The iPad Mini was officially announced yesterday and while there weren’t many surprises since we knew everything about the tablet thanks to numerous leaks, one thing threw everyone off. Price.
iPad Mini: what’s its purpose?
The base iPad Mini 16GB model starts at $329. This makes it more expensive than its rivals the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire, both devices currently ruling the small tablet market. Now before you get the wrong idea from the title of this article, I just want to clear up that there is actually nothing wrong with the iPad Mini physically but more what its purpose actually is. So let’s get started.
First off, the iPad Mini is competing in the smaller tablet market. This consists of cheap tablets loaded with serious specs but with a trade-off between price and size. So it doesn’t make sense why Apple would sell their iPad Mini for $329 when it is just $70 away from the “premium” iPad 2. If anything, the iPad Mini would be more comfortable at $249.
Next up is the actual concept of a cheaper iPad. If Apple didn’t wish to price the iPad Mini competitively, then they should have packed it with some serious specs. Instead you have the now outdated A5 processor and Apple has left out the Retina Display. By comparison, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD is cheaper than the iPad Mini and offers a higher resolution display.
Moving along, if we were to believe that this is all is not the real purpose of the iPad Mini but instead to launch a more portable tablet, then why the strange 7.9-inch screen size? This comes in just 1.8-inches smaller than the regular iPad. Word on the street is that the reason Apple didn’t settle with 7-inches which has been the popular size for smaller tablets is because Steve Jobs was once quoted as saying 7-inch tablet would be “DOA” (dead on arrival). So if anything it is just ego.
Lastly let’s touch on the biggest feature of any tablet – its screen. This is the reason why you would get a tablet and not just use your smartphone for the same purpose. The fact that the iPad Mini has no Retina Display and a resolution below its major rivals just shows Apple’s overconfidence. The Cupertino based company is certain that the iPad Mini will sell like hotcakes despite having a sub-par display and higher price tag. And while I would hate to admit that they are possibly right, it almost seems like Apple is continuing to lose its “magic” that made its products so revolutionary in the past. Steve Jobs for one was known to always be fighting with his engineers as he pushed the boundaries of tech. It now feels like the engineers are the ones running the company with no more vision.
So to recap, the iPad Mini is overpriced, has features and specs on par or below its major rivals, and has dimensions that make it less portable than the major Android tablets. If anything, I would see the $329 as the price for accessing all the great tablet-optimized apps in the App Store. If you can find a cheaper way to access these apps then the iPad Mini should be out of the question.