Why We Need A 7-Inch iPad | What The iPad Is Used For

We need a 7 inch iPad and I have written about this before but a recent study causes me to bring up the subject again and see if anyone else agrees with me on why I feel we need a 7-inch iPad.  Here’s the results of that study and why I still feel this way.

Why We Need A 7-Inch iPad


Ok. We don’t “need” a 7-inch iPad but we “want” one.  Admit it. How many times have you left the house and not taken your iPad, only to be out and about using your iPhone and thinking, “I would love to use my iPad more but it’s just too big to carry around”?

I know I have.  And I want so much to take my iPad with me but it’s awkward.  It’s perfectly thin and light but the overall size is just too big for me to whip it out at the store or on a commuter train or even at a restaurant and so stuff on it.

Which brings me to the point of this entire article.  We need a 7-inch iPad for doing things.  The current iPad is perfect for consuming and that’s great; perhaps that’s all it was ever meant to be (confirmed by the original announcement in 2010).

Look at this data that was brought to light by one of my favorite bloggers over at Gigaom, Darrell.  The results of the survey done by AdMob show that most people (82%) are using their iPad at home and only 11% on the go.

Some of the comments from that article also point out that a lot of people are not using their iPad out of the house due to costly data plans but I slightly disagree.  Even with a free data plan, I would still want something right between an iPhone and the iPad.

In my recent article on why I felt the upcoming Blackberry Playbook will be a success is mostly due to it’s size.  Once people begin to see that you can take a 7-inch tablet with you far easier than a 10-inch one, then I really feel there will be a lot of momentum and pressure on Apple to make a smaller version of the iPad; even though Steve Jobs has publicly stated they won’t.

Many Tablets

Perhaps we are just discovering how tablet computer will become a part of our lives.  The larger ones will replace laptops in the homes for consumption but a new generation of tablets become the ones that we take outside of the home and use for task lists, to do lists, calendars, and all of the other things typically associated with “doing” instead of just “consuming”.

I can completely see a time where we have a 7 inch tablet that is also our phone and a 10 inch tablet that we use primarily at home which replaces the laptop.  And then we have a desktop for the “powerful” work.

Maybe I’m way off base but mark this down. One year from now we will either see the iPad get a “baby brother” or we will see a lot of people using the Tab and the Playbook outside of the home whilst enjoying their iPad 2 and 3 inside the home.  And maybe this is exactly how Steve Jobs envisioned it, but recent comments from the Woz have me believing that the real vision of Steve Jobs in regards to the iPad is that it’s still young and has a long way to go.

What about you? Do you use your iPad in the home or out of the home? And how do you really feel about the 7 inch tablet?

Originally posted 2011-04-09 15:34:28.


  1. Janis says:

    My iPad is almost never more than arm’s length from me. I use it at home. I use it at work. I use it when working out (well, okay, only on the stationary bike or when using a workout app). It fits inside my shoulder bag/purse without making me look as though I’m carrying pricey tech around with me. As someone who only recently upgraded my first-gen iPhone to an iPhone 4, I’m really appreciating the screen size of my iPad 2 – and am in no hurry to give up any of it.

    On the other hand, my husband talks wistfully of “if only it were a little smaller” because he doesn’t like to carry a gear bag – so I wonder how the size issue breaks down by gender. (Insert he/she size-related jokes here.)

    1. Shane says:

      Hi Janis…thanks for the comment…LOL…love that size reference! I do wonder myself if it actually breaks down by gender and age, etc?

      I’m in the camp with your husband where I wish it were just a little bit smaller…just a bit….

      1. Todd says:


        I think your observations and comments are right on the money. Steve Jobs may think he can discipline the market place with his one size IPad, or he may all ready know that he can’t and he’s throwing a head fake to the competition. Either way your smaller IPad will soon happen. Jobs is a master and smart as a tack! (showing my age with that idiom!).

        Place your bets, I think a year from now your guesses will be pretty close.


        1. Shane says:

          Thanks Todd. I feel the same way….I mean after all look at he iPod lineup. And just because Steve said no smaller iPad does not mean they are not working on one anyway…..it’s going to happen if the market dictates the need.

          1. Jim says:

            Once Apple doubles the resolution for the iPad 3, we might see a 7-inch iPad at the current resolution.

            1. Shane says:

              Hi there Jim,
              Thanks for the comment…I agree….we aren’t going to see a smaller iPad until a few things change from the hardware perspective and resolution – but then I feel we will see one unless the other 7-inch tablets fail miserably.

              1. Rick says:

                I’ve got an iPad2, and I also have a BlackBerry Playbook. The Playbook is buggy at times and limited in the apps it has as well as the smoothness of operations, but more often than not I take the Playbook with me lately simply because of the size difference.

                I’m still on the fence as to whther I will keep the Playbook and seel the iPad, or return the Playbook and keep the iPad. There are many, many things I prefer about the ipad, but portability isn’t one of them. I’m on a business trip all week, and tucked the PB easily into my bag without a second thought; the iPad is sitting on my desk at home.

                If there were a 7″ iPad I’d without question buy it, return the Playbook, and sell the iPad2. What I’ve found so far is that a 7″ tablet is literally the perfect mix of portability and screen real estate.

  2. Matthew says:

    BlackBerry is about to release a 7.6″ LCD Tablet called the “Playbook”. It looks to be far better then the ipad 2

    1. Shane says:

      Hey there Matthew. It does look like a very compelling tablet and I’m excited to see it. The two things it needs to compete are full email and calendaring without needing a blackberry phone and it needs a ton of useful apps.

    2. Jim says:

      As a developer, I can say the Playbook is not better. In fact, it will be more fragmented than Android with five development methods: Blackberry Java, Android 2.3 (these will look crappy), native SDK with C/C++, HTML5, and Air. Apple has iOS, which is the best SDK, and HTML5. A dynamic environment is needed for tablets, phones, etc.—not C/C++. Objective C is the most dynamic follow by Java and C#. What reason will developers have for using Blackberry’s native SDK? Most will take the easy Android route or, more likely, HYML5. But the Android runtime is a not going to be a good experience.

      1. Shane says:

        Hi Jim,

        I thought more about your answer and I think you are right – from a developer standpoint the fragmentation is a killer and this was just recently brought up in a news story about the Android Fragmented market taking a toll on developers.

        From a consumer point of view, I wonder if they care or if they will adopt the smaller tablets just because of the convenience of the size?

        1. Jim says:

          Most users want simplicity on a tablet device. IOS provides this in conjunction with universal synchronizing of iDevices through iTunes, and soon through the cloud. HTML5 is also automatic through Safari. RIM has a similar advantage, like Apple, in that they control the hardware (unlike Google). Unfortunately, RIM’s real SDK is based on a static language, which will result in more work for the programmer and a poorer experience for the tablet user. Beyond their native environment and HTML5 chaos will probably rein in RIM land, particularly with the low-resolution Android phone apps. legacy Java, and the resource hog that is AIR. Even the XOOM is not this complicated and it was canned for being too complex, as well as incomplete and buggy.

          1. Shane says:


            This is excellent information – - you don’t get this kind of info in the marketing jargon :)

            I have often wondered how this is viewed through the eyes of the developer – who really are the driving force behind the platforms. If it were not for the developers, there certainly would not be over 80,000 iPad apps…but I wonder if this can all be fixed by the other platforms or if they simply have chosen a path that will be a struggle for some time to come.

            Certainly, they know that the key is to have something people want but the driving force behind that success is having developers on board. This is what happened with Vista….no one was developing for it….

  3. Einer says:

    What I need is not 7′ screen but more like 2x iPhone size.

    1. Shane says:

      So maybe a 6″ tablet….one that fits right in your pocket?

      1. Janis says:

        Ha! See, this fits into the gender divide theory, the notion that a device twice the size of an iPhone could fit into your pocket. Maybe that would work for guys, but not for the gals. You’ll be lucky to find even a single small pocket on typical women’s office attire. I’m excited when I find a pocket that fits my iPhone.

        A lot of interesting responses to your post, Shane.

        1. Shane says:

          Ha! I love it too….that’s the great thing about these types of posts – and I completely encourage the discussion….well, come to think of it, you are right Janis – I’ve never seen a woman’s attire that had those big pockets either…perhaps bell bottoms will come back and those had pretty big pockets I think?

          1. Janis says:

            Maybe you’re thinking of cargo pants? ;-)

  4. Robert L. says:

    I really don’t like the 7″ tablet idea for myself. I read books / magazines, watch videos, one on one presentations, and work with a multitude of productivity apps. I can’t imagine giving up my real estate to do these tasks on. Maybe reading a book on a 7″… oh yeah the kindle. :-) Seriously though I would have a hard time giving up the screen space.

    1. Shane says:

      Robert…do you do a lot of this at home or do you tend to take the iPad with you do it?

      1. Robert L. says:

        About 30% at home and 70% out and about. It stays with me all day.

        1. Shane says:

          Wow. I am happy to hear this Robert – - I was thinking that most people really did just use it at home and i was losing hope for the productivity of it all!

          1. Robert L. says:

            About half the people I know that have iPads use them the same. Even though we personally them we use them a lot for work.

            My dad owns one uses it more out than I. It is also interesting to see how much he has integrated it into his role as a deacon in the church. Of course the Book cant be replaced on the alter but he uses it in so many contexts it’s amazing. Just goes to prove no one sees all the potential uses of the iPad.

            1. Shane says:

              Yes and this is what I love about the tablet. Steve Jobs gives us something that he says is good for email and browsing and look what we do with it!!!!

              1. Matthew says:

                Well for me I’m an advantageous BlackBerry fan. I almost purchased the iPad 2, but after careful consideration i have decided to go with the Playbook. I truly enjoy the simplicity of the BlackBerry vs. the iphone. I’m hoping this carries through to the Playbook. The #1 reason I was detoured from the iPad is the lack of support for Flash content. What is the point of having a stripped down browsing experience ? Personally, I really enjoy seeing web pages in their full glory. and I really don’t want to have to use a 3rd party program to watch Hulu or view youtube clips. Another HUGE selling point for me is that the Playbook can run Microsoft Office, powerpoint, Excel, ect.. I honestly wish it was the same size as the iPad, but i’ll just have to manage the smaller 7″ screen. Apps or No apps, I think the Blackberry is the closest thing to a laptop that the table market has seen,

                1. Shane says:

                  Thanks Matthew. I really think that the playbook will be a major player. Th size aside…it will be a huge hit in the enterprise because that’s where blackberry is strongest. The only area they will struggle is the email issue and needing own a blackberry to get email…but I’m sure that will get resolved fairly quickly.

                  1. Matthew says:

                    I’m glad I own a BB then. But aside from that. couldn’t one use a 3rd party email just as easy ?

                    1. Shane says:

                      Oh totally – in fact one could use web based email, calendar and contacts very easily…I think those without blackberry’s though will be a bit dismayed but RIM will get this issue resolved I have no doubt

  5. Janis says:

    Another thought about using the iPad while out and about has to do with context. Here are three (admittedly anecdotal) examples just based on my own use:

    1. I met with a vendor to discuss some work that he might do for us. As I’ve mentioned, I work for a small nonprofit. I use my personal iPad (a birthday gift from my husband) for work and it would have been a useful planning tool for that meeting. However, I didn’t want to give the vendor the wrong impression at the first meeting that he was dealing with a client with deep pockets. The iPad stayed in my purse.

    2. I recently had a flat tire in a sketchy neighborhood – by myself, after dark. I would have loved to have used my iPad while waiting for roadside service to arrive, but didn’t want to attract the wrong kind of attention.

    3. Meanwhile, I’ve no problem using the iPad while out and about with friends – at each other’s homes or at public events. We sat under a tree at a festival, ate a picnic lunch and passed an iPad around as we looked up items of interest relating to the festival.

    Here’s an unexpected demographic: Of my closest group of friends (there are six of us), four have iPads and one is planning on getting one to use in her small retail business. We are a webmistress, a physician, a civil engineer working in logistics for a Fortune 500 company (with two young iPad-loving nephews), the owner of a yarn shop, and a human resources/office management professional. And we are all women who knit and who are between the ages of 36 and 60.

    1. Shane says:

      Janis…this is very very interesting….so it seems you are actually using it outside of the home and also using it as a way to do your business but there are improvements that could be made, correct?

      1. Janis says:

        Definitely, for myself and for my group of friends, too. Our primary issue with using the iPad outside of the home or office is self-consciousness (not wanting to be show-offs) and security. The self-conscious aspect will change when more people are using tablets.

        1. Matthew says:

          are you serious? To me that sounds like buying a Lexus when all you can afford is a Toyota. What is the point of owning something… anything, if you cant afford it. The price is CHEAP in comparison to a laptop or a desktop. Are you those kind of people that buy cars and are sooo worried about people scratching your car? If your worried about someone stealing your iPad, then you should not own one! If it is a personal safety issue then I think you ladies should attend some self -defiance and self-confidence courses.

          1. Janis says:

            Way to jump to some false conclusions, Matthew. You really didn’t get what I was saying.

            As for self-”defiance” – no problems there. ;-)

  6. Robert L. says:

    I have seen a couple of comments here and elsewhere on not wanting to flash an iPad in business, personal business, or even just with friends. I completely disagree. One of my favorite authors who I read his books at least once a year is Napoleon Hill. He goes into great length about looking your best, wearing the best clothes, using the best tools, etc as you are as successful and confident as you think and portray yourself to be. What do you see when you have a casual dresser with a flipbook representing a company vs a well dressed (no gold chains – lol) with the latest tools at his disposal? I would want to do business with the more successful looking one. There is a reason he is more successful!

    Just my side note for thought. Of course I do agree with not flashing your iPad in places that may draw the wrong attention for safety’s sake. But that is where a nice portfolio, case, or cover comes into place. I have several and choose accordingly to where I am going. My all time favorite for this is my BookBook case.

    1. Shane says:

      Ha. I love that Robert – and it’s true…but I think a lot of people didn’t want to flash their iPads around mostly because they did not want to draw attention to themselves….but now that they are out there more and everyone kind of knows about them I see more and more people using them. I even saw someone in a restaurant the other night with their iPad on the tablet and they were reading a book.

    2. Janis says:

      Well said, Robert – and I agree! There is ostentatiousness and then there is being a savvy professional. I regularly use my iPad in the course of my work and that includes high-level meetings. The only time I felt shy about it was a first meeting with a vendor, actually our web designer. I didn’t want him to think that I had a big budget to match my tech “toy” (not that it’s a toy to me, but you know how some people see it). I also didn’t want him to think that I was going into our first meeting trying to out-tech him. It was *his* show, not mine. The iPad stayed out of sight – just for that first meeting.

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