We’ve been hearing a lot of talk about a mini version of the iPad since before the New iPad (3rd generation iPad) hit shelves. Despite its failure to appear back then, talk of its impending release has spread across the internet with a steadfast resilience, growing in momentum and scale all the while. Now, we’re finally hearing talk, from the Wall Street Journal no-less, that production of the iPad Mini has begun.
We definitely still have our doubts as to whether or not this illusive product actually exists and, after Apple’s recent launch of its new iPod Touch range, we definitely have some questions regarding the iPad Mini.
At the outset, it would seem obvious that a smaller, less hardware-intensive iPad would be aimed at the lower ends of the market. This would possibly be to compete directly with the new success of Android tablets like the Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7, both of which were initially available at just $199 for the cheapest model. Amazon’s latest iteration of the Kindle Fire, released just last month, was even cheaper at $159. It would therefore make sense that Apple would have to compete at the same or similar price point in order to reclaim some of the tablet market share that it has lost.
But things are not so simple. Apple has only recently launched the latest iPod Touch line, the cheapest of which rings in at AUD$329 (US$299); a price already well above that of the aforementioned tablets. Apple certainly can’t release a 7.85 inch tablet that’s cheaper than its much-smaller 4 inch iPod Touch line.
There’s not a huge amount of leeway between the AUD$329 (US$299) – AUD$438 (US$399) price range of the iPod Touch line and the AUD$539 (US$499) – AUD$759 (US$699) of the iPad.
What we’re potentially looking at is a dumbed-down iPad that will need to fall somewhere between these two price points. It’s not impossible, as there’s an obvious difference in size and functionality between the iPod Touch and iPad line, so pricing can overlap slightly. The issue we’re seeing is that it may end up sitcking the iPad Mini within a price-tag that will fail to adequately compete with budget Android tablets.
We’re keen to see what Apple manages to come out with, should the iPad Mini exist. We’re thinking anything that Apple releases will have a Retina Display, but what of hardware? In order to cut costs Apple has a bunch of options, such as removing cameras, employing a weaker CPU, offering smaller storage options or even making it WiFi-only.
Another point of interest that we’ve heard is that it might not end up being marketed as a mini iPad at all, but instead a larger iPod Touch. We don’t find that possibility particularly plausible; a larger iPod Touch would likely require the iSight camera found in the iPhone 5 and current iPod Touch line, making it superior in at least one way to its market-leading iPad sibling.
Despite this rumor being picked up by the WSJ we’re still not going to hold our collective breaths. Like we said we’re definitely interested to see if Apple does release an iPad Mini, but don’t go betting the farm on it just yet.