Why is the iPad mini $329 instead of $200? In the promo video above, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design, the venerable Sir Jonathan Ive, gives an implicit explanation. The iPad Mini is not a reduced iPad, he says, but a concentrated one.
Here’s his rationale:
Ive starts off by stating Apple’s goals. It wasn’t to make a cheaper, nastier iPad, but a smaller one that doesn’t compromise the iPad experience:
“Our goal was to take all the amazing things you could do with the full size iPad , and pack them into a product that is so much smaller. and that’s what we did with the iPad mini. If all that we had done was take the original iPad and just reduce it, all you would be aware of, was everything that was just missing.
“There is inherent loss in just reducing a product in size. And what we did was we went back to the very beginning. And we took the time to design a product that was a concentration of — not a reduction of — the original.”
Then he talks details:
“We felt strongly that 7.9 inches was exactly the right display size. But it became clear that we had to reduce the width of the borders so that you can still easily pick it up and use it with one hand.
We have continued to develop our unibody production process. There are essentially two parts to the enclosure: the glass and the aluminum (he actually says “aluminium” the British way) and that junction where the two parts actually come together is incredibly important.
The diamond-cut chamfer meets seamlessly with the glass. And I think it’s a beautiful detail that further reduces parts and actually makes it more durable.
The result, Ive says, is a smaller, one-handed iPad that expands on the iPad’s possibilities, not reduces them.
All of these efforts combine to make a product that is incredibly thin and light, and has remarkable fit and finish. And I think the result is an extraordinary iPad: one that will be used in so many different places and so many different ways.”
I have to admit that I’m lusting after the mini but I’m disappointed by the price. If it had been $200, it would have conquered the world. But after watching Jony Ive, I’m a bit more sympathetic to Apple’s thinking. Apple has never been a company to make a crappy product just to hit a price point. The video makes me feel a bit better about spending $329.
What do you think?