For me, the key is the size. Again, I was skeptical at first, but for many situations, I’ve come to love the 7-inch frame. The iPad is brilliant when you’re sitting on a couch or camped out in a coffee shop. In my view, the 9.7-inch iPad is slowly but surely becoming a laptop replacement. I expect this to continue. But a 7-inch tablet is different. The iPad is clunky to read in bed, for example. The Nexus 7 is perfect for that.
More broadly, the 7-inch tablet further opens the door to true mobile computing. I find myself constantly using it while walking around the house (as opposed to sitting on the couch). And I don’t think twice about shoving it in my bag when I take off for the day (as I sometimes do with my iPad when I have my laptop with me). Many could say the same about the iPad, but in my view, the 7-inch tablet is more desirable in many circumstances simply because it’s — shocker — smaller. 9.7 inches versus 7 inches may not seem like a huge difference. But it is.
Whereas laptop sizes vary mainly to please screen size preference, I suspect that 7-inch tablets will fit naturally into different use cases than 10-inch tablets. In other words, I believe they’ll end up being closer to two different categories rather than two variations of the same category.
I have to agree with MG on this, I find my iPad more of a creation device and my Nexus 7 more of a consumption device, which I’m not complaining about at all.