Amazon Compares Apples To Oranges
October 30, 2012

Amazon Pits Fire HD Against Apple’s iPad Mini

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

The fight is on. When Apple unveiled their iPad Mini last week, they weren´t only launching a new product, they were launching a new battle in the larger, mobile devices war.

Apple doesn´t often release products for the sake of fighting off the competition, yet it´s difficult to see the iPad mini as anything but. At the very least, some may skew the mini as an added option for those devout iPad fans. No matter; The iPad mini is here and, if it performs anything like it´s larger, older sibling, it´s going to go like gangbusters.

Which is why Amazon is already baring its teeth.

Yesterday, Amazon shoppers were greeted by an ad on the front page of the website for a member of the Amazon Kindle family. This is, of course, quite common, as Amazon has never had an issue with promoting their devices on their front page amongst the rest of the various and sundry items for sale in their marketplace. This ad for the new Kindle Fire HD – Amazon´s newest participant in the 7-inches war – begins with a quote from a web site which has a tendency to be very polarizing: Gizmodo.

Any Apple fan who first saw this ad likely groaned as soon as they read the quote which bashes Apple for “cramming a worse screen in there, (the iPad mini) charging more, and accusing others of compromise.”

The headline, “Much More for Much Less” follows the Gizmodo quote, and the two tablets are laid side by side as Amazon highlights where it believes its tablet bests Apple´s.

The main point Amazon seems to be driving home with this ad, however, isn´t that their Fire HD competes with Apple on several key components (it does) but that the iPad mini is just plain expensive.

It´s an old and dated argument, one that once ran rampant in the early days of Apple. The iPod, a total game changer in many ways, helped to further this misconception about Apple. As the iPod grew in popularity, the larger populace became acutely aware that Apple likes to charge a premium for their devices, sometimes referred to as the “Apple tax.”

Amazon´s ad points out, rightly so, that the Fire HD´s screen is of a higher resolution than Apple´s. It also dedicates 2 of its 5 points to this fact. To be fair, they nearly dedicate a third point to this fact, mentioning that the Fire HD plays HD movies and TV while the iPad mini does not.

In another attempt at fairness, while the Fire HD may have the Amazon-branded “Ultra-fast MIMO Wi-Fi”, the mini uses the same super quick dual-band Wi-Fi antennas as the iPhone 5 in addition to LTE, an option the Fire HD is without.

All told, this ad is about the race to the bottom. Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, said it best when he announced these new 7-inch tablets in September: “We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices.”

In other words, Amazon will do their damnedest to get a Kindle device in everyone´s hands. It´s merely the gateway to a much larger marketplace. Based solely on specs, the iPad mini and Kindle Fire HD might be more closely matched than many Apple fans would have appreciated, and if a buyer is shopping based purely on price, they´d never darken Apple´s doors to begin with. Apple´s iPad mini isn´t a non-starter, however...far from it. Amazon knows this and is taking a surprising step to sweep up those consumers who are shopping on price alone.

For anyone else, the mini is likely to sell very well. After all, it´s still very much an iPad, and if the past 2 years have taught us anything, it´s that “people love their iPads.”