What we should expect, based on early rumors, is a 7.8-inch device that’s less powerful, more affordable and otherwise largely similar to the current iPad.
The size is less about usability than price — Apple could have made a 7-inch tablet from the start, but chose to go with 9.7 inches instead. The smaller size will let Apple hit impulse-buy price levels, competing with the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7.
The iPad has been hugely popular at the $500 price point; something like a, say, $250 price tag would make the iPad appealing to a whole new type of buyer — the person who likes, but doesn’t really care, about tech.
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