July 16, 2012
iPad Mini Fever Is Contagious
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
There´s been a lot of tablet talk this year. Apple released the newest version of their best-selling tablet this spring, the new iPad. Last month, Microsoft took to a seedy Los Angeles back-alley warehouse and announced they had plans to someday release a tablet of their own. Just weeks later, Google announced their very own tablet– the Nexus 7– at the Google I/O developers conference. A 7-inch tablet, the Nexus 7 was available to order immediately and started at a Kindle-Fire-competitive $199.The Kindle Fire is still around, by the way. Despite the analyst reports which say Amazon´s tablet was less of a Fire and more of a Flash, rumors have been heating up that Amazon will throw their hat once more into this booming tablet market with a larger, more capable slab. Such a tablet could be released as early as July 31, according to CNET.
Yes, it seems the industry is now keen on catching up with the iPad, and it only took them 2 years to bring their solutions to the market (with the notable exception of the Microsoft surface, of which no one has had a chance to fully review).
Now, any criticism or praise of these other tablets is once more being drowned out by the thunderous roar of rumors of a smaller iPad, and this morning, the New York Times joined the chorus.
The Times has confirmed what many have believed for years: Apple is developing a new, 7.85-inch tablet which is expected to sell at a market-shaking price point. Such a report is a strong indication that these rumors could end up being very true.
Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported the same thing, another strong indication. After all, the Journal has a strong track record when it comes to Apple rumors, so much so that many believe Apple strategically leaks information to them. With both the Journal and the Times confirming this smaller iPad rumor, it seems incredibly likely Apple will release such a tablet sometime this year.
It also causes many to question the sincerity of Tim Cook´s “double-down on secrecy” claim he made at this year´s All Things D conference.
Apple isn´t known as a reactionary company, releasing new products and product revisions in order to directly compete with another, existing product. Therefore, it´s unlikely Apple plans to release such a tablet in order to defy Amazon, Google or any other company who plans to release a 7-inch tablet.
As the Times points out, it´s more likely Apple is sending the iPad on the same trail blazed by their game-changing iPods. The first iPods started out with one screen size and remained in a familiar shape. The iPad mini was released 2 years later, introducing a smaller form factor and smaller drive options. One year later, they introduced the Shuffle, a much smaller device with much smaller drive options. The Shuffle, however, introduced a sub-$100 price point, a move which was seen as the final nail in the coffin of the dying non-iPod media player market.
So far, it seems as if Apple is sticking with their iPod game plan, announcing the small iPad two years after their first, game-changing device.
Many have also suggested Apple could give this new iPad the iPod Touch moniker, expanding the market´s view of tablets.
If these rumors are true (and it appears as if they are) Apple could put a quick end to the developing tablet market just as it´s finally put wheels to the ground“¦just two years after Apple.