Another day brings another iPad rumor, with Apple fan site iMore today claiming that Apple plans to release a sub-$250, 7-inch model at a loss to destroy competition from the likes of Amazon, Samsung and Google.
Citing a 'reliable source', iMore says that the 7-inch tablet will tip up in October with 8GB of memory and a price between $200 and $250, ballpark figures which would put the device in direct competition with Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet, and the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. Google’s first own-brand tablet, which is also believed to be 7-inch in size, is expected to have a similar price point when (and if) it launches as expected in July.
This is by no means the first time rumors of a 7-inch iPad have cropped up, with the most credible report of late coming from Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, who claimed that Apple is testing a 7-inch iPad at its offices in Cupertino. Other recent rumors on a 7-inch iPad have come from Digitimes and Apple rival Samsung.
Should Apple go ahead and launch a 7-inch iPad, it would mark something of a gamble, as well as a change in direction under the leadership of new CEO, Tim Cook.
The move would be a gamble because, as Apple cannot make iPads for anything under $300 (the new iPad reportedly starts at $316), the firm would be taking a significant hit on each item, and while Amazon can rely on content sales to counter losing money on Kindle Fire sales, Apple would be forced to dip into its pockets, which admittedly do hold around $100 billion in surplus cash. Given that the display is the most expensive element of a tablet, it would then be interesting to see if Apple decides to copy the new 9.7-inch iPad and bolt on a 2048 x 1536 resolution Retina Display.
The fact that Apple is pursuing the 7-inch tablet also shows how Tim Cook thinks differently from Steve Jobs, who famously dismissed 7-inch tablets as those which would be ‘dead on arrival' when reaching the market.