A new report adds fuel to the rumor that Amazon.com will release a new Kindle Fire with a larger screen, rivaling the size of the iPad, later this year.

The report by AllThingsD cites a research note in which a Pacific Crest Securities analyst raises his Kindle Fire sales estimates for 2012 to 14.9 million, from the early 12.7 million, citing his belief that the company will release new 7- and 9-inch models of the tablet in mid-2012. Amazon’s current Kindle Fire has a 7-inch screen and previous reports said Amazon was waiting to gauge the reception for it before making a larger one.

The iPad 2 has a 9.7 inch screen. So what difference does a few inches make? Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs explained the situation in 2010 when he famously criticized the notion of a smaller tablet.

One naturally thinks that a seven-inch screen would offer 70 percent of the benefits of a 10-inch screen. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. The screen measurements are diagonal, so that a seven-inch screen is only 45 percent as large as iPad’s 10-inch screen. You heard me right: just 45 percent as large.

If you take an iPad and hold it upright in portrait view, and draw an imaginary horizontal line halfway down the screen, the screens on these seven-inch tablets are a bit smaller than the bottom half of the iPad’s display. This size isn’t sufficient to create great tablet apps, in our opinion.

Apple is expected to announce the next iPad in March, as also reported by AllThingsD’s John Paczkowski yesterday. But will we ever see a smaller iPad? The past statements by Jobs might make it seem unlikely, but Apple is famous for coming out with products that boast features it once dismissed.

My favorite was Jobs’ response to the notion of adding video to the iPod: “You know, our next big step is we want it to make toast, I want to brown my bagels when I’m listening to my music. And we’re toying with refrigeration, too.”

That was in April 2004. Apple released the first iPod with video support in October 2005.

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  • Guest

    I think I speak for everyone when I say I won’t buy a Kindle Fire until it has a 10″ screen, two cameras, a dock connector, compatibility with my iTunes apps and music and video, access to iCloud, and a magnetic Smart Cover.

    Your move, Jeff.

    • Guest

      Then what you want is an iPad, not a kindle fire.

      • Guest

        Not entirely. I’d be willing to buy Kindle Fire were it to have more iPad-like features. I’m not entirely wedded to the notion of buying iPad, though.

        • Anonymous

          Say, I thought you were being amusingly, pleasantly sarcastic about the Kindle Fire!  And, hence, touting the iPad!  Guess not!

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I’m not really convinced, either.

    I’ll give Steve credit in regards to his comments–he makes a valid point.  But it depends on what you’re using it for.

    The iPad screen size is good for lots of things.  But it makes it heavier and less portable than the Kindle Fire.  On the other hand, the Kindle Fire–and the other Kindles for that matter–put the iPad to shame as e-readers.  The combination of screen size and weight make it much better than the iPad when it comes to holding it for long periods of time and reading.  But, no, I probably wouldn’t want to try to use it for e-mail.

    The analogy I like to use is the iPod classic.  It’s a great music player.  You can also use it to watch videos, display photos, play simple games, and look up addresses and phone numbers, and display calendars.  But no one would really call it a video player or a photo album–the screen is too small.  No one would really call it a portable game player–the control system is too limited. Nobody would really call it a personal organizer–the interface is too difficult to work with.  It’s usable for these other things, but it really shines as a music player.

    The Kindle Fire is a great e-book reader and movie player.  You can also use it for e-mail, games, web-surfing, etc.  But the screen is a little too small to do work on–like the iPhone, once you bring up the keyboard you’ve gotten rid of your screen.  It’s a tad slow for games and the screen is a bit small for web surfing.  It’s usable for these other things, but it really shines as an e-reader and movie player.

    So if you want the best experience reading books and watching movies, get a Kindle.  If you’re looking for a more general-purpose device, get an iPad.

    • Anonymous

      The original Kindle was better for reading a book, but the Kindle Fire is an LSD screen just like iPad – so iPad wins because of its larger screen. Same with watching a movie. The size of the movie on a Kindle Fire is not bigger than when played on a iPad. The Kindle Fire is also limited to 16-bit colour and that can make a difference watching movies. So iPad wins again.

      • Guest

        16-bit colour? That’s a limitation of an app, not of the device. The device is capable of 24-bit colour.

        • Anonymous

          No, it is a software issue, specifically the OS. When HP introduced their WebOS tablet, PC Magazine wondered why it was only 18-bit colour, but then said at least it was slightly better than the Android crowd.

          • Forrest

            All of the advertising materials for the Fire say it’s 24bit. What info do you have that says it’s only 16bit? If you know of such info, I would really like to know.

  • Charles

    Wow! I am really l wish they will be on sale in Canada soon!

  • Yacko

    I’m agnostic about whether or not the 7″ form factor has an audience and whether Apple will address it. The question that you have to ask yourself is – wouldn’t Apple like to sell you two tablets? How would Apple do that? Ah, a larger tablet to cozy on the couch and a smaller tablet for on the go.

    Actually, I could see Apple try other form factors. Hey, buy 3, 4, a half dozen. Your imagination is the limit. One for the car, one for the bathroom, one for the home office, one for the couch, one in the kitchen and one in your pocket. I don’t see Apple doing it too soon, but I bet there is a long term plan which may or may not be acted on.

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