THE CAPPUCCINO COMPANY Apple is apparently unhappy with the size of its latest creation and plans to release a smaller Ipad next year.
Given that the Ipad is widely seen as an oversized Iphone, it's perhaps a surprise that Digitimes' Mingchi Kuo is reporting that component vendors are prepping for a sub-$400 unit with a smaller screen to be launched sometime early in 2011. The question is, how small can Apple go before it is just repackaging the Iphone?
Kuo also says that the device will target the "highly-portable mobile device market" which is presumably currently served, poorly, by smartphones. A smaller device is, apparently, going to focus on those who mainly read and have little demand for text input.
Those who have a 'high demand' for text input are likely to use a device such as Motorola's Milestone or even a fully fledged computer, rather than any device, be it Android or Iphone OS powered, that offers only touchscreen input. However the underlying question still remains, at what point does an Iphone become an Ipad and, if Kuo is to be believed, the reverse?
The irony is that the Ipad's screen is one of the device's most redeeming features and, while screen size doesn't linearly equate to usefulness, it's hard to see how making the display smaller will make the device more attractive.
The parting shot from Kuo was aimed at HP, saying that the flogger of expensive ink is "unlikely to provide a competitive portable experience" with its Slate device. Indeed, when compared against the Ipad, the Slate doesn't pack the knockout punch that many were hoping for. According to Kuo that device will be made by the original design manufacturer (ODM) Inventec, which also slots together devices for Toshiba, Acer and Fujitsu-Siemens.
It's not surprising that within a week of the Ipad's launch attention has turned to the fruit themed toymaker's next device. Eager fanbois keen to hide their disappointment with the device are looking for their next icon to drool over, but a smaller Ipad is unlikely appear soon, since when it does it's likely to eat into their cult religion's biggest cash cow, the Iphone. µ
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