Jonathan Ive: iPad Mini Is a “Concentration Not a Reduction” [Video]

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.

He continues:

“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?

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  • Zacitus

    I think that he makes some good points. Honestly, the Nexus 7 may be more affordable, but most of the apps for it are not actually optimized for the display. With an iPad mini you’re not just getting scaled up iPhone apps which is a very good thing. Also the build quality is much, much nicer, and the bezel gets out of the way too.

    Even though all of these things are great, the iPad mini is not really for me; I’m more interested in the iPad 4. :)

  • Zacitus

    I think that he makes some good points. Honestly, the Nexus 7 may be more affordable, but most of the apps for it are not actually optimized for the display. With an iPad mini you’re not just getting scaled up iPhone apps which is a very good thing. Also the build quality is much, much nicer, and the bezel gets out of the way too.

    Even though all of these things are great, the iPad mini is not really for me; I’m more interested in the iPad 4. :)

  • enderwiggin21

    I’m guessing that the ipad mini could have been made to exactly the same standards of quality and sold for $249 and still had a profit per unit sold, it just would have been (obviously) slimmer. Ergo, no need to choose between quality and pricepoint.

  • scatteredthings

    I think you’re trying to talk yourself into believing this huge price fail is OK. It’s not, not by a long way.

  • Solfeggio

    Why Apple Failed
    (Brief Version for People Who Don’t Want My Last Nuanced Explanation)

    iPad 4 is a much better deal for not much more money while iPad mini is charging a premium for technology that is two generations old and almost guaranteed to be revised within seven months to what it should have been today: retina and A6. I wanted one more than anyone but they failed everyone. Think about it…

    To the rich person who does not need to factor in money: Apple has updated their retina display and the iPad mini is inferior technology offering very little of a sales pitch for its reduced size.

    For the die hard Apple device user: the reduced size device is covered between the iPhone 5 and new Retina iPad; why do they need the in-between unless they are just that “trendy?”

    Finally, to the so-called budget conscious, student, or consumer who wants to buy into the iPad experience at a reduced cost or so forth, they are much better off getting a Kindle Fire or Nexus, or if they want the iPad, to save up a little bit more for the better technology that is not as behind the curve.

    So who is this for? Who? I wanted it so bad, but now I am writing why I am so upset? Why? Think about it. Are they so arrogant to think that we just want anything they make because it has that cue and elegant techno geek factor? Well, almost, they almost have me that easily? But they could have dropped the price with what they are offering? i would get the compromises becasue they wanted to target the lower end, but they didn’t do that.

    And if they are just making the best device, albeit just “concentrated”, then why did they make it with the older screens and lower PPi count?

    I will tell you… They know they can just put it out there and it will be a high profit margin item they can clean up with. While trying to thwart competitors taking over their lucrative tablet ecosystem. It is very cynical because they know they probably didn’t have the ability to get the better specs in time or with the profit margin, unless they did as Amazon, and took a hit on the margins, which by the way they could do as Apple, with more Cash than most divinities have on tap… and if they did, they would have wiped Google and Amazon off the map.

    Fortunately for us all, they did not do that, and we will watch as the battle can only be good for consumers everywhere.

    J

  • flitzy

    I think that is the main difference between Apple and Google/Samsung.

    Whereas Google and Samsung make substandard products, just to get a cheap foothold in the marketplace for their data collection, Apple continues to not compromise on user experience and quality. It’s why people have flocked to iOS and not Android (every Android user I’ve talked to were much happier once they left and picked up an iOS device).

About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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