Well, Apple sent out invites to an upcoming event that pretty much everyone agrees will introduce us to the iPad Mini. A smaller iPad, rumored to be between 7 and 8 inches and that will have a lower resolution display than the Retina iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.
The iPad Mini, if the web can be trusted, will probably run a generation old processor A5, as opposed to the A6 in the newest iPhone. It will probably come in 16 and 32 GB versions and all that to compete on one front. The price. Apple, it looks like, will for the first time ever, align itself with the market’s price points and offer a tablet at the $200-$250.
On the one hand, this does make sense. Look at the iPods. They range from $50 to $400 with options at every level. Same with the iPhone. You can get the 4, 4S, or the 5 at different capacities and different price points. But not the iPad. It starts at $399 for the iPad 2. What about those people that want an iPad but cannot justify that price when there are very decent possibilities on the market for $200? In comes the iPad Mini!
“OK, great. Another Apple device I do not need and will probably buy just to add to the collection”. Except, if you step back and examine this announcement, it stands out among Apple’s product line for various reasons. I should say that there still is a slight chance that the rumors are actually wrong and no iPad Mini will be announced, but based on the invites and various different leaks, the chances are minimal.
Anyway, back to why this product is different than all other Apple products. You see, the most common phrase today on the internet when discussing Apple is “Steve Jobs would never have done that”. It has actually gotten ridiculous. Having said that, a smaller iPad with stripped down specs just to compete with Google and Amazon? I mean, you tell me, would Steve Jobs ever have done that?
No, he would not have. Apple did not play catch up. Apple invented the iPhone and others followed with their versions of a touch screen, grid-based, swipe and pinch UI. In fact, even after Android had already surpassed Apple and adopted the same model that Microsoft did with Windows back in the day (licensing out vs Apple’s hardware software integration), Apple still didn’t cave on price or compromise on quality.
Apple has been known to design and sell premium products at premium prices. But now, all of a sudden, the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 are selling like hot cakes, so Apple is playing catch up?
Jobs himself stated that a smaller tablet was not a good idea. Now, yes, I know what you’re thinking. Jobs also said there would be no video on the iPod and many many other things that ended up happening. The difference is, times changed and video went mainstream. As far as the 7” form factor, nothing has changed. People’s hands are the same size and web browsing remains better on a 9.7” display. The only thing that has changed is that Apple’s competitors jumped ahead with a product that has done well and now Apple has to adapt to the market instead of the market adapting to Apple, which is what has happened in the past.
Apple’s stock is approaching $1,000, so the company is stronger than ever, but a move like this, in which Apple has been transformed from a leader to a follower, is indeed a bad sign. If there is one thing Steve Jobs was NOT, he was not a follower and so, forget the form factor and the user experience of a 7” tablet. Steve Jobs would never have taken the company he built and turned it into just another player in the tech space that instead of innovating, looks at the competition and tries to tweak what they are doing to make it minimally better.
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