In a report today, the spectre of the 7 inch iPad mini once again raised its head as a new report from United Daily News (via MacRumors) suggested that LG has been shipping 7.85 inch LCD touchscreens to Apple. The touchscreens are reportedly sporting the same resolution as the current iPad (1024 x 768) and are apparently destined for testing in a new 7 inch iPad mini, reported to be entering production next year.
This, unfortunately, may be little more than wishful thinking for a couple of reasons. Not to doubt the source of the rumor, but the reasoning behind it. Putting that aside, the first and major reason is essentially Steve Jobs’ derisive comments around 7 inch tablets which suggested that Apple had no interest in creating a device that would fill the gap between the current iPad and the iPhone/iPod touch.
Another issue would be the simple question of why? The iPad is what it is and so is the iPhone and iPod. While that may sound peculiarly simplistic, the alternative way of phrasing it is that the iPad is a tablet and the iPhone is a phone. They both have form designed for function. There would be no other reason to build an iPad mini other than to release a device which is exactly halfway in between the iPhone and iPad in terms of screen size. What contribution or function could a screen of this size serve other than being an intermediate device?
On the flip side, there is a possible use for which Apple could be thinking of using a 7 inch touchscreen; A game controller for the next gen Apple TV. A 7 inch device would absolutely be the perfect size for gaming. Being honest, it’s about as likely a destination for a 7 inch screen as an iPad mini.