There has been lots of speculation around the possibility of a smaller iPad that’s on the horizon. In all likelihood it will be between 7-8” (with many predicting 7.85” exactly). If you haven’t read John Gruber’s piece from this week, it’s required reading. While I’m not in a place to speculate on the new iPad’s existence, I do want to throw my hat in the ring and predict its name.
First, I think iPod-inspired nano or mini monikers are out (Sorry Dan Benjamin, no iPad Jr. either). Those names came for entirely new product lines with distinct features and branding. I don’t think this iPad will be that way. Apple seems to want to unify the iPad brand which is exactly why they went with the new iPad when it launched in March. They are going for unification, not division.
I believe where we should look is to their computers, specifically the MacBook Pro. For years, Apple has branded their computers by the line and screen size with the specific model being something like 13-inch, mid 2009^1^. When you go to the Apple Store online you click MacBook Pro and then chose your screen size. Try it for yourself. It seems to me that they want that kind of simplicity across all of their product lines, especially where computers are involved. Since we all can agree that iPads are more closely related to computers than iPods I think that’s how they will move.
So if the new iPad is introduced, I expect the matrix to look something like this:
That’s how it could be initially. When they update to newer iPads, they will stick to iPad (7-inch or 9-inch, 4th generation). I don’t know if they will move the 7-inch iPad up to 4th generation or not, but it seems likely to keep things consistent across their product line.
If Apple does in fact release this new iPad, one thing is for sure: it will sell like hotcakes no matter what it’s called.
In fact, when they launched the 13-inch Pro in June 2009 that is exactly what it was called.
One interesting thing to note on the MacBook Air is that Apple rounds down their screen sizes. The 11” Air has an 11.6” screen yet they call it an 11”. That’s why I’m guessing that the smaller iPad will be called 7” instead of 8”.