October 25, 2012
I’m seriously considering buying an iPad mini when it launches next Friday, Nov. 2. No, I don’t need Apple’s newest tablet. In fact, given that I am “stuck” on the iPad 2, the newly announced iPad with Retina display is probably the best choice for me. But again, I’ll probably buy the iPad mini anyway. Let me explain. As you might expect, I have a lot of mobile devices sitting around my house. In addition to the iPad 2, I recently purchased an iPhone 5. I also have a fourth-generation iPod touch, sixth-generation iPod nano, and first-generation Kindle Fire. And yes, I use each device on a regular basis. I originally purchased Amazon’s Kindle Fire because it was the “next best thing,” when it was released late last year. I did so out of curiosity, and because I had a lot of luck in the past with Kindle e-readers. Almost immediately, the Kindle Fire grew on me, but not in the way that Amazon advertises it. Rather than using it as a media device, my Kindle Fire is my primary reading device. The reason for this is simple: when reading, I prefer a smaller screen. Naturally, until this week, this is something an iPad could never provide. In the iPad mini, I can finally have the best of both worlds. The smaller tablet will allow me to access hundreds of apps I have already purchased for my iPad, but which I refused to buy again to use on the Kindle. Second, the iPad mini can become my reading device of choice. I am also buying an iPad mini because I have yet to see a reason to dump my iPad 2. Sure, the two-year-old tablet is a little bit slower than the newer models, and it is missing a Retina display. However, the iPad 2 looks almost exactly like the iPad 3 and iPad 4. This means that the iPad 5 will likely include a radically different design when it arrives sometime in 2013. And for this reason, I am more than willing to wait until next year to upgrade my iPad. Finally, I think that it is important to discuss Apple’s iPad mini pricing strategy. In a word, it isn’t great. As I explained previously, when you compare the pricing of the iPad mini with other iPads, a case could be made to go with the larger model. Besides, the iPad mini, which starts in price at $329, is now the most expensive compact tablet in the marketplace. None of this will matter, however. As Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, told Reuters:
The iPad is far and away the most successful product in its category. The most affordable product we've made so far was $399 and people were choosing that over those other devices. And now you can get a device that's even more affordable at $329 in this great new form, and I think a lot of customers are going to be very excited about that.And I believe customers will be excited about the iPad mini. Compared to the Kindle Fire HD and Google’s Nexus 7, the iPad mini has better hardware and is fully integrated with the most popular mobile OS on the planet. Therefore, I expect Nov. 2 to be a busy day for Apple. For many, it will mean buying a fourth-generation iPad. For many others, like myself, it will mean buying an iPad mini. Either way, Apple, and customers will win, and win big. For further reading, see Which iPad Is Right For You?, Apple’s New iPad Lineup: Prices, Specs And More, and Everything Apple Announced In About Five Minutes.