Seven Inch iPads? Kindle Fire?

MacRumors posted a series of images from Ciccarese Design showing a potential seven inch iPad.  I don’t want to post photos, but I will link to the article.

If people want a seven inch iPad, I’m fine with that.  But for music use, I don’t want anything smaller than my current iPad.  I’ve mentioned this many times, but I would be far more tempted to buy an eleven inch or thirteen inch iPad for the sake of music reading…particularly instrumental scores.  I think other career fields could also make good use of the added real estate on a larger iPad.

My fear is that educational institutions would go to the seven inch iPad as it would have to be less expensive.  “All the features of the iPad, but less cost.”  When you move to the seven inch form factor, you make the iPad useless for music reading, and you remove some parts of its usefulness.  I’ll go further out on a limb and say that even a potential SmartMusic app becomes unusable, too.  How are you going to see the music and interact with SmartMusic controls on a seven inch screen?   You won’t be able to.  What about music composition apps for the iPad, like Notion or Symphony Pro?  Those programs desperately need a large screen.  In the process of adopting seven inch iPads, schools would edge performance-based music classes out of the ability to use those devices in their curriculum.  Do schools often choose the “lower priced” alternative?  Yes.

This leads me to a discussion of the Kindle Fire.  A person in the MacRumors discussion thread posted this image:

The graphic is right.  Less IS less.  Seven inches is more portable, and it may be better for some users.  But my biggest fear is that I have a number of students who have told me that they are buying a Kindle Fire because it is $199 versus $499.  They’re right…Less IS Less.  But I hope they don’t later find that by saving $300, they’ve bought a tablet that can’t do what others can.  No BlueTooth.  No option for external keyboards.  No camera (that was once a gigantic criticism of the iPad).  Yesterday I found out that you cannot load the DropBox app on the Kindle Fire at this time, even though DropBox has an app available for Android tablets.

Again, if all you need in a tablet is some games, an e-reader, videos, and basic PDF functions (including some with annotation), the Kindle Fire isn’t a bad option.  But for a device with flexibility (yes, even in Apple’s “walled garden”), and practical use in Music Education (or education in general), buy the iPad.

I’ll leave this discussion with a link to Marco Arment’s recent post comparing the Kindle Fire to the iPad, which is based off of Amazon’s own marketing scheme.  Yes, Mr. Arment’s article is a little snarky, but his conclusions ring true.

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