Apple Introduces the iPad Mini
Yesterday Tim Cook and Phil Schiller, Apple’s CEO and senior VP of worldwide product marketing respectively, announced three updated products and one new product at the Apple launch event in San Jose, California. The new Mac Mini, iMac, iPad Mini and fourth generation iPad were all showcased to the invited guests and wider online audience. Although the updated iPad was unexpected and surprised many given the most recent generation was only launch in March, focus has remained on the iPad Mini.
The iPad Mini had been rumoured for many months and therefore anticipation for the announcement revolved around what hardware components it would feature and its pricing model. Pricing was of particular interest as Apple’s market share for tablet computers (currently standing at approximately 70%) has been under threat from rivals throughout 2012. This is because of the rise in smaller, cheaper alternatives such as the Amazon Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7. The Fire has sold approximately seven million copies so far whilst the Nexus 7 has sold three million since its release earlier in the year.
Although Steve Jobs had previously dismissed seven inch tablets back in 2010 due to the lack of functionality of smaller touchscreens, the market has changed dramatically over the past two years. This release is a clear indication that Apple has reacted to rival success at the cheaper end of the pricing scale. Both the Amazon and Google alternatives are available for under US$200 and another product, the Blackberry Playbook, can be bought from some retailers for under US$100. During the launch Phil Schiller stated that “others have tried to make tablets smaller than the iPad and they have failed miserably” but it is unlikely that Apple would have developed the iPad Mini if competitors had not found success with their smaller tablets.
The iPad Mini features a dual-core A5 CPU and five megapixel camera (like the third generation iPad) however the screen resolution is the same as the iPad 2, considerably lower than Retina Display models. Although this is not especially surprising, it is still a slight disappointment that Apple were not able to include this undoubtedly stunning technology.
Aesthetically Apple has come up with another winner as the iPad Mini is a beautiful electronic device. The thinner, lighter design coupled with its aluminium body ensures that the user is fully aware that they are holding a premium product.
However with regard to price, there is no question that some people have been left frustrated with its relatively expensive tag. It is considerably more costly than similarly sized products. However with the reputation that Apple possesses, it is inevitable that the iPad Mini will sell strongly and become a Christmas gift for millions.
iPad Mini pre-orders can be made from this Friday with shipping starting in early November.
iPad Mini specification:
weight = 0.68 pounds
thickness = 7.2 millimetres
screen size = 7.9 inches
screen resolution = 1024 x 768 pixels
connectivity = wi-fi or 4g
storage = 16, 32 or 64 gigabytes
starting price = US$ 329 / £269