The iPad Mini is without a doubt a very impressive piece of technology, and one would expect nothing less from a company with the financial standing and talent like Apple. Unfortunately, the price tag – and the lower price tag of its seven-inch competitors – might be standing in the way of the iPad Mini becoming the king of the “Mini” tablet world.
At first glance today during the keynote, the iPad Mini came out swinging with some fantastic features that the competition lacks. A larger screen, lighter in weight, iOS 6, and 4G capability are all things the other tablets in the market (including the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7) don’t have going for them.
The first moment I started to lose a little confidence in the Mini was when Apple revealed the tablet would operate using a A5 dual core chip. Compared to the Fire HD’s 1.2GHz dual core OMAP and Nexus 7’s quad core Tegra 3, the A5 chip is under-powered. You could argue “that’s just horsepower” but that simply isn’t true.
There are some sacrifices that come along with the decision to use the A5 chip, one of which is that the A5 can’t push the same amount of pixels as Google’s and Amazon’s tablets processors by about 25%. Which means not only lower resolution than its direct competitors, but a much lower than retina quality resolution that its big brother the iPad HD offers. For someone who will use the Mini for casual web browsing and accessing their iTunes content, these facts don’t pack that much of a punch. However, the truth is in the recent months, Amazon and Google have been gaining major ground on Apple.
The base model 16GB WiFi iPad Mini costs $330, which is $130 more than the Kindle Fire HD and $80 dollars more than the Nexus 7. Recently, there has been a lot of buzz about incoming price drops, especially for the Nexus 7.
What made the introduction of the iPad so special wasn’t just the genius piece of technology that it was, but the low price point that took competitors a full year to match. The iPad Mini entering a market for the first time with a higher price tag and not a “better” product isn’t the best strategy.
Now let’s be honest, the brand strength of Apple is still very strong, and the iPad Mini will sell well. In a market of smaller tablets that will one day be crucial in many different industries, it is surprising that Apple couldn’t bring the price of the iPad Mini down just a bit. With companies like Amazon and Google waging war over the 7-inch tablet market, being an “Apple” product just might not be enough.