iPad Nano? Thanks, But No Thanks

Whenever Apple releases a hot new product, rumors of a miniature version are never far behind, and the iPad is no exception.

DigiTimes, citing its own research arm, says Apple is scheduling a 5-inch to 7-inch version of the iPad for the first quarter of 2011. After speaking with "upstream component sources," DigiTimes Research analyst Mingchi Kuo said these mini iPads will cost less than $400 and will be aimed at people who mainly want an e-reader to take on the road.

In other words, the smaller iPad would be a different product than the one that exists now. Yes, reading e-books is one of the iPad's primary functions, but the iPad is mainly a home device. It's best used on a couch or in bed, where you can sit comfortably with it. A smaller version, it seems, would be geared towards mobility, perhaps targeting people who like the idea, but find the iPad difficult to lug around.

The problem is that e-readers already fill that need, and better than a mini iPad could. The Kindle's E-Ink display is conducive to outside reading, and the device is thin and light enough to be held in one hand. Even if the iPad lost a few inches, it'd still need enough computing muscle to watch videos, play games, and render Web pages. The result would be a device that's too thick to be a comfortable e-reader and too small to be a powerful netbook substitute--in other words, the worst of both worlds.

If anything, the iPad should expand in size. The tablet's destiny--and I mean all tablets, not just the iPad--is to shake up the computer market, not to give Amazon and Barnes & Noble a hard time (though that's bound to happen as well). I want the iPad to become more like a computer, and less like a smartphone or portable media player.

Shop ▾
arrow up Amazon Shop buttons are programmatically attached to all reviews, regardless of products' final review scores. Our parent company, IDG, receives advertisement revenue for shopping activity generated by the links. Because the buttons are attached programmatically, they should not be interpreted as editorial endorsements.

Subscribe to the Now Playing Newsletter