The theories include:
- Because Apple can charge this much–its fans are either so brainwashed or so locked-in to Apple’s ecosystem that they’ll pay anything
- Because Apple wants to protect its extraordinarily high profit margin
- Because Apple’s “mini” is better than the Google and Amazon tablets
All of those theories probably factored into the decision.
And now there’s a new report out of Asia that adds a fourth theory, one that also makes sense:
Apple’s iPad mini production, at least for the time-being, is supply-constrained.
According to Siu Han and Alex Wolfgram at DigiTimes, Apple can’t get enough of the screens for the new iPad mini, and the ones it can get are expensive:
The US$329 price tag for Apple’s iPad mini is largely due to low yield rates for the device’s GF2 (DITO film) touch screen technology, according to industry sources.
The sources said the DITO film sensor is having mass production issues, which has been a big contributor to why the device is approximately 40-50% more expensive compared to other 7-inch tablets that have OGS or G/G structures.
The sources said that GF2 touch screen modules are only about roughly US$5 cheaper than G/G ones for the 9.7-inch iPad models. Read more at DigiTimes >
So, in other words, rather than stimulate absolutely massive demand for the new tablet by pricing it competitively, Apple is actually trying to control demand (and protect its profit margin) by pricing it higher.
Apple did this with the original iPhone, you will recall–pricing it at a positively usurious price in the early going, and then rapidly cutting that price when its supply chain and carrier networks ramped up. And the strategy certainly paid off then.
The circumstances now are very different, though: Apple’s competitors are already in market with high-quality much lower-priced tablets. So Apple does run the risk that it will alienate some potential customers, cannibalize sales of the bigger iPads, and lose some gound in the platform market-share war.
When it comes to Apple, talk show host Conan O’Brien’s parodies of its products and commercials are always a joy to watch. Today’s iPad mini skit is no different.
In this short video clip, Conan will tell you that “you’re just trying to fill the empty void in your sad life” – that is, of course, if you intend add the iPad mini to your extensive collection of Apple products.
That’s all on Coco, I didn’t say a thing. *Orders iPad mini*
The 4th-generation iPad comes just seven months after the launch of the previous model, a move that seems very un-Apple like.
Apple’s release of another new iPad this year has many scratching their heads. But Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty sees method behind the madness.
In an investors note out yesterday, Huberty ticked off three reasons why the company unveiled the iPad 4 so soon after its predecessor, which arrived earlier this year.
First, the 3rd-generation iPad, which the analyst calls a “stale product,” could have seen its sales cannibalized by the cheaper iPad Mini.
Second, sales for the 3rd-gen iPad were not as high as expected, which Huberty blamed on limited improvements over the iPad 2. Adding the A6 chip to the iPad 4 doubles the new tablet’s performance, which at least “partially addresses that issue.”
And finally, Apple may have relied on experience in pushing out a new iPad. The company refreshed the original iPod when it released smaller versions, which the analyst says “accelerated growth.”
Beyond Huberty’s reasons, Apple likely had other incentives in mind.
The 4th-generation iPad comes with the same Lightning interface found on the new iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPod Nano. As CNET’s Molly Wood lamented yesterday, this means that buyers of any of these new devices have tocough up the cash for all new accessories. Apple and its partners stand to gain hefty profits from all the new devices and adapters that people will be forced to purchase.
But I think the iPad refresh is also a matter of timing.
In the past, Apple’s product launches were spread out across the year. A new iPhone would pop up during the summer. A new iPad would appear in March. The company now seems more intent on releasing its new products, especially its mobile products, all around the same time.
So, each new iPhone debuts in September. Each new iPad Mini will debut in October. And now, each new 9.7-inch iPad will also likely debut in October. This timing puts all the products under the same seasonal umbrella. And more importantly, it ensures that Apple has a host of new devices ready in time for the critical holiday demand.
“…get your gadget-lovin’ ass to the back of the line…”
Mondo Media brings back Steve Jobs as a hologram rapper in Steve Jobs: Back of the Line, a parody rap song and animated music video where he introduces the iPad Mini. Last time we saw this hologram version of Steve Jobs he wasintroducing the iPhone 5. Back of the Line was written by Andy Ochiltree and Aaron Simpson and features music produced by dance pop artist Markaholic.
Well, hello there, the worst-kept secret in tech. Apple’s iPad mini is the company’s newest device, a 7.9-inch tablet that’s designed to go toe-to-toe with Google’s Nexus 7. For now, it’ll sit alongside the iPad 2and fourth-generation iPad, and as it packs the same 1,024 x 768 display as the second-generation slate, apps will carry across without any resizing. While Phil Schiller didn’t mention Google or the Nexus 7 by name, the rival slate (and Google’s app library) was compared to the newest iOS device. On stage, he claimed that the screen, which is .9-inch larger than the Nexus 7, gives the iPad mini 35 percent more display area than Google and ASUS’ collaboration.
On the hardware size, the 7.2mm thick, .68 pounds device has been manufactured with an “all new” process that gives it the same anodized edges as you’ll find on the iPhone 5. If you were hoping for equal specifications to the big-daddy iPad, you may be mildly disappointed. While it will pack a 5-megapixel camera and an LTE modem (if you opt to buy a cellular model), it’s running the last-generation A5 CPU. However, the slower internals and less potent display may account for how the company has been able to squeeze out a claimed 10 hours of use despite the constrained space for a battery. Pre-orders for the $329, 16GB WiFi-only model begin on Friday (October 26th) and will begin shipping on November 2nd. The cellular-equipped models will begin shipping a few weeks afterward on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, with the 16GB base model costing $459, running all the way to $659 for the 64GB unit.
Apple has an event planned for Tuesday, set for 10 AM Pacific in San Jose. It’s got something to do with the iPad mini, to be sure, but there’s tons of other stuff also rumored to be making an appearance. In fact, it’s beginning to look almost like an Apple fan’s hardware wish fulfillment fantasy, so let’s take stock of what’s supposedly coming and how likely we are to see it.
Here’s the skinny on the new, potentially skinnier iPad. The one consistent detail we’ve seen is that it’ll have a 7.85-inch screen, which, given its specificity, seems very likely to be true. There have also been plenty of images of supposedprototypes, mock-ups and dummy devices used by case manufacturers and others. Given all this info, we’re probably not going to be too surprised by the looks of what gets unveiled on stage next week – though what different color combinations (black or white, as with the iPhone and full-sized iPads) look like in production version could add some spice to the mix.
As for specs, the info is a little hazier. We’re probably going to get a tablet with a non-Retina diaplay, according to many sources, including a best-guess evaluation from frequently correct Apple blogger John Gruber. That won’t be necessarily all that disappointing; a 1024×768 display in a 7.85-inch screen adds up to a pixel density of 163ppi, better than the iPad 2′s 132ppi, though still a far cry from the new iPad’s 264ppi. But as Gruber notes, lightness and thinness should be Apple’s key selling points with an iPad mini, and Retina screen resolution is something that could run counter to both those goals.
We’ll likely see the A5 processor in the iPad mini, instead of the A6, according to early reports, with 512MB of RAM, though 1GB is also possible. There should be at least both Wi-Fi and cellular variants, though there’s some reason to believe we could also see a both a 3G and an LTE version sold separately. Internal storage capacities will likely start at 16GB and range up to 64GB, but there’s at least some suggestion we may even see 8GB versions at the low end, too.
Is the iPad mini real? At this point, it’s very nearly guaranteed. But variables like what capabilities it’ll have in terms of hardware specifics remain somewhat up in the air, which means Apple could still pull out some big surprises tomorrow around device specifics like pricing. It also might be called the iPad Air or something similar rather than the iPad mini, which would be a nice way of frustrating bloggers who’ve been putting “mini” in headlines for months now.
Over the weekend a photo leaked that appears to show an iPad with a Lightning port instead of the 30-pin dock connector. That’s in line with what we’ve been hearing about a minor iPad refresh that essentially just brings the current iPad in line with Lightning, though it also could experience some other minor upgrades to its internal components, including processor and battery. There are good reasons to believe this is true, and strong reasons against it, too.
First, Apple updating mobile hardware mid-cycle is almost unheard of. The exception is when it added a CDMA version of the iPhone 4, but that was a special case designed to take advantage of the end of an exclusivity agreement with carrier AT&T. Rumors of an iPad HD previously popped up indicating a mid-cycle refresh for the iPad back in July, 2011, too, but that never came to pass – Apple waited a full year to introduce the new iPad with Retina display, sticking to its upgrade cycle. This year, it did introduce new customization options for the Retina MacBook Pro just a few weeks after its introduction, but that only barely qualifies for a mid-cycle spec update.
On the other hand, there’s a very good reason to get a Lightning-equipped iPad out there ahead of time: the full-sized iPad will be the only new device Apple is selling without the new connection standard if it launches the iPad mini with Lightning as expected. Making sure that all new, late model hardware that rolls off the line has Lightning will increase the time it’ll take for that to become the dominant standard, helping Apple wind down its dock connector production more quickly and benefiting supply chain costs in the long run.
One other report says that Apple will revise the iPad with improved support for global LTE, along the lines of the iPhone 5. Apple could reap significant benefits from making those changes to iPad, and since it’s not all that close to the device’s original release date, it also doesn’t run as much of a risk of angering customers, and really, so long as they keep these changes minimal and still push a real iPad update sometime early next year, I don’t think any buyers would be inconsolable at the outcome.
Retina MacBook Pro
Apple debuted the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro at WWDC this year in June, and almost immediately countless friends and acquaintances chimed in saying they’d love the same thing in a 13-inch form factor. Such a device is reportedly on the way, according to a number of sources, including a recent leak of images of the notebook’s internals and casing. Earlier, there were rumors that the 13-inch rMBP and updated iMacs would arrive in September/October, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, so seeing them now would hardly surprise.
Also, Apple typically introduces refreshed Macs around this time, with the likely intent of adding fuel to the consumer fire that is holiday shopping season. The 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro primed the engine and appealed to pros, but a 13-inch version will be much more palatable to the average shopper, especially after the rave reviews enjoyed by its larger sibling during the past half year.
Redesigned iMac and Mac mini
The iMac hasn’t been updated in over a year, which is unusual for Apple’s all-in-one. In fact, it’s been almost double the average time between updates since it’s gotten any love. The Mac mini is also looking pretty overdue for a change. Some rumors suggest we could see something as dramatic as a much slimmer case design for the iMac, which could indeed be possible since the iMac hasn’t undergone significant phsyical changes to its external case since 2007. Both machines are likely to get USB 3.0, however, as well as improved processors and generally boosted internal specifications.
We will not see a Retina display on the refreshed iMac, so don’t get your hopes up. It’s just unlikely that costs have gotten to where that’s a feasible thing, and benefits in terms of actual user needs are questionable.
iTunes 11 (or simply “New iTunes”)
Apple’s big redesign for iTunes was previewed on stage at the iPhone 5 event, but it hasn’t yet arrived, despite a promised release window of “October.” Now, it seems like Apple was intentionally waiting for this event to officially release it to the public. Apple’s got a stage, they’ve got some (seemingly feature complete) new software, the whole thing just makes sense. Plus, Apple likes to have at least something “available right now” to announce alongside upcoming products, which is what the iPad mini will presumably be.
That’s what’s likely on tap for tomorrow’s event, but tune back here at TechCrunch to find out how it all shakes out in the end.
Apple’s iPad Mini isn’t yet a real product: It hasn’t been announced yet. However, that may change soon with talk of an upcoming event. And now there is a retail inventory system reportedly showing tablet pricing in 4 different storage capacities with Wi-Fi and cellular.
Apple’s iPad Mini has yet to be announced, but the device is reportedly appearing in a consumer electronics retail inventory system, complete with model and pricing information. The MobileGeeks site has a picture of the system, depicting various capacities and wireless capabilities with pricing starting at 249 Euros (US $322.60) for an 8 GB iPad Mini with Wi-Fi only.
According to MobileGeek’s source, the inventory screen cap is from systems used by Media Market / Saturn; a retail group with 70,000 employees that operates stores in 18 European and Asian markets. Reported capacities for the iPad Mini will be in 8-, 16- 32- and 64 GB models with Wi-Fi and each will also be available with integrated cellular radios, making for 8 different configurations.
We won’t know for sure if this pricing is accurate until Apple introduces the product, of course. But the prices sound reasonable; especially you translate the Euros directly to US dollars instead of converting them — a common practice. In fact, earlier today when recording our weekly podcast, I speculated that a 16 GB Wi-Fi iPad Mini would be priced at $349; the exact same amount in Euros that MobileGeeks has found.
The new iPod touch — which I bought and think is superb — priced at $299 may have provided some iPad Mini pricing insight. Apple wouldn’t likely have the iPod touch compete directly with a small iPad and if this pricing hold true, it isn’t. My 32 GB iPod touch cost $299 and the same capacity for an iPad Mini appears to be $449; a difference large enough that keeps the two from competing on price, for example.
At $249 for an 8 GB model, some will note that the same storage capacity on a Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HD is $50 less. That’s true and it fits with Apple’s ability to get a premium price from those wanting to use its ecosystem of apps and media. In other words, I could easily see people spend the extra $50 for a Mini iPad over Android competitors.
We also know that an 8GB Nexus 7 costs roughly $152 in parts and production. An 8 GB iPad Mini with Wi-Fi would likely cost a similar amount and at $249, that gives Apple a 38.6 percent profit margin on the low model with even higher margins on the other models. Based on that, I suspect these prices are legitimate, although they could just be placeholders. At the very least, they certainly make sense to me.
Here are the five tablets with the best chance of keeping the rumored iPad Mini from taking the 7-inch tablet crown.
The iPad Mini has yet to be officially announced, but it’s kind of the worst-kept secret in tech right now. There’s a very good chance it’ll be revealed later this month (although what its final name will be remains to be seen) and even if you’ve no plans to purchase it, you’ll likely want to know what it has to offer anyway.
The Mini is rumored to sport a 7.85-inch screen at a price of at least $299. But when and if it debuts, it will not enter a vacuous 7-inch tablet market. Its opponents will compete on price, ecosystem, performance, and features. Each offers something unique and Apple’s new tablet will have to be an amazing piece of kit to answer the challenge.
Without further lollygagging, let’s get to the list.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0
The most expensive tablet on the list also includes the most physical features. Given its IR blaster, dual cameras, and microSD expansion, $249 doesn’t look so bad. In performance it’s probably the weakest of the five, however.
Kindle Fire (2012)
The 2012 update to 2011’s Kindle Fire sports an identical design, but gets a few internal upgrades: twice the RAM, a faster processor, and an update to the latest version of the Kindle Fire OS. It may not seem like much compared with others on the list, until its $159 price smacks you across the face, waking you from your apathetic stupor.
Barnes & Noble Nook HD
It won’t be available until later this month, but I got some hands-on time with the new 7-inch Nook HD a few weeks back and was impressed by its redesigned interface, extremely light weight, microSD storage expansion, 1,140×900-pixel-resolution screen, and the inclusion of the fastest processor yet in a 7-inch tablet, the 1.3GHz OMAP 4470. At $199, the Nook HD will clearly make its case. Too small? The 9-inch Nook HD+ debuts at the same time for only $269.
Kindle Fire HD
If you’re an Amazon Prime member with a penchant for watching books, movies, TV shows, and music, the Fire HD should definitely be in your crosshairs. At only $199, the Fire HD sports an amazing-looking screen, a 720p front camera, Bluetooth, and the best speakers you’ve ever heard on any tablet. If you like what you hear, but still feel 7 inches is too small, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 (in Wi-Fi and 4G LTE versions) launches on November 20.
Google Nexus 7
The current king of 7-inch tablets wins its crown by offering Tegra 3-induced performance, NFC communication, and the latest version of the Android OS, Jelly Bean. Not to mention its extremely comfortable design and $199 price. The iPad Mini will need to offer a very good features-to-price ratio if it hopes to become the best 7-inch tablet yet.
That 2048×1536 retina display on the new iPad is really big in pixel terms. It’s hard to find wallpapers that do it justice, since they have to be 2048×2048 squares to rotate properly. A site called 2048pixels popped up to solve this problem, and it just launched a new version that lets you customize wallpapers right from the site, even on the iPad itself. Here’s how to use it.
2048pixels is built to feel like a native iPad app (but it works great on the desktop Web, too). You can view it in both portrait and landscape orientation, and you can even flip between dark and light mode using the square button in the top right corner. It has a nice gallery of images already, and it accepts submissions, so new images will be added all the time.
The new “Homescreen FX” mode allows you to adjust the image you choose with overlaid textures, blur and pixellation effects. Here’s how to use 2048px to customize your perfect iPad wallpaper.
1. Pick your wallpaper
Flip through the pages of the gallery to find a wallpaper you like. You can also just refresh the page to see a new assortment.
2. Tap ‘fx’ in the top left corner of the wallpaper page
3. Tweak the image to your heart’s content
The editing controls have two modes, ‘Pixelate’ and ‘Blurry,’ which you can adjust independently with sliders. Each mode also has three textures that can be layered on top: ‘Lines,’ ‘Mesh’ and ‘Grains.’
4. Tap ‘Done’
If you like your creation, tap ‘Done’ to prepare it for download. If you don’t, you can just hit ‘Cancel’ and start over.
5. Download or share your wallpaper
You can save your finished wallpaper by tapping the image or the ‘Download’ button, then tap and hold on the image and select ‘Save Image.’ You can also share your wallpaper by email, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.
Now that the iPhone 5 is out, there’s just one more thing for Apple nerds to freak out over: The iPad Mini. Rumors have been cropping up like crazy the past few weeks—enough to start putting together what we’ll actually see from a 7-inch Apple tablet.
So let’s talk iPads. Small iPads.
What Will It Look Like?
If the accuracy of the iPhone 5 leaks is anything to go by, we’ve probably got a pretty good jump on what the new tablet will look like. What we’ve seen so far jibes with previous thoughts that the bezel on the smaller iPad will be thinner than it is on the full sized version, due to ergonomics.
Otherwise, surprise! It reportedly looks like a shrunk-down iPad (as opposed to a bigger iPod touch). There had been decent amount of conflicting speculation, but the rumor-mongers (and, more importantly, leaked images) seem to have settled on the squatter version, to the tune of a 7.85-inch diagonal measurement.
And yes, iOS can pretty easily scale down to a 7.85-inch screen as-is and remain usable. So there shouldn’t be any concerns about fragmenting the platform with different versions of iPad apps for the two sizes.
We’ve also seen similar a similar model lined up next to a Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7.
Update: A Ukrainian iPhone blog has also claimed to have leaked parts to the iPad Mini, with some new details. Appearance-wise, it’s got an anodized black aluminum backplate.
Chances are, an iPad Mini would look a lot like an iPad 2 on the inside. That means using the die-shrunk 32nm A5 processor, and probably 512MB of RAM. The only big internal departure from the iPad 2, in fact, would probably be the inclusion of a Lightning port instead of a 30-pin connector. And for what it’s worth, all of the cases and mockups we’ve seen have had rear-facing camera.
Stuffing the iPad 2’s guts into a smaller iPad Mini makes even more sense after Apple outed thenew A5-powered iPod touch. Tim Cook’s Apple is all about supply chain efficiency. And having sunk some cash into shrinking down the A5 fairly recently for the upgraded iPad 2 and now the iPod touch, it would make total sense for an iPad Mini to squeeze as much out of that component as possible.
Early on, it was assumed that a small iPad might not have a retina display. As a value proposition—added cost and battery consumption—it just didn’t seem to add up. But the $200 Kindle Fire HD’s gorgeous 216PPI screen changed that calculus, as did the possible availability ofbattery-friendly Sharp Izgo displays.
Some photos and measurements (supposedly) of the iPad Mini seem to indicate that it doesn’t have an Aspect Ratio of 4:3 like the full size iPads (see link below). Note that Apple just increased the Aspect Ratio of the iPhone 5 up to 1.78 from 1.50 for the iPhone 4, so it isn’t unreasonable to assume that the same thing could happen with the iPad Mini, especially if it is positioned for selling TV content, which has 16:9. An Aspect Ratio of 4:3 is great for reading because it has the same Aspect Ratio as content on 8.5×11 inch documents, but a smaller 7 to 8 inch screen with a 4:3 Aspect Ratio will be noticeably Letterboxed with 16:9 content, with reduced image size.
Keeping the 768 pixel height will allow Apps expecting 1024×768 to be displayed with Letterbox borders in the same way as on the iPhone 5.
Here are the possibilities:
1024×768 is 4:3 = 1.33
1152×768 is 4.5:3 = 1.50 <— Most Likely based on photo
1228×768 is 16:10 = 1.60
1366×768 is 16:9 = 1.78
The Kindle Fire HD’s gorgeous screen really holds Apple over the coals to nail the display on an iPad Mini. Especially if the latter costs as much as we think it might.
Update: The WSJ reports that the iPad Mini will have a “lower resolution” than the most recent full-sized iPad, which implies no retina for you. Which makes the question of pricing very interesting.
There haven’t been too many rumors about the price of a small iPad, but the biggest clue might come from Apple itself. The new iPod Touch starts at $300. It would be kind of nuts if Apple started selling a 7.85-inch tablet for the same price as its iPod, or for less. This year’s iPad starts at $500, and the iPad 2 at $400. So the Mini will have to dance around those price points as well.
Whatever it ends up costing, though, it seems like it will be a good deal more expensive than its $200 competitors the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7—despite having an inferior display.
There are a few rumors floating around that the Mini will have 3G, but there’s no solid evidence either way. The most convincing thing we’ve seen thus far has been what appears to be a plastic cover on some of the alleged leaked iPad Mini parts for the 3G antenna.
We would note, though, that both the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7 only come in Wi-Fi only. And that there may not be enough room in that 7.85-inch frame to squeeze a battery that can handle data suckage with any competence.
While we’re all using “iPad Mini” as a working title, it doesn’t seem to be based on anything in particular. So it could be called anything. For what it’s worth, though, the backplates we’ve seen have just said “iPad.”
Right now, the best rumor we have for a release date says the invitations will go out October 10th. That would probably mean an October 17th event. Apple typically releases products one or two Fridays after its keynotes.
For what it’s worth, those Fridays are October 26th, the release date for Windows 8, and November 2nd, just a few days before the presidential election.
Update:: The WSJ reports that iPad Mini component production has already kicked into high gear, with LG Display and AU Optronics cranking