keyboard for some people to be able to type on comfortably. Also the iPad is close to the limit which fits comfortably into your personal space in economy class (no; a laptop is not "comfortable") and feels spacious elsewhere.

        I find it (and 10.1" Android tablets) cramped. If you remove the margins, the informational area of a magazine page or letter/A4-sized sheet of paper is about 12" diagonal. Either Jobs was brilliant and 75+ years of magazine and paper publishers were wrong, or Jobs was wrong and those industries are correct. I tend to think the latter is more likely.

        I agree the physical size of the iPad is very close to the mark (though I prefer 16:10 or 3:2). Roughly the same size as a magazine or sheet of paper. But the screen is too small and the bezel too big. That was a concession to the technology available currently and when it was first released, so I expect as technology improves we'll gradually transition to a 12" screen for full-size tablets.

    • Re:Does it matter? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @10:05AM (#43060875)

      The real question why are we so fascinated with Jobs even after he died. He made mistakes just like everyone else. That said, I expect the original iPad that took years of development needed to be the slightly larger size as to support the equipment of the time to meet the price. After it was released, and the year of R&D the other companies took the iPad as a model and was able to incorporate the newer technology thus being able to make a smaller model.

      Apple will need to defend their original plans, as well not sacrifice their iPod Touch/iPhone designs.

      Was job wrong... No he sold a boat load of these things. However as time went on peoples desires had change. I think the iPad if it started small may not have been so hot, as people were looking for bigger screens at the time.

      Back in the 80's PC were popular in a configuration where the monitor sat on top of the CPU. Then it went to towers, in the 90's was the old design wrong? No, it was that people needed to use the floppy disks much more and needed access to the CPU all the time. Then with bigger hard drives it went to something you could interact less with. So a tower you can put under your desk was preferable.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        The real question why are we so fascinated with Jobs even after he died. He made mistakes just like everyone else.

        Well, no. He made much bigger mistakes than most people, because he was doing much bigger things than most people. The truth is that media culture has made it possible for cults of personality to be (or seem) much more personal than they did in the past. Steve Jobs is more important to more people even after his death than other leaders of business have been during their lives because he is more real to them, as a result of their knowing more about him. You see the same thing at work with all types of celeb

      • by leathered (780018) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @03:00PM (#43062753)

        ..where the monitor sat on top of the CPU..

        How could you be so dumb, everyone knows the monitor used to sit on the hard drive.

  • The mini is still inside what people perceive a "lower" budget. Price both the same and came back with this "study"....
    • That's right to an extent. There's always a market for entry level. And at the moment, that's the entry level device to get into the iPad.

      But there's also a big gender divide. It's mostly women buying the 7.9" iPad, whilst men still prefer the 9.7" version.

  • by Bongo (13261) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @06:30AM (#43059991)

    Glossy fine print magazines are horrible on anything less than a 9.7" retina display. The 10" is for the sofa. The smaller tablets are for everywhere else, so they have more usage scenarios. But I wouldn't give up the 10" form, as it is well suited to the sofa.

    Perhaps it was also a better size to kickstart the market. Obviously not a phone, nor a netbook, nor a laptop.

    • 10" is not very convenient for one handed usage on the bed though..
    • I think you have something, but the fact is a lot of people use these on the bus. I used the bus for a while, and while you see kindles, phones, tablets are also there. And 10" on the bus is to big. For couch, I can see it. But my thought, is why not get one that does more? As more companies come out with tablet/laptop/dock at home/Hook to TV models, a tablet alone won't work. I guess they have all those peripherals all ready though? I really don't know as I personalty don't like apple, but understand those
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <.ten.3dlrow. .ta. .ojom.> on Sunday March 03, 2013 @07:28AM (#43060223) Homepage

      That's a problem with the magazines. Reading magazine style content formatted for a 7" screen, like Google Player magazines or Flipboard or Currents or Pulse or any of the many others out there, is fine. The problem only surfaces when magazines try to throw out a PDF of the print version, in which case even a 10" display is inadequate unless you like zooming a lot.

      7" is easier to hold, easier to read full width sentences on and easier to take with you without having to switch to another device. They are not bad to type on either, for a touch screen.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    $25 per kilobyte.. bargain

  • Hyperbole (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dog-Cow (21281) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @06:39AM (#43060017)

    Naturally most of Jobs' public comments were marketing hyperbole. His job and his passion were designing and promoting Apple products. Only a fool would expect him to endorse something he didn't believe was right. This story, though, is a classic what-if. Before the iPad, the current tablet market did not exist. There is no way to know if the current market would exist if the first iPad screen was smaller than 9.7" diagonal. Thus, it is impossible to answer the question posed. We cannot know if Jobs was wrong.

  • by 2ms (232331) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @06:41AM (#43060023)
    The majority of people who have bought Android tablets did so because they do not like Apple rather than because they wanted something with a smaller screen. Additionally, it is easy to forget now, but when the iPad first came out it was widely criticized as being too similar to an iPod Touch. It was only after quite a bit of time that it seemed to start to be taken more seriously despite having a screen with less than half the area of a "real computer".
    • I agree with this. I don't think that there products are terrible, just not what I like. I gave away my iPod as I didn't like how it work. I also spent the extra money for the 8gig when it was still the big one. Everyone has what they like, and you will stick with that name brand. On /. everyone wants to call you a shill for what you like, but I respect others opinions on which you choose. I will get a windows version of something sometime. And am waiting for all the hate I get for liking MS. :)
    • I chose an Android tablet because I wouldn't have to buy another one if I ran out of storage. Sadly Google seem to think that Android users don't need much local storage too which is why it wasn't a Nexus 7.

      • by bfandreas (603438)
        I chose my tablet because it came with a lot of SD Card slots and USB connectors and the possibility to load stuff I couldn't get from a walled garden shop.
        I also chose it for the rootability(if I ever chose to) and the general goodness that comes from openness.
        So I got a lot of choice to pick exactly what I wanted. Among my possible choices was an iPad. And it got discarded since it featured none of the above. And it just happens to be an Android tablet.

        You pick the right tool for the task. And for wha
    • . Additionally, it is easy to forget now, but when the iPad first came out it was widely criticized as being too similar to an iPod Touch.

      I wouldn't go so far as to say "widely". I wouldn't even go so far as to say "noticeably at all". The iPod Touch is a PDA, something of an odball niche player, and nothing much at all like an iPad (despite the gross surface similarities).

      It was only after quite a bit of time that it seemed to start to be taken more seriously despite having a screen with less tha

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Or maybe the just like Android. I have an Android phone, I like the way it works and I bought a load of apps for the platform that I would like to run on a larger screen. I like being able to copy files to the device directly instead of using a sync app like iTunes. I like the Chrome browser. Rmaps is so good I donated twice.

      Not everything is about hating Apple.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by c (8461)

      The majority of people who have bought Android tablets did so because they do not like Apple rather than because they wanted something with a smaller screen.

      Or one of many other features Apple won't offer. Smaller screen, lower price, ports (SD slot, USB without a dongle, etc), form factors (Transformer-style keyboard dock), stylus support, etc. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if some people bought the Thrive just for the replaceable battery...

      Some people will even have bought Android tablets purely because t

    • I purchased a Nexus 7 as my personal tablet because of the cost, size and performance. We are an Apple household, I prefer Unix over Windows and many years ago I switched from Linux to OS X as my main operating system. We have 3 Macs, 4 iPhones, and an iPad which was a gift. We had looked at getting an iPad once but I just didn't like the overall experience and a lot of that was the size of it. The iPad mini needs to come down about $70. I got a 32Gb Nexus 7 for $80 less than the 16Gb iPad and it does

      • by IANAAC (692242)

        ... I like the iOS user experience better and the selection of apps is much nicer.

        I don't believe this to be true any more.

        Most major app players on iOS have also released Android versions of their software. The selection of available software is quite comparable.

    • by phorm (591458) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @02:01PM (#43062361) Journal

      The majority of people who have bought Android tablets did so because they do not like Apple

      Maybe the majority of people on slashdot, but I doubt it's even true with that narrow of a field. There are a few factors:
      a) Price
      b) Convenience
      c) Design/interface
      d) Features

      I service PC's on the side, so I have plenty of time to talk to "regular folk" who are not technically inclined. I also have buddies in retail. Apple sold on brand-recognition for awhile, but Samsung and Asus have become more well-known now too.

      So why do they buy android tablets? Well, basically the price is good and it does what they want. A lot of people just want something that convenient to travel with and that does email, browses the web, and perhaps plays a few games. In the older crowd, the latter tends not to apply.

      These folk used to buy laptops, but when tablets became more common the laptops were overpowered and bulky.

      A full-sized iPad was more convenient in that it doesn't take up much room in a suitcase or whatever, but at the price-point it still had competition from netbooks etc. While more convenient to pack, it still wasn't very fun to travel with as it didn't fit nicely into many purses or pockets.

      The Asus tablets became fairly popular because they had a detachable keyboard (and a lot of people aren't so fond of touchscreens for email), and were a bit cheaper than the iPad.

      Then comes Nexus 7 etc. It fits into a back-pocket on most jeans, or an inner-pocket in a jacket. It slips into a purse easily. It's cheap. It's powerful. It does email, browses the web, video-chat, etc. It'll even do flash but you're hitting a more technical crowd to get that installed

      What it lacks: HDMI connection to plug into TV's, and no "airplay." Miracast will likely replace those in the future with whatever the successor is to the Nexus 7 (I believe that it has the GPU to handle it, but not the wifi, so it won't be available on this model).

      The average person doesn't really connect the tablet to the TV, so even the above are extras.

      The other thing it lacks: A nice way to take/transfer pictures. Other tablets with SD slots would be nice for this, but space is limited. iPad is still a bit bulky for this. Phones aren't bad, but the killer feature would be something to connect the two (wirelessly) to manage photo albums on the camera device from a tablet. It seems that for the moment people are still content to manage pictures on a PC though and do the sync thing.

      So what is an Android tablet lacking that a regular person needs? Not a Linux/Android/Apple fanboi, just a person who wants a portable device?

      a) Price: Check, they're fairly affordable
      b) Convenience: 7" is a very convience size for purses and pockets
      c) Design/interface: One of the best things iDevices did is bring capacitive multitouch to portables. The cheaper Androids often had shitty resistive touch, but that's changed for the most-part.
      d) Features: (remember, regular joe). Email: check, Internet browsing: check, and - dare I say it - porn: check

      Normal people don't love Apple or Android. They might love a particular device. Sometimes they get attached to a brand for awhile, but eventually it comes down to: will this do what I want for the price it's available at.

      Customers ask me which is better. It really comes down to what they want to do with it. For many, a Nexus is fine. Some people want to use their apps on the tablet, or have a media device. In that case, the convenience of iTunes and the availability of peripherals goes in the favor of Apple devices.

      While people may play music on their phones, tablets are often more video-centric, and Netflix combined with the growing Play video collection is turning into a big competitor. If Google (or Samsung, etc) got their sh** together and made a decent platform for music, Apple would really be in trouble, but while they're improving the experience is still rather inconsistent.

  • by MatrixCubed (583402) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @06:43AM (#43060035) Homepage
    It strikes me as odd that "only" a year after Jobs' death, the smaller tablet was released. It seems to me that it would take significantly more time for an executive board to come to an agreement on a new product, then design it, build it, put it through testing, establish a supply chain, etc etc. Jobs knew it was on the design table well in advance of his demise. What the public sees is far different from what takes place inside a company like Apple.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      I imagine they prototyped them throughout the iPad's development, and continued to do so even after it was released. In order to determine that it is the wrong size you have to at least try it out. It would be interesting to know if their usability studies said that smaller tablets were no good, or if it was just Jobs' opinion.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Jobs was on a medical leave of absense for nearly a full year before his death and resigned formally several months earlier.

      January 17th 2011 to November 2nd 2012 is more than enough time to develop a product which is not so much new but more of a simple refining from an existing product. Remember there's no fancy new feature or technology change in the iPad mini. It's basically just smaller hardware. The iPhone line has seen yearly release cycles despite some quite big changes such as the move to a higher

    • by Haxagon (2454432)

      Seeing as how the iPad Mini is LITERALLY an iPad 2 in almost every meaningful component, I don't think it took that long.

    • There are several answers to this. One is that Apple, like most companies, presumably has a lot of designs ready to go that management doesn't quite believe in when seeing the final version.

      Another is that the iPad mini's design doesn't actually show signs of being the result of a great amount of thought. It's an older iPad with a smaller screen in a case whose only innovative aspect - if it is to begin with - is the reduction of the bezels on the longer sides. It does strike me as something that Apple's

  • It's temporary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phayes (202222) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @06:45AM (#43060043) Homepage

    Narrowly looking at sales figures just after the mini was available & attempting to draw long term conclusions is extremely premature. The 7 inch iPad is selling better at present because of the people who wanted a smaller iPad but couldn't buy one.

    Some people who had a 10 in iPad are now migrating to the 7s but the great majority are happier with the larger screen. Once the pent up demand is satisfied I expect the larger iPads will again be the better sellers.

  • Yes and no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by obarthelemy (160321) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @06:46AM (#43060045)

    What he did wrong is: pick one size and anoint it The One True Size. Different people want different sizes for different uses. (Right now, I hear a lot of requests for larger tablets).

    Jobs' ability to choose and decide was a blessing and a curse: it keeps the company hacks in line and Jobs was usually right... but he was also sometimes wrong, and, above all, sometimes "picked a winner" when there was room for more than 1 device.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Stormthirst (66538)

      This is Apple's (or was Job's) problem all over though - declaring anything the one true way. It's why you end up with a lot of die hard Apple fan boys, religious zealotry of a sort. Don't get me wrong, I'm a PC guy with an iPhone. I like my iPhone, but it's never made me want to go all Apple. That's partly because I believe a monoculture is bad for computing, and partly because I really, really, really, with a passion*, hate iTunes.

      * So much so that when a time machine is invented I'm going for the retroac

  • by rainer_d (115765)
    the iPad Mini is a shrunken iPad2. There first had to be larger iPads, to fine-tune the manufacturing.

    I don't own any iPad - I'd probably buy an iPad4, rather than an iPad Mini because I currently don't want to carry anything bigger than an iPhone 4S in my pocket - and I see more usage-scenarios for me with the iPad4.

    I hope there's still an iPhone 4S-formfactor phone from Apple in two years....

  • He was right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @07:05AM (#43060121)

    During the 2010 Christmas shopping season, Steve Jobs famously dissed the 7-inch tablets being rolled out by competitors, including Samsung's Galaxy, as being 'tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with the [9.7-inch diagonal] iPad,' adding that 'the current crop of 7-inch tablets are going to be DOA â" dead on arrival.'

    He was right - emphasis on "current crop". Despite announcing that they had shipped 2M Galaxy Tabs to stores in Jan 2011, they only managed to sell 1.4M by Q2 2012 [wikipedia.org].

    It was easier to make a decent small tablet later than it was earlier due to technology improvements. If the first iPad was 7.9" but otherwise used the same battery technology, you'd have seen a lot of people complaining about the battery life - the third generation iPad had a 70% greater capacity than its predecessor, and those improvements to the technology will have made a significant different to the utility of a smaller iPad.

    Of course the Mini is cheaper, but not by much â" $329 vs. $399 for the larger iPad, for the baseline model with WiFi only and 16KB storage.

    That's 16GB storage, not 16KB.

  • Hold the press!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by itsdapead (734413) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @07:27AM (#43060213)

    Brand new $329 product sells faster than $499 product with minor spec bump! Film at 11! (Comparison with iPad 2 is silly - it is an old product which, has lower specs than the Mini, has the same number of pixels as the Mini, still costs $70 more and will probably be discontinued soon).

    Meanwhile, the first generation of 7", 16:9 tablets of which his Steveness was speaking didn't exactly sell like hotcakes. The format has since been popularised by Amazon and Google offering extra cheap 7" tablets firmly aimed at media consumption (which they may be treating as loss-leaders).

    Its also worth bearing in mind that the Mini isn't a 7" 16:9 tablet, its a 7.9" 4:3 tablet with the same number of pixels as the original iPad. That's a non-trivial difference especially when (e.g.) you want to type in landscape format.

  • re:$329 vs. $399 for the larger iPad, for the baseline model with WiFi only and 16KB storage
    .
    Hey, "editors" of slashdot, you might want to edit the reference to "16 KB of storage" to the correct value. You know that 640K ought to be enough for anybody, but 16KB, well that just seems wrong! C'mon, people and so-called "editors", get to actually reading the blurb before posting it to the front page. And what's with all the idio-advertising-spam shit on the firehose. I stopped going in the last three we
  • by tsj5j (1159013) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @08:19AM (#43060403)

    When the 9.7" came out, people were mocking it as simply a "bigger iPod touch" with no market. This problem would only be amplified with a smaller, 7" form factor.
    The 9.7" made it clear that it was in a market of it's own - it's not simply a slightly bigger phone, nor a netbook without the keyboard.
    Considering the iPad's success, I think that it's pretty clear they got it right (with profits) either way.

    Now, with Steve bashing the 7" screen factor - but OF COURSE! He's a salesman - naturally he'll work hard to tell you why his product is better, and why you shouldn't buy other alternatives.
    Then again, there's some truth to his opinion: having had an iPad for 3 years and moving on to a 7", I felt like the tablet wasn't offering me enough screen estate to justify bringing it out all the time - my 5" smartphone could do everything just as well. Nevertheless, I acknowledge that for some people, a 7" tablet is sufficient for their purposes.

    With the rise of 5.5" and larger smartphones though, I personally think 7" tablets are becoming a smaller market. If I want something bigger than my smartphone, I'd be looking for a 9" and bigger device, not a 7" one. The only thing 7" has going for me is the price.

    • That's very true, the jokes were that it was multiple Touches taped together. And we see how wrong that was.

      You're wrong on the size of the 7'' though. I have a SG3 and a Nexus 7 and using both feels very different. I would never read on a SG3, but it feels quite natural on the N7.

  • Apple offered a compelling product that was different from everything else - and used it's app store to build a strong supporting infrastructure to create a market. At some point, that market starts to slow as demand is satisfied; even if you still own the largest market share it's not going to grow like you want it. At that point, you decide where to play next - the smaller tablet was a natural move since it builds on Apple's strengths and meets a different need. Sure, you'll cannabalize some sales of the
  • by smash (1351) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @09:02AM (#43060563) Homepage Journal

    .... for ONE reason: weight.

    I think the 10" form factor is better - the keyboard is SO much easier to use. But it is just too heavy. If they can get the weight of the 10" model down a bit to something like 3/4 of what it currently is, I think they're on a winner.

    I currently have both an iPad 4 and iPad mini for evaluation purposes and the mini is just so much lighter. But the form factor on the 4 is better for trying to actually do anything other than browse (typing anything, etc).

  • People like to brag they have no TV [stuffwhitepeoplelike.com], but the reality is that the keyboard-less tablets are just the latest incarnation of consume-only-produce-nothing started by TV.

    Having been an early adopter of smartphones, getting an Audiovox 6700 Spring PocketPC [cnet.com] in 2004 with slide-out tactile QWERTY keyboard, I avoided the current crop (everything post-iPhone) for as long as I could, even after my beloved PocketPC gave out in 2009. I recently got a Galaxy S3, and while it looks nice, I'm continually frustrated at the

  • by Isao (153092) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @10:18AM (#43060947)
    Steve Jobs is FAMOUS for deriding products/features not currently delivered by his company, followed by releasing exactly those features some time later when the market is ready for HIM. (iPod with video, for example.) His strength of personality (and strong products) let him get away with it repeatedly, and few observers ever held him to task for it. The problem with the iPad Mini is that he wasn't around to push it through with his charisma. Clearly it was in the works before he died, and I doubt anything "in the works" would not be known to Jobs.
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @04:48PM (#43063289) Homepage Journal

    the current crop of 7-inch tablets are going to be DOA — dead on arrival.' A year later Jobs was dead,

    The Jobs was dead thing is not cool. It shouldn't be in the summary.

  • by Doubting Thomas (72381) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @02:48PM (#43095639)

    One thing I think the naysayers have consistently (and stubbornly) misunderstood about Jobs is that his verbiage doesn't mean what they think it means.

    You have a man who was uncomfortable promising things he couldn't deliver, and yet his defining characteristic was that constantly pushed his people to accomplish the improbable. Like a lot of other CEOs, he's going to tell the customer that an infeasible product idea is not going to work, or is impossible. The difference is that while other companies will take this as gospel and will give up on the idea, or at least defund or marginalize the team that was working on the idea, he kept them working on it.

    If he tells you that a 7" tablet won't work, what he actually means is, "It's a shitty experience, and I don't peddle shitty experiences. Come back in a year and ask me again'". If the guy who introduced a tablet that was 1/3rd thinner AND faster than anything you'd ever seen before tells you it's a shitty experience, he's probably right. For now.

"People should have access to the data which you have about them. There should be a process for them to challenge any inaccuracies." -- Arthur Miller

Working...