Is the Next Apple Tablet Dead on Arrival?

The following video is part of our "Motley Fool Conversations" series in which senior technology analyst Eric Bleeker and Chief Technology Officer Jeremy Phillips discuss topics across the investing world.

Steve Jobs notably once called seven-inch tablets "dead on arrival" and stated that the 9.7-inch iPad design was as small as tablets should go. However, The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that Apple is working with Asian suppliers on an 8-inch design. The usual caveats aside that these reports don't signal any kind of imminent 8-inch iPad, any launch would be a dramatic change for a tablet size the company continually has derided. Eric notes that while tablets like Research In Motion's 7-inch Playbook did end up being dead on arrival, so did HP's 10-inch Touchpad. The end differentiating factors are price and the software behind the tablet. In Amazon's case, the company succeeded not because of the tablet's form factor, but mainly on price. By cutting the iPad's size, Apple could save maybe $30-$50, and could achieve other savings through other measures, such as limiting storage and using an older processor. Still, that level of pragmatism would be out of Apple's character. In the end, Eric says the noise surrounding a smaller iPad isn't in line with the results it could deliver to Apple's business.

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Eric Bleeker has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Jeremy Phillips has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple,, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple,, and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (8) | Recommend This Article (3)

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  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 10:20 PM, artlaz wrote:

    A 7" tablet is a real, viable product. I was on a flight and saw a mother with an iPad with her 10 year old daughter sitting next to her with her Kindle Fire. Apple, get a clue, tablets are used by children - a lot! That's a real market that should not be ignored.

    Make it smaller, cheaper and lighter - but make it.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 10:22 PM, etgh wrote:

    Buy a Playbook...problem solved.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 10:50 PM, bbrriilliiaanntt wrote:

    Apple is NOT coming out with a 7-inch tablet...period...wake up!!!!!!! I'll bet you every penny Mitt Romney ever made...NO WAY!!! HELLO HUMAN RACE!!!!! HELLLLOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! NOT GONNA HAPPEN!!! EVER!!!! EEEEEVVVVEEERRRRR!!!!

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 11:22 PM, bbrriilliiaanntt wrote:

    0 chaNce! Ever!

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2012, at 11:56 PM, iphonerulez wrote:

    I also believe that a 7" tablet is a viable device size, but I don't think that Apple should produce one. Leave it to the Android tablet makers. Apple won't go out of business even if those Android tablets gain more market share. Android tablet makers are making 4.5", 5", 7" and 10" display devices. Throw everything out and see what sticks. So far, only Amazon seems to be getting much out of the 7" Kindle Fire. That just tells me that there are some people who do want 7" tablets for $199.

    How many consumers ultimately desire 7" tablets, well, that's to be decided if Amazon is able to afford to keep producing them. Amazon's margins are coming up short and the stock has been downgraded. It is risky even for a well-liked company such as Amazon to keep going in a money-losing venture.

    But just know that if Apple does produce a 7" tablet then it's all over for Android 7" tablets because Apple's device will outsell them all and that will be more profit for Apple. Again, I don't want Apple to produce a 7" tablet unless it's strictly an e-Ink device for reading digital textbooks.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2012, at 8:59 AM, jelp2 wrote:

    Siri is a gimmick for all the lonely people who have no one to talk to. How does Sire work when your in a meeting and need to text some info to someone? Are you just going to start talking outloud. Unless you're alone in your room, there's no need to have a conversation with a phone or tablet.

    Siri is just another excuse for some not to have human interaction.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2012, at 9:12 AM, jafutral wrote:

    Two points about the Amazon Fire. I don't think it is as simple as price point, but more the value equation. I think they were able to leverage the Kindle brand and what that means for the Fire. RIM, not so much. They tried to leverage their BB brand, but the result was an iPad knock off that couldn't do as much as an iPad.

    In this regard the Fire is to Kindle what the iPod Touch is to iPod. A much smarter product evolution. Compared with the iPad, the Fire comes with a lot of hardware compromises. Compared to the Kindle line, it is a step up. Now, that's positioning!

    Personally, I don't think Amazon HAS to sell it at a loss, but the fact that they are shows even they see an image problem with the 7" form. As the ONLY 7" tablet to have made an impact, they sold it at a loss. Not something you'll see Apple do, at least not with hardware.


  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2012, at 1:50 PM, BR14 wrote:

    Perhaps someone will add a psychoanalysis module to Siri to provide infothathelp with some much needed psyciatric info that helps.

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