Steve Jobs: 7-Inch Tablets Are Too Small to Compete
During yesterday's earnings call, Apple's CEO, as you'd expect, spent a lot of time talking about how Apple's products are way better than anything else mankind has ever known. RIM's business model, according to Jobs, is intrinsically flawed, leading him to conclude that BlackBerry sales won't catch up with the iPhone "in the foreseeable future." And, while he admitted that Android outsold the iPhone during June (when Apple was making the "transition" to the iPhone 4), Jobs took issue with Android's current market share figures, arguing that Apple sells 275,000 iOS devices a day, compared with the estimated 250,000 that Android reportedly moves. The enigmatic CEO also criticized Android's design, which he considers too fragmented to appeal to most consumers. "We believe integrated will trump fragmented every time," he explained. (Hear Jobs' rant in full over at Engadget.)
Jobs' most interesting attack, however, came against the new generation of smaller tablets now competing with his beloved iPad. According to Jobs, these new, 7-inch tablets occupy something of an awkward, purgatorial space between smartphones and true e-readers. "7-inch tablets are tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with the iPad," he declared, effectively defusing rumors that Apple is working on a smaller, 7-inch tablet. Jobs went on to say that the iPad's comparative pricing advantage is so substantial that its competitors are "DOA -- dead on arrival."
Apple's numbers, at least, seem to support Jobs' characteristically bombastic claims. During the fourth quarter of this fiscal year, Apple reportedly shipped 4.2 million iPads--which, according to Bernstein Research, makes it the most rapidly adopted technology in the history of electronic products. Jobs did, however, offer one way in which 7-inch tablets could steal some of the iPad's market share. All manufacturers have to do, he claims, is add sandpaper to their Lilliputian tablets, "so users can sand their fingers down to a quarter of their size." Ouch, and ouch.