Apple has unveiled the new iPad Mini – putting an end to the worst kept secret in the tech world. The only real surprise, at least to some analysts, is the price.
The iPad Mini range starts at $329 for the base 16GB model, 65% higher than the $199 competition of the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD. Reassuringly expensive, Apple might say…
The starting price may be $100 more than many pundits expected but earlier this month I disagreed with their overly hopeful expectations: “Apple has never shown any interest in price matching competitors before… I’d expect the minimum price to be $300 – $350”.
Predictions are always risky in the tech world so I’m pleased this one paid off – although I wish I had been wrong! Other prices in the iPad Mini range are $429 for the 32GB model and $529 for the 64GB model – add an extra $130 to each of the prices if you want cellular as well as WiFi.
Market Impact – The problem with the iPad Mini is that it may still be too big and expensive for the casual tablet user but not big (or expensive) enough for potential iPad buyers. However, the final pricing may mean that Apple’s profit margins will be unaffected – even if it does cannibalize sales of its big brother.
For the Android competition, a 65% price differential means that Google and Amazon probably heaved a huge sigh of relief after Apple’s announcement. Pre-orders for the iPad Mini start October 26 with sales from November 2. The features include:
- 7.9” screen (compared to the 9.7” screen of its larger brother).
- 4:3 aspect ratio
- Screen resolution is 1024×768 (not Retina) compared to the 1280×800 HD display of Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD
- CPU – powered by the older (2011) dual-core A5 processor as seen in the iPad 2
- iOS 6 with Siri.
- Lightning dock connector
- Facetime HD camera plus iSight camera (front and back).
- Battery life – same as the larger iPads, up to 10 hours.
Compare all the features of the iPad Mini against the iPad and new iPad here.
4th Generation Full Size iPad – Apple also announced a 4th generation version of the larger iPad, just 7 months after the launch of the 3rd generation.
The new ‘new’ iPad has an A6 processor (twice as fast as the old A5), Lightning connector and upgraded WiFi and camera – some iPad 3 owners may feel somewhat aggrieved but regular upgrades are only to be expected in a market which is still immature.
The fact that Apple felt the need to ignore Steve Jobs’ famous disdain for the smaller tablet form factor suggests how much of a threat the 7” tablet was becoming to the iPad market – but I’m not convinced that the iPad Mini is the answer, not at these prices at least.
What do you think of the specifications and pricing – would you buy an iPad Mini?