NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Rumors of an Apple (AAPL) iPad Mini have persisted for as long as the tablet has been around. If the company does come out with a smaller tablet, this would be a stark shift in ideology for the gadget maker, one which may not resonate with all Apple zealots.
Kokatu has translated a Chinese blog post about a 7.85-inch version of the iPad, something we at TheStreet have often discussed. In a March poll, nearly two-thirds of respondents said they would buy a smaller iPad. However, more than 35% of respondents said they would need to see it first, as there has been concern over whether a 7-inch device would ruin the tablet experience.
Former CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs once said that a 7-inch tablet was "dead on arrival." On a 2010 earnings call, Jobs said, "One naturally thinks that a 7-inch screen would offer 70 percent of the benefits of a 10-inch screen. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. ... The reason we [won't] make a 7-inch tablet isn't because we don't want to hit [a lower] price point, it's because we think the screen is too small to express the software."
The increasing iPad mini chatter comes at a time when Apple's stock is slipping. Shares of the consumer tech giant have posted outsized gains this year, up more than 45%, compared to a 14.7% gain in the Nasdaq, but have lost almost 7% in the past 5 trading days.ISI Group's Brian Marshall notes that an iPad Mini has been rumored for a long time, but does not believe it's the reason for the current weakness in Apple shares. "We doubt the product will hit the shelves anytime soon as we believe Apple's growth with its current 9.7-inch form factor will not slow anytime soon," he wrote, in a note released on Monday. "In our view, Apple will not confuse the market with additional similar product SKUs." Both Amazon (AMZN) and Barnes & Noble (BKS), however, have proven that there is demand for 7-inch tablets, with the Kindle Fire and Nook, respectively. The Kokatu article says the tablet would cost between $249 and $299, similarly priced with offerings from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Apple has steadfastly used one form factor for most of its iDevice line. One size for the iPhone, and one for the iPad. Only the iPod line has multiple form-factors; the iPod Nano and iPod Touch. Tim Cook may be running Apple differently to Jobs, but there hasn't yet been a major product change. If Apple does indeed come out with an "iPad Mini," this would be a clear sign Apple is deviating from the culture and DNA it had under Jobs. Some shareholders, though, may take some convincing about a scaled-down iPad. Apple declined comment for this story. Shares of Apple are lower this morning, off 1.54% to $595.92. Interested in more on Apple? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock. Check out our new tech blog, Tech Trends. Follow TheStreet Tech on your wireless devices. --Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/commodity_bull. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV