May 4, 2012 at 5:01 PM ET
Rumors of a smaller iPad (and a bigger iPhone) are continually making the rounds, yet so far none of these cryptogadgets has appeared. That doesn't stop people from wanting them, and it seems that there are plenty of people who say they are willing to throw down for an "iPad mini" should Apple decide it's a good idea to make one.
A recent online survey of 2,603 people by PriceGrabber suggests that while demand for a smaller iPad isn't overwhelming, there's certainly a contingent of people who are interested. More than half the respondents said they would consider purchasing a 7-inch iPad if it was priced between $249 and $300. They cited the lower price point and more portable size as reasons to prefer it over the larger 9.7-inch iPads, which start at $399.
Of course, it's easy to say that you'll "consider purchasing" something, so these numbers must be taken with a grain of salt. But it's clear that paying a lower price for a smaller device is something consumers are at least interested in as an option — as demonstrated by the success of Amazon's Kindle Fire, which, at $199 and with a 7-inch screen, so far is the only single tablet to give the iPad a run for its money.
Steve Jobs berated such "tweener" tablets when the iPad was new in 2010, but the advantages of a smaller device may become too real for Apple to ignore. A smaller iPad would be useful for travel or commuting, and could sell for far less while still offering the "premium" experience Apple is careful to cultivate. But Apple is often as stubborn as it is innovative, and demand for a device is no guarantee it will be introduced.
Devin Coldewey is acontributing writer for msnbc.com. His personal website iscoldewey.cc.