MG Siegler has some good points about why it would make sense for Apple to release a 7.85-inch iPad. I still don’t agree with this, though:
But even at a high level, all of this is too technical. The bottom line is that there isn’t a week that goes by without someone coming up to me and gushing about the iPad, but wishing it was a bit smaller. Not everyone feels this way, of course. And that’s why Apple will keep the 9.7 inch model as well. But there are plenty of folks out there who want a smaller version.
Like I said, of all the people I have talked to in the past two years about the iPad – not just “nerds”, as you would suspect from a tech writer – no one ever asked me about a smaller version. In fact, in my experience, people are typically afraid a screen so portable and relatively small could make for a bad reading experience for prolonged sessions. And that’s exactly what Apple is trying to improve with the Retina display.
I’m not sure about the need of a smaller iPad yet, but read MG’s post for some good counterarguments.