The iPod was a device that took over the MP3 Player market when it first came out. Now, there is talk that the iPod is a redundant device because so many people choose to use their iPhones (or other perfectly functioning smartphones) for their music/media consumption.

Enter talk of an iPad Mini rumoured to come onto the scene to shake up the tablet market. A lower cost version of the iPad, it is set to compete head to head with other smaller tablets like the Nexus 7 and BlackBerry PlayBook.

My question is simple: What is the difference (other than screen size and internals) between the iPad and the iPod?

The answer… basically nothing.

When the iPhone came out, there was criticism that it was just an iPod with a cell phone built in and nothing more. Why would someone ditch their current phone and iPod just to have a newer iPod that was also a phone? It didn’t work well as a phone (dropped calls, bad reception, etc), but it sold millions.

When the iPad came out, there was criticism that it was just an iPhone with a bigger screen, and no cell phone built-in — or basically, a bigger iPod. It also didn’t have all the functionality that could/should have had (lacked cameras, OS was lacking multi-tasking capabilities as well as several other fairly ‘expected’ features).

Both products sold extremely well, though, and both products can be easily traced back to their big (little) brother, the iPod.

If Apple truly believes that 7 inches is too small for a tablet (as the late Jobs previously said), then perhaps it is in their best interest to market their 7 inch device as simply the new iPod. Apple needs not create a new 3-4 inch iPod because they make more money by selling iPhones that do the same things.

By sticking with the iPod name, they do not offend the legacy of their “genius” leader (they don’t sell a 7 inch ‘tablet’, but a 7 inch ‘media device’) and they also continue the legacy of the product that turned them from bottom-feeding computer company, to the current leader in mobile devices.

*this post was written completely from the BlackBerry PlayBook via BlackBerry Bridge.