Back in 2010, Steve Jobs had famously taken a dig at Apple’s competitors for launching tablets that sport a 7-inch screen. Steve Jobs had this to say about upcoming tablets from Apple’s competitors at that time:
Just a handful of credible entrants. Almost all use 7″ screen, compared to iPad at nearly 10″ screen. 7″ screen is only 45% as large as iPad’s screen. Hold an iPad in portrait view and draw a horizontal line halfway down. What’s left is a 7″ screen…too small. There are clear limits to how close elements can be on the screen before users can’t touch accurately. We believe 10-inch screen is minimum necessary.
The reason we won’t make a 7-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit that price point, it’s because we think the screen is too small to express the software.
We know developers aren’t going to deal well with these different sizes and they have to change their software every time the screen size changes.
When we make decisions on 7-inch tablets it’s not about cost, it’s about the value of the product when you factor in the software.
We’re all about making the best products at aggressive prices and that’s what we do, and that’s what we will do with the iPad and iPod.
But now that Amazon has launched their Android based tablet – Kindle Fire, which has been hugely successful, there have been some rumors that Apple may be reconsidering their decision and may launch a 7-inch iPad.
Jakob Nielsen – a noted usability guru has made some interesting observations based on the usability sessions he ran with Kindle Fire. He writes:
The most striking observation from testing the Fire is that everything is much too small on the screen, leading to frequent tap errors and accidental activation. You haven’t seen the fat-finger problem in its full glory until you’ve watched users struggle to touch things on the Fire. One poor guy spent several minutes trying to log in to Facebook, but was repeatedly foiled by accidentally touching the wrong field or button — this on a page with only 2 text fields and 1 button.
His advice to content providers is to develop specialized mobile sites for 7-inch devices like Kindle Fire as “accessing full (desktop) sites on the Fire was a prescription for failure” assuming they have the resources.
You can checkout the complete report here.
Please don’t forget to let us know what you think in the comments. Do you still want Apple to launch a 7-inch tablet?