Incredibly Shrinking Tablets

Apple iPad 2 WhiteA rumor’s floating around that Apple may launch a new version of the iPad in 2012. I’m not talking about the iPad 3, but a smaller device with a 7.85-inch screen that could be released toward the end of the year. If the rumor’s true, then products like Amazon’s Kindle Fire (7-inch screen) and new smartphones like Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus (4.65-inch screen) has Cupertino rattled. Our blogger Vincent Chow doesn’t buy it, and neither do I.

Tablets have become hot because they do a bunch of things well. You can write on them, crunch numbers, play games, watch movies and handle email, all in a device that makes a netbook look bulky. But what makes tablets so useful is the fundamentals of their design. Typing on an iPad isn’t like typing on an iPod touch, and using a Kindle Fire isn’t like using a Galaxy Tab.

Besides that, this tale of shrinking iPads misses a key point: These smaller devices are cheaper. If games and Web browsing are your life, buying a simpler and less expensive machine makes sense. But if you plan to do a lot more, you need something with full capabilities—including controls that won’t seize up your fingers and screens that won’t make you blind (HD or not, size matters).

So I’m guessing Apple’s not going to get onto this particular path anytime soon. It’s got bigger fish to fry. I’m waiting for the one-button remote. But, that’s just me. I planned to jump on the iPad 3 when it launches. But should I wait? Tell me what you think by posting a comment below.

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