Apple Inc. (AAPL) plans to debut a smaller, cheaper iPad by year-end, two people with knowledge of the plans said, to help maintain dominance of the tablet market as Google Inc. (GOOG) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) prepare competing handheld devices.
The new model will have a screen that’s 7 inches to 8 inches diagonally, less than the current 9.7-inch version, said the people, who asked not to be identified because Apple hasn’t made its plans public. The product, which Apple may announce by October, won’t have the high-definition screen featured on the iPad that was released in March, one of the people said.
As the 7-inch iPad continues to encroach the bounds of inevitability, it seems a prudent moment to remind ourselves of the prospective reasoning behind such a product. Despite link-bait headlines and journalistic hyperbole, Apple is certainly not in the business of responding to misperceived conflicts in the competitive landscape. Aptly explained by Jim Dalrymple back in May, the 7-inch iPad should not be misconstrued as evidence of Apple responding to Google or Amazon.
Yet, despite the wealth of evidence supporting such a rational perspective, I imagine we’re in for rampant and utterly premature treatises into the ill-perceived battle between the Nexus 7 and an as-yet-non-existant Apple product.
Oh, the joys of the incessant rumor-mill.