Analysts are all over the map when it comes to predicting whether or not Apple has plans to sell a smaller 7.85-inch iPad at some point. One analyst has suggested it’s simply a matter of “when, not if,” Apple will ever launch the device, but another analyst speaking to Benzinga recently said that he doesn’t see it ever happening. In fact, Trip Chowdhry, the Managing Director of Equity Research at Global Equities Research believes the space is far too crowded for Apple to enter and that the Cupertino, California-based company would be better off launching a mini iPhone.
“iPad Mini is not going to cut it because if you create an iPad Mini — which would be a six- to eight-inch device — that market is a congested space,” Chowdhry told Benzinga. “To me, it makes sense to have two form factors on the iPhone,” Chowdhry argued. “Even the current iPhone is considered to be very bulky. Why? To me, on average, a person in the Apple ecosystem also has an iPod and an iPad. If I have an iPad, I don’t want to carry an iPhone at the current size — I want a phone at half the size.”
Chowdhry is right about the congestion within the tablet space, since Amazon’s Kindle Fire is currently the king of that market and Samsung currently has a few tablets in the 7-inch range. Then there’s the Barnes & Noble Nook to worry about, too. Plus, we’d really like access to Apple’s iTunes App Store on a device that’s not too large but larger than the iPhone and iPod touch.
We’re not so sure we agree that the iPhone is too bulky, either. In fact, compared to the Samsung Galaxy Note or even the HTC One X it’s a very small device and we wouldn’t be comfortable with anything smaller than the 3.5-inch screen on today’s iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. You have to take into consideration that a touchscreen QWERTY keyboard would be impossible to type on if a phone’s screen is too small. A device half the size of the iPhone would look like a large box of tic-tacs.
“I think [people] are going to look to smaller form factors for phones because, once you have a tablet, you don’t need that big of an iPhone except in a developing market,” Chowdhry said. “That’s because in developing markets, most people cannot afford an iPad.”
We’re not so sure Apple’s going to launch a smaller iPhone. We think it’s much more likely that Apple will continue its current trend of launching new devices and then cutting the cost of its older-generation phones.