A few days after the iPhone 5 was released to the public – just a few weeks ago – people started commenting on how thin and light it was. “You really have to pick it up and feel it in your hands,” was a common thread of these comments. Sure, it looked amazing: but it felt amazing too.
Today’s announcements are a direct continuation of the theme that began with the iPhone 5, and set the tone for the next generation of Apple hardware. From now on, Apple’s message is clear: “No-one does thin like we do.”
Let’s compare a few dimensions. Specifically, thicknesses.
The Kindle Fire is 11.4mm thick. A Nexus 7 is 10.5mm thick.
The iPad mini? That’s just 7.2mm. In the promo video, they make a point of saying that it’s “7.2mm thin”, not “7.2mm thick”.
That’s thinner, incidentally, than the iPhone 5, which everyone said was amazingly thin.
The new iMac is thin, too. At least at the edges: 5mm. The promo pics do a good job of hiding the bulge towards the centre of the rear, but nonetheless: these are still amazingly thin computers.
Apple has always made beautifully designed products, and for some years now has had a reputation for making “thin” products.
But until now, the word “thin” just meant “thin, you know, for a gadget”. That changes with this line of products. Thin now means actually, genuinely, amazingly, thin.
Apple rarely makes products that are the cheapest around, and it doesn’t want to. But what it does want to do is make the thinnest ones, at least for the time being. The iPad mini’s dimensions are a message to Google and Amazon and the rest: build what you like. We’ll build one thinner, and better. It will be priced higher, but we’ll still sell more.
The tech specs are important only to some people. What matters much more is how the object feels in your hand, the sensation you get when you pick it up in your fingers. Apple knows that millions of people will walk into its stores in the months ahead, pick up one of these devices, and instantly lose their objections to the price.
And later, even if they don’t buy one on the spot, they’ll tell their friends: “You’ll never believe how thin it is. You have to go and pick it up and feel it in your hands.”