It probably is the umpteenth time you’ve heard this, but Apple will be launching a smaller iPad after all. The New York Times has just confirm,ed the rumors, and given their usually reliable standards, every Apple enthusiast looking forward to the launch of a smaller, more portable Apple tablet is in for some good times.
Apple has been steadfast in its refusal to acknowledge the existence of the iPad Mini for many months now. Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple Inc., had commented about the iPad’s normal size (with a 9.7 inch screen) being ‘perfect’ for a tablet, and that had been considered to be the be all and end all of Apple’s efforts at modifying the dimensions of the iPad. In recent months though, speculations gradually started building up about Apple planning to assault one part of the tablet market it had so far missed out on – the budget sector. That was a section of the market it had lost a considerable amount of market share in, all thanks to the $199 Amazon Kindle Fire.
NYT compares Apple’s latest efforts with its strategy behind the iPod – its first genuinely unqualified success in its journey towards being the hulking corporate behemoth that it is today. When it realized that competitors were relying on price and other minor differentiators to undercut its hugely popular iPod, it launched the incredibly cheap iPod shuffle – an mp3 player that lacked a screen but made up for an omission as glaring as that thanks to its $49 price. It eventually moved on to the fully touchscreen iPod Touch, proving its comfort at balancing several parts of its oeuvre.
NYT claims that Apple will be pricing the smaller iPad “significantly less than the latest $499 iPad”, and that isn’t a surprise at all. But depending on is price, it may get to completely blow away the latest generation of pretenders to the iPad’s throne. The likes of the Google Nexus 7, Microsoft Surface, and the new Kindle Fire may be doomed on arrival if Apple plays its cards right.