Seven-inch tablet will carve out its own niche


We’ve got a little more to show you” — a few words that electrified the hardware industry and friendly Apple users around the world.

Ever since Apple invited the community to the next big thing on the 23rd of October, tomorrow, the rumors have been growing from minute to minute. But 99% are betting on the launch of an 7-inch iPad. 

It is a surprise that Apple would add a new tablet size to its portfolio, especially because they are still the market leader. And also because of Steve Jobs’ clear statement against any development of a 7-inch tablet not that long ago.

But let’s have a second look at the current market situation:

  • The sales growth rate of 10-inch tablets slowed down in 2012.

  • Media bundlings of digital newspapers (tablet plus news app) weren’t successful because of the really high price.

  • The news app market didn’t generate enough subscriptions to establish a real paid-content solution.

  • A device price of US$500 and higher is too much to reach new target groups like kids, students, and business starters.

At the same time, a mighty alliance to establish a 7-inch tablet was formed: Amazon, Samsung, and Google are pushing (together) the introduction of the new tablet dimension. Other specialists, such as Barnes & Noble, will follow shortly. And in their back pocket, they carried an aggressive opening move: A US$200 price tag on a high-performance tablet.

So Apple didn’t have any choice but to produce a 7-inch tablet. They had to. Otherwise, they would have to risk losing their general leadership in the tablet area. 

The presentation day was chosen very well. Three days later, Microsoft will launch its first tablet: the 10-inch Surface.

The message is clear: “Hey, Steve Ballmer: 2013 will be the year of the 7-inch!”

For developers, the new sizing is more than a smaller (classic) tablet. For me, the 7-inch is a personal device, like a 4-inch smartphone. Ten-inch tablets are for families, couples, and friends — to enjoy games and video together.

Seven-inch apps should offer the ability for personalisation like smartphone apps. They are ideal hardware for daily newspapers and news-driven content solutions. And the usage is not only at home or at work. As with smartphones, the usage is everywhere. Offline usability must be kept in mind.

Talk to your app designers about how to create the best user experience on an 7-inch tablet, which consumers will use during their morning walk to school, workout, or at work. 

You will see: The solution will be really new — neither a smaller 10-inch nor a larger 4-inch solution.

Take the challenge to the next dimension.

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