A while back, I examined the prospects of the iPad mini, trying to determine whether this was innovation or exploitation. Back then, I decided that the iPad mini was a product designed to exploit an already established market. To be honest, it was a no-brainer. Back in the day, Steve Jobs had slated the 7 inch tablet because he thought it would bring about poor user experience, but back then, all the 7 inch tablets were atrocious, I’m talking original Galaxy Tab atrocious… Now, the competition is a lot stiffer, with the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire taking the lead. Their success has proved irrevocably that a market for 7 inch tablets exists, so now Apple has decided to enter the fray.
Their weapon of choice, the iPad mini.
So what does it offer? Apart from the size, it’s really a very standard iPad. Two colors, nice and light, not too thick, 3 storage capacities (16, 32 and 64GB), Wi-Fi and cellular capabilities and iOS 6. Under the hood, it’s rocking the Dual-core A5 processor, the revised version of the A5 that shipped in the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2. Now for me, all that stuff is standard, and for the purpose of this piece, irrelevant. We expected nothing less than good hardware from Apple, and the iPad mini will be just as capable as its larger predecessors.
So what’s my problem? A couple of things…
As I said before, I was convinced that before the mini’s release, the product would be an exploitation of the pre-established market, and now it’s been released, I haven’t changed my mind. Just look at the price, because I’m pretty sure that this is probably the ultimate downfall of this wretched device. How could anyone justify paying $329 for a device that isn’t capable of display high definition content? If anyone here has made the switch from the Apple screens of old to a Retina display, you’ll understand that the transformation is simply phenomenal, and that there really is no going back. I’ve often used a Retina display, then tried out a standard definition one in order to rationalise the notion that there isn’t really much difference, and I’ve only ever been met with disappointment. The iPad mini is overpriced. Way overpriced. Amazon actually lose money on their hardware, which is why you can pick up a Kindle Fire HD for $130 less. But that lower price comes at a compromise, skimping on price means that you have to settle for Ultra-fast Wi-Fi, Dual stereo speakers, High definition content and a faster processor. Wait…what?
I couldn’t have said it better myself… But I’m going to waffle on some more anyway.
Not so fast, the iPad mini’s screen is bigger, giving it a superior web browsing experience and compatibility with all the current iPad apps out there.
True, but then, if that’s all you’re looking for, why don’t you already own an iPad 2? You could have all that compatibility, and an even bigger display! Of course, you wanted a smaller tablet, that you can use with one hand and carry around easily, but it seems like there are plenty of other cheaper, and more capable solutions out there. The comparison above is of the 7 inch Kindle Fire HD and the iPad mini. If you’re impressed by the iPad mini’s larger screen size, why not buy the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD, which features a 1920×1200 display, packing over 2.3 million pixels, with 254ppi, 56% more than the iPad mini! And, you’ll even have $30 change… It seems to me that for every feature the iPad mini brings to the table, its competitors are already one step ahead.
Now for most, the problems I’ve mentioned will be pretty insignificant. I totally understand that the iPad mini is a cool device, and that it will satisfy many needs for many people. But for $329, Apple could have done so much more. Was the potential loss on this product so great that Apple couldn’t justify bringing the price down to a competitive level for the sake of us, the consumer? If you’ve got $329 to spend on the iPad mini, then go for it. But know that in a few months time, there’ll probably be a new iPad mini, sporting a better display, and a price tag to match. In the meantime, buy a Kindle.