Rumors have been flying around about a new iPad with a 7 inch screen for some time now. Some people have gone as far as suggesting that this would be a second generation iPad which might be announced as soon as this September, when Apple will probably reveal its new iPod models.
Without going into the merits of whether Apple will or will not, should or should not announce a smaller iPad, I will state that a smaller iPad would not be the second generation of the current iPad. Apple is selling iPads just as fast as they can produced and I see no indication that replacing the current model with another with a smaller screen would be in the company’s interest at this time.
Apple might consider the possibility of creating an iPad mini, just as there was an iPod mini once. This smaller device would still need to be able to run all the applications of the larger iPad model and have a comparable battery life. Such a smaller model could be limited to smaller storage capacities and would definitely need to have a lower price point in order to be attractive to users, over the larger model.
I can think of a few situations in which a smaller, lighter device would be welcome. In the medical field where the iPad seems to be well received by hospitals and physicians having a lighter device to carry around all day could be quite interesting just as it would be interesting for those interested in reading as a primary usage for the device.
While the iPad is too expensive to be a direct competitor to the Kindle and other such eBook readers, I don’t imagine that most iPad users would still want to carry around an eBook reader when they can have the equivalent function as an App in his or her iPad.
All that said, if we see a smaller iPad being announced any time soon I would imagine that it will be in the role of an iPad mini and not as the iPad 2.0. I think we can safely expect that the iPad 2.0 will be making its appearance on a stage early in 2011, roughly a year after the introduction of the original iPad.