It may seem obvious that Apple needed to offer a smaller iPad now but when I suggested the idea in November of 2011 I received criticism from many who thought Apple didn’t need to “dilute” its product assortment of iPods and large iPads. Steve Jobs also disagreed with me but as Henry Blodget points out, Steve was wrong.
And this was a rare misstep for Jobs who showed a God-given ability to know what consumers want across various industries -before even they did.
The challenge however for Apple remains the same as the one I pointed out when I first tested the Motorola Droid X.
The reason Apple lost the PC war had to do with the open nature of the PC market – where competition led to a huge price/performance advantage for computers based on the Microsoft operating system. An array of PC makers pushed the PC market forward and took share from Apple rather rapidly. At a certain point developers of leading-edge applications abandoned releasing heir applications for Macs first and started to develop for the PC as their primary platform.
In the mobile world things are very different but still the same. Mobile devices have varying screen sizes and resolutions as well as differing performance specifications. In the PC world – monitors and graphics cards could vary widely and be added on a base PC configuration. It is very difficult for consumers to determine which mobile device is fastest but they can differentiate screen sizes quite easily.
So screen size is a very important area of differentiation.
Now that Apple has a smaller tablet at a premium price they have blunted the expanding ecosystem of seven-inch tablets from the likes of Google and Amazon.
The next front in this war is the Samsung line of large phones; the Galaxy S3 and the Note II – both devices have expansive real estate. The iPhone 5 in landscape mode is much better than the 4S but it still isn’t big enough. Apple needs an iLane Bryant phone – something wider than its current offering. Let’s call it the iPhone Plus.
This is the only way to blunt the onslaught of wider Android phones which continue to take share.