The 8 inch iPad

The 7 inch iPad rumors that I wrote about before have now become ~8 inch iPad rumors. My point last time was that the price people were fantasizing about was too low. Guess what, this time it’s the same thing.

At least for the 8 inch iPad rumors, the hardware particulars have evolved to make more sense:

  • Same display tech as the iPhone 3GS: non-retina 163 pixels/inch.
  • Same pixel count as the iPads 1 and 2: 1024 by 768.

From these, several other specs follow:

  • Same aspect ratio as the other iPads of 4:3.
  • Diagonal screen size of 7.85 inches.
  • Apps could run as if they are on an iPad 1 or 2, using the same 1x resources without adjustment.
  • UI elements would be smaller than the full iPad, but they would be the same size as on the iPhone because they are made (nominally) with the same pixel count and thus appeared larger on a regular iPad.

With the same pixel count as a non-retina iPad, it would only require the A5 of the iPad 2, which was recently shrunk for the “new" iPad 2 being sold along side the iPad 3. With a non-retina screen, it wouldn’t need as much RAM as the iPad 3, so would have 512MB like the iPad 2.

Price

Where things still got unbelievable was the price. Once Google announced their Nexus 7 Android tablet at $199, everyone was talking about the 8 inch iPad as if it would sell for $199. Again, it was more wishing for a cheap iPad. As i said before, that cheap $199 iPad is the 8GB iPod touch that everyone keeps forgetting about. In other words: no way that there will be a $199 iPad.

Even the fact that Google said they are not making money on the hardware at $199 didn’t seem to make people realize that a $199 iPad would not be real. Some made the rationalization that Apple is able to make better manufacturing deals than everybody else (generally true), and so they could produce the same hardware as someone else for less and thus make a profit. I still find this a stretch at $199 unless a non-retina 8GB iPod touch appears for $149.

Also, how much storage would it have for $199? It seems a stretch to say anything beyond 8GB at that price, which would be pretty small for an iPad. However, the idea is that with iTunes Match, you wouldn’t need to keep your entire music library on it. I have my doubts since if I took all the music off my iPad now, the rest would still not fit in 32GB. Sure, I’m not average, but most of the space is apps. Remember, that on a non-retina device, the app still contains retina resources, so they are larger these days. Maybe Apple can update iTunes to strip retina resources when syncing to non-retina devices, but I think 8GB would be tight.

When I estimated a hypothetical 7 inch iPad price at about $349, it was assuming it would have a retina display. So, let’s see what one with a non-retinal display would be.

We’ll assume these specs:

  • 1024x768, non-retina, 163 ppi, 7.85 inch display.
  • A5 system chip (updated version)
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 16 GB flash storage

I think this would be $299. If it starts at 8GB, then maybe $249. Basically though, $100 less than the current re-issue of the 16 GB iPad 2.