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The Incredible Shrinking Tablet? ’iPad Mini’ vs. Kindle Fire.

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We saw it happen to the iPod…what started off as a brick of an MP3 player has been reduced down to a size that could fit in the palm of your hand in Apple’s Shuffle or even 6th generation Nano.  Now, with Amazon’s 7” Kindle Fire slated for a mid-November launch, there has been talk of Apple slimming down the iPad from 9.7” to something a bit more compact.

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

While a petite iPod makes sense due to its popular use as a workout companion for many, does the general public want or need a smaller iPad?  The beauty of Apple’s tablet is found in its large screen that is just big enough to provide visual and interactive value above that of your typical smartphone – while remaining just small enough to warrant taking it pretty much anywhere you’d want to go.  The growing number of kids, teens, and adults who want to learn to develop iPad apps of their own is a testament to the device’s size and functionality.

Plus, can the Fire even be considered a true competitor?  The iPad has the same functionality as most laptops, while the Fire doesn’t yet have 3G capabilities and only contains 8GB of memory.  Sure, the Fire is a much better “reader” thanks to its lighter weight and thin dimensions – and could be considered a superior “entertainer” for the same reasons – but the iPad in a class of its own when it comes to all-around capabilities.

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

On a positive note, a smaller iPad should mean lower prices if Apple truly wishes to compete with the $199 Fire.

Who knows how this latest Apple rumor will end.  For now, we can be thankful that technology makes the discussion even possible.