Would a 7-inch iPad be DOA?
Although Apple may have tested a 7-inch iPad prototype, the late Steve Jobs apparently believed such a tablet would have very little chance of success in the hyper-competitive mobile market.
"Jobs was emphatic in his view that 7-inch tablets were dead on arrival (DOA)," Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair wrote in an industry note obtained by AppleInsider.
"We believe it would be unlikely to see the company test the waters in this category anytime soon."
Indeed, back in October 2010, Jobs opined that devs weren't going to deal well with different tablet sizes, which would force them to alter code 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," he added.
As such, says Blair, Apple won't debut any new products in 2012 with a 7-inch display, whether it is an "iPad mini" or a "jumbo" iPod Touch.
Rather, Cupertino will likely maintain its current iPad 2 on the production line - even after the launch of its upcoming third-gen iPad. According to Blair, this strategy would potentially allow Apple to target a lower price point at a mid-tier range.
"We believe iPad 2's price drop could drop to the $349 to $399 range with Apple offering a single 16GB model," the analyst opined.
Blair also noted that the iPad 3 will probably debut in late March or early April. He expects the long-awaited device to feature a retina display, 4G compatibility and Siri functionality, along with higher-resolution cameras in a 1-megapixel front-facing camera and a 3-to-5-megapixel rear-facing camera.