Let’s take the original iPod. Looking at it now, it was big. However, at the time, with the technology available to them, Apple released what they felt was the best product they could make.
Then Apple came out with the iPod mini, which later became the iPod nano, capturing another segment of the market. That release was followed up by the iPod shuffle, again capturing another segment of the market.
It was changes in technologies that allowed these products to be released, but I believe Apple had planned the releases all along.
When you look at a 7-inch iPad, or any other Apple product, don’t look at how it affects its competitors, but rather how it fits into Apple’s product strategy. Doing that will make things a lot clearer.
I shared my thoughts on a 7-inch Apple device last month. At the time, I was thinking such a device could be a good place to reposition the iPod touch. Jim’s thoughts on how Apple has historically acted has me reconsidering. The iPad is a runaway hit, and it would be foolish not to expand that product line.
The iPod’s time to reign has come and gone. Now it is the iPad’s. That’s the household name these days, and that’s what Apple will stick with.