I mentioned last Friday that I would point out something within the framework with what Apple has shown us that points the Apple tablets with less than 10". That feature is the new split keyboard that will soon be available in iOS 5. And this split keyboard will allow Apple
During a few financial calls back, Steve Jobs disparaged those tablets on the market with less than 10" screen. It was the 7" Galaxy Tab that Steve Jobs are up in arms about. Steve Jobs basically said that unless users are able to file down their fingers to tap at the screen, it would make no sense for users to operate a tablet with a less than 10" screen. As I was listening in on that call, I thought to myself, "well, the iPhone and iPod touch had a pretty small screen. In fact, they are 6.5 inches smaller than the 10" iPad and they seem to work just as well".
I think what Steve Jobs was ranting about in particular was the keyboard. As for trying to type with both hands in landscape mode, the 10" screen on the iPad is just perfect. In the portrait mode, you're forced to tap at the keys or use your thumbs but unless you've got a larger than normal hand, you can have problem trying to reach for certain keys while trying to hold the iPad at the same time.
This is where the split keyboard comes into play.
Now, consider trying to do the same on a 5" to 9" tablet. A full sized keyboard on these screens might be possible on a 9" screen but anything below that, you have to have a child's hand to be able to peck at the keyboards in landscape mode accurately. And if you try typing in portrait mode, everything from a 6" and bigger screen, you run into the similar problem you do know with the 10" tablet. Depending on the size of your hands, you will have a hard time typing with your thumbs while trying to steady the tablet.
This is where the split keyboard in iOS 5 comes into play. The split keyboard would allow Apple to make a smaller sized iPad or a bigger sized iPod touch and allow the user to be able to type with their thumbs more easily, thereby, eliminating the problem of trying to type to peck at the keys with your fingers as you type.
Here is a video the split keyboard works. See how with split keyboard allows you to type and reach all the keys and smaller icons without having to try and reach the middle of the screen with your thumbs.
On top of that, the increasing chatter about and iPod touch with 3G modem makes very little sense. I think the people who are leaking these news may not have all facts. I think it makes more sense that there could be a smaller sized tablet, or, again, a bigger sized iPod touch with the room for a 3G modem and a large enough battery to give this tablet sufficient battery life.
And the split keyboard would work great on it. So, what do you think? Do you think I'm on to something or am I just grasping at straws? The main point here is this. Apple cannot ignore the mid-sized segment of the market indefinitely. It is a spot where Apple's competitors could try to grab a foothold in the tablet market and expand from them. Apple will eventually have to nip it in the butt. And one more thing: Apple, particularly Steve Jobs, has a way of saying that Apple won't do something but exactly a year or so later, do exactly what they said they wouldn't do.
They said they would never make an iPod that plays video. Jobs said no one in America reads anymore but we all know where we are with iBooks. And what better way for Apple to do a 180 on the no 7" iPad than to come out with one a full year later - complete with iOS 5, split keyboard, and 3G access.
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