The iPad Mini was announced today, and frankly, it missed the mark. The iPad Mini will simply have no effect on non-Apple users. Apple needed to go $299 or less to make the iPad Mini seep into consumers heads and play devil’s advocate. At $329, that simply isn’t going to happen.
If Apple had gone with something in the $249-$299 range, non-Apple users having issues with their current tablet might have said “hey, for $249, I think I’m going to give the iPad Mini a shot.” Also, at a lower price, I believe Apple would have enticed Apple users to purchase Minis as companion devices, atop of the iPads they already own. It would be much easier, for example, to have parents spend $249 on an iPad Mini for their kids and never have to feel the uncertainty and regret of handing over their $400+ iPad.
History has shown us that any tablet outside of the iPad just simply doesn’t sell. It wasn’t until Amazon stepped in and created an incredible price point with the Kindle Fire that we began to see a market shift. Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t price alone. There have been many low-budget Android tablets that were absolute pieces of junk and did not do well. Amazon had the complete package: a decently built and spec’d tablet, a low price point, and an ecosystem to go along with it. That was the key to its success.
Google and ASUS soon followed suit, taking things up a notch with the Nexus 7. But again, decent build, good specs, and a low price point (and of course Jelly Bean and Google Play).
Amazon soon fired back with the Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HD 8.9, leaving consumers to sit back and enjoy while two great companies battled for their business with great products and lower prices. So when consumers caught wind of Apple’s plans to join this battle, they couldn’t help but salivate.
All eyes were on Apple as they announced the iPad Mini to the world. This was to be Apple’s answer to the Kindle Fire HD, the Google Nexus 7, and all the other 7-inch budget tablets stealing precious market share from the iPad. Up until today, the iPad Mini was nothing more than leaks and rumors, but now that it’s very real and we have all the specs and pricing, it’s clear that this is not going to be the destroyer of all things 7-inch.
Instead of going for the jugular, Apple jumped into shark infested waters with a 7.9-inch, 1024 x 768, 16GB tablet priced at $329. Sure, it’s Apple, but it’s almost $100 more than the 32GB Nexus 7, it’s over $100 more expensive than the Kindle Fire HD, $29 more expensive than the Fire HD 8.9, and not to mention only $70 less than its cousin the iPad 2 (with whom it shares similar specs).
For Apple consumers, there’s simply no reason other than form factor to choose the Mini over any of the other iPads Apple has to offer. Even if you’re looking to pick up the LTE version, you’re splitting hairs with price and better off getting one of the better spec’d iPads (again, unless it’s the form factor you’re looking for).
It’s sad actually, Apple never even needed a product like the iPad Mini. The iPad has been dominating the tablet market ever since the tablet market was a thing. Every spec and feature Apple touted when comparing the Mini against the Nexus 7 already existed in the iPad: bigger screen, tablet optimized apps, etc. So why did Apple feel the need to create a Mini version?
In my eyes, the only reasons to introduce an iPad Mini is to either try and undercut the 7-inch competitors that have been eating away at market share or to appease Apple customers who are looking for a smaller form factor. If this is purely for those Apple customers that prefer a smaller form factor, then it meets that demand. If they were hoping to undercut their 7-inch competitors — they failed.
Apple missed a huge opportunity here. The iPad Mini could have been a 1-2 knockout in the tablet market. Instead, it has ended up a failed uppercut, leaving Apple’s chin exposed.
Looks like they should have named it the iPad Air, because that’s what they’re swinging at right now.