By Pierre Chalon
When people first began to hear talks about a smaller version of Apple’s famous IPad, many had trouble understanding the logic behind it. What could a smaller tablet possibly offer that the current generation did not already? Is Apple just being greedy and looking for any way to increase its already absurdly huge profits? The answer to the first question might surprise you. The answer to the second is, unfortunately, yes.
Firstly, let me tell you why this is much greater device than you probably think it is. Take away the retina display and A6 processor of the iPad, shrink it by about a fifth and you essentially have the IPad mini. And this is a good thing. For many people, a 7-inch tablet is the perfect combination of a portable and satisfying experience (it is a huge tablet market across the world). Sure, video content will be comparatively less fun to watch on, but applications like iBooks, Safari and Temple Run still provide the same enjoyment despite the screen reduction. If you think the iPad is already a small enough device, try around its miniature counterpart and you may change your mind.
The key selling point here is that its price is cheap in comparison to other apple devices. Comparing the 16GB-sized versions, the mini sells at $329 in comparison to the iPad at $499. Being $170 cheaper, it’s a very tempting offer to any apple consumer who has not jumped on the tablet boat. A different way of looking at this is the consumer new to the market, who will be willing to pay that difference in a “might as well” attitude. With the current iPad considered by many to be the best tablet out there right now, Apple is winning either way.
At the end of the day, does it all really matter? Most consumers are not too concerned with technical specifics and when buying these types of devices, it will simply come down to how you feel about it, and that will vary for everyone. This is something Apple knows. In a similar way to the nano, touch and shuffle, both iPads will simply attract to different types of consumers.
What is, on the other hand, of more interest to us as consumers, is how it reveals Apple’s monopolistic ambition to destroy competitor’s market share. You’ve probably heard of the infamous Apple vs. Samsung lawsuit (going the former’s way); many more are currently ongoing and, in essence, they are ruining innovation in this industry. Things like “search” and “auto-correct” are being (or already are) patented, a real obstacle and threat to software engineers who work hard to update, improve and innovate this industry.
In a fragile economy like the current, where innovation and job creation are crucial to success, the mobile industry’s potential stagnation is becoming increasingly likelier and Apple is, without a doubt, one of the principle culprits.