John Gruber: Thoughts on the Display, Price and Name of Smaller iPad

John Gruber of Daring Fireball recognition has made some fantastic points about the impending smaller iPad, touching upon its display, pricing and name. I have provided the main ideas behind his thoughts below, while you can read his article in its entirety by following the source link.

How can the new iPad not have a Retina display?

I expect the primary attributes of the smaller iPad to be thinness, weight, and price. A retina display would make it thicker, heavier, and more expensive. I would love to be proven wrong, for Apple engineering magic to put a 7.85-inch 2048 × 1536 display into this smaller iPad and yet keep it remarkably thin (say, 7.2 mm or so) and light and hit price points under (and perhaps well under) $300. But I think “magic” is the key word there.

Lastly, debuting with a non-retina display would help differentiate the new smaller iPad from the regular (and more expensive) iPad (3). Retina displays are premium features; the new smaller iPad is not the premium model in the lineup. You don’t want to buy one because it doesn’t have a retina display? OK, buy the regular iPad (3) that does.

If the new iPod touch starts at $299, doesn’t that mean the smaller iPad will cost more than that?

It’s true that smaller generally implies cheaper, but miniature carries a premium. [...] Gadget prices tend to follow a U-shaped curve: big is expensive, small is cheap, miniature is expensive. The iPad (3) is near the beginning of the curve. The iPhone and iPod Touch are at the end. This new smaller iPad will be in the middle.

Second is that Apple has no problem if iPod sales, including the Touch, continue to be cannibalized by other iOS devices. If a customer walks into the store and sees a (say) $249 smaller iPad and decides to buy that instead of a $299 iPod Touch simply because it’s cheaper and bigger at the same time, that’s still a win for Apple. The customer just bought an iPad.

On the other hand, if a customer walks into the Apple Store and wants to buy something that will fit in their pants pocket or strap onto their arm while exercising, the iPad isn’t even in the picture. They’re going to buy an iPod Touch or an iPhone; it’s simply a question of which one.

What are they going to name it?

You know what other Apple product’s primary attributes are thinness, weight, and price? The MacBook Air. And, no coincidence, the latest revisions to the Air lineup debuted on stage at WWDC without retina displays. We’re a couple of years away from Apple going retina across the board. That’s why my guesses as to what the thing is going to be called go in this order:

1. iPad Air
2. iPad
3. iPad Mini

“Mini” just doesn’t feel like the right way to describe something that’s remarkably thinner and lighter but not that much smaller than the regular iPad. But I wouldn’t bet against any of those three names.

[Daring Fireball]

Post a response / What do you think?