The iPad Shuttle: Make It, Apple

Not even Apple understands the tablet market

Steve Jobs was certain that a 7-inch tablet couldn’t see any success, but Amazon seems to be disproving that.

I know Jobs was adamant that a 9.7″ screen was ideal.

But he once also dismissed flash-memory music players and eBooks. Then wound up doing the iPod Shuffle and iBooks/iBookstore.

In similar manner, I think Tim Cook needs to see the wisdom of releasing a 7″ iPad. I’d call it the iPad Shuttle.

For over a week I’ve been looking at various Android tablets, wondering if perhaps the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus, mythical 7.7, or now-available 8.9 would suit my needs.

But what happens is that it all comes down to a single thing: The apps.

The Android marketplace is a mess. There are 2.x, 3.x, and soon 4.x devices. Making matters worse are entrants such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon, with their even more restrictive stores (that, for instance, shut out competing eBook software), and their Android that does not look like Android.

With over a hundred million Android devices out there, where is the quality, breadth and depth of apps to rival that of iOS?

I’m not sure there ever will be. There’s no cohesion with Android as there is with iOS.

And I discovered something that I hope will convince Tim Cook to do an iPad Shuttle.

I discovered that I really want two devices for two different kinds of use.

I want a smaller unit — an iPad Shuttle — that I can easily tote along for on-the-go blogging, reading, and accessing websites. (As much as I like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, it all comes down to apps — and there just aren’t the industrial-strength apps that iOS has.)

And I need an iPad, for reading the huge collection of Google Books PDFs I have and those from the Internet Archive (see posts here and here), and to use all of those wonderful apps it has.

I don’t think I’m alone in this desire, either.

In fact, I think many people who went out and bought the Kindle Fire and Nook Color/Tablet found themselves in this position, but they all believed that going to Android would be just as good as the experience they had with iOS.

I don’t think this is unusual:

Sure, some people bought the Kindle Fire and Nook Color/Tablet primarily for reading — but wouldn’t they have bought an iPad Shuttle primarily for that too, had one been available?

I think so.

I think Apple can cement its position in tablets by offering such as device.

I think the time has come for the iPad Shuttle.

Do it, Tim Cook. Make it, Apple.

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11 Comments

Filed under Amazon Kindle, Android, Apple: The Company

11 responses to “The iPad Shuttle: Make It, Apple

  1. The Fire streams just fine, thank you very much. Why lock yourself into iBooks’ limitations or iPad’s vig if you’re primarily using it to read stuff on another company’s reader? You can sideload stuff on the Fire too, hello…I’m betting 2nd gen will have hardware tweaks that will make it awful hard for anybody, including apple, to beat. Cameras & micro SD, Amazon! Make it so!

    • mikecane

      Maybe it won’t stream stuff he already has on his own home machines, like the iPad can.

      And as I point out in the post, it all comes down to apps, and they’re not there for Android as they are for iOS — and I doubt they ever will be. Microsoft has a better chance of attracting those devs. Android has had years and the devs aren’t flocking to it as they have to iOS.

  2. The issue I’ve had with Android devices is that they are not as hearty as Macs. I have Macs at home but use an android phone. I hate it. It’s like my old XP machines. I find the same limitations with android tabs vs my iPad. I’m not a fan boy. I just want my stuff to work and do a few things well. I don’t need to mess around with the insides. It has to last.

  3. Jim

    It does sort of boil down to fragmentation. Apps designed for 9.7″ screens will be suboptimal on a 7″ screen, and developers don’t want to develop multiple versions of the same app to accommodate different screen sizes/resolutions. Steve Jobs wanted to avoid fragmentation to ensure the user experience was at its best. It will be interesting to see if Tim Cook will go against that view and embrace fragmentation. Better yet, maybe Apple can figure out how to work around multiple screen sizes without hurting the user experience.

    • mikecane

      I think iOS would work on a 7″, 7.5″, or 8″ screen just fine. The fragmentation with Android is due to too many devices with too many OS versions and different UIs (Samsung TouchWiz, HTC Sense, B&N Nook Color/Touch, Kindle Fire, etc).

      • immovableobject

        An existing iPad app with UI elements that are already at the limits of being spaced tightly will absolutely be unusable on a smaller screen. (Unless, as Steve Jobs suggested, you sandpaper your fingers to points.)

      • mikecane

        Yes, you’re probably right. Some people have suggested that anything smaller than the iPad’s current screen would have to use the UI from the iPhone.

  4. Ant-on

    I really still have to see an app (except Siri, of course) that ios has, which isn’t on android.
    Most (if not all) android apps, work on all devices, except the really old ones, so…..

    • mikecane

      What? There are many iOS apps that don’t have Android versions.

      • Ant-on

        Well…. not really, yeah theres itunes and Siri, but nearly everything else has an android version, or an equivalent android app, and as I told you, 99% of all apps works on all androids which are 2.2+ (which are 95% of them without counting cooked roms).

  5. ClockworkZombie

    I would like a 5″ all in one device like perhaps the galaxy note, combining telephony with the tablet. If Nokia made a win phone thingy I would be very interested.

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