Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Smaller iPads Coming?

We have long awaited the emegence of OLED technology into the mass device market and it could be Apple's trump card if rumours in Digitimes are to be believed. They claim a second generation of the iPad, using 5.6" and 7" OLED panels by the end of the year. We will read that as January and at the usual Apple show.

The first quarter date may also tie in with rumoured iPad orders to Taiwan-based component makers for the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011.

So are Apple targeting the eInk 'Lookie likie' market and aiming to take them out with one swipe? Are they watching the tablet market and trying to spread their attraction to the lower end? The use of OLED is certainly a major shift and one that could give them significant traction if they can get the price right.

Remember Steve Jobs 2008 quote on the Kindle, "It doesn't matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don't read anymore... The whole concept is flawed at the top because people don't read anymore.” Well perhaps everyone makes a mistake.


Judy Astley said...

Smaller iPads? Isn't that something I've already got? I think it's called an "iPhone".

Michael W. Perry said...

The rumored sizes are a good choice. The smaller should fit in a shirt pocket and the larger inside a coat pocket. Both would make excellent office-on-the-go tools, since the screen on the iPhone/touch is too small for productive reading, writing or other tasks and the iPad a pain to lug about if you have no other reason for carrying a bag or brief case.

The OLED rumors are less exciting. If an OLED screen uses less energy and thus offers a longer battery life, it'll be OK. But if they don't, the beautiful LCD technology in the iPad is a far better choice.

I'm also bothered that the rumors include the suggestion that the new devices will target the ebook market rather than the broader spectrum of uses made of iPads, iPhones and iPod touches. That could lead to a crippled product, something Apple does far too often. No sensors for gamers. No camera or mike for Skype or FaceTime. No GPS for travelers. In short, a product too crippled to be of much value for anything but reading.

It'd mean that Apple marketing wants to get into a silly contest with Amazon et al to see who can make a product that does as little as possible. With the Kindle, the Nook, and Sony's readers, that market is so full, a price war has started. Apple would be foolish to try to compete there.