The late Steve Jobs was emphatically dismissive of so-called “’tweener tablets” – those sitting in the (former) no man’s land between smartphones and full-sized tablets in the 10in arena.
Of course, Apple ultimately bowed to the pressure last year, launching the 7.9in iPad mini in October, and the big guys appear to be suffering at the hands of the ‘tweeners.
A graph from some chaps called DisplaySearch shows how dramatically things have changed in just one month.
Poor old 9.7in shipments supposedly fell from 7.4 million in December 2012 to just 1.3 million in January 2013. Cripes.
Meanwhile, in the same period, combined shipments of 7in and 7.9in displays rose healthily, from 12 million to 14 million.
The analysts reckon Apple is aiming to shift 55 million iPad minis in 2013, and just (ahem) 33 million 9.7in iPads.
However, it’s acknowledged that ever-increasing smartphone sizes are muddying the waters. The recently announced Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 and Asus FonePad (7in) both have phone capabilities, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is tipped to weigh in at more than 6in.
Price will also be a factor. The smaller chaps have typically been more affordable, but as specs increase and the category reaches for premium positioning, will people be willing to pay top dollar for medium-sized devices?