Monday, October 15, 2012

iPad Mini: iSlate or Mini. And $250 or $300? How about $200

It seems that everyone has taken for granted that Apple will introduce the iPad mini, a name that should not be itched in stone since Apple has their own creative way of naming things (remember, Apple owns iSlate right?), on October 23rd.  So, it’s no longer a rumor.  It’s a fact now.

The next couple of questions on everyone’s mind is how much and what can it do as in what specs will it have. Will it be at $250 or at a more Apple-esque $300?  And how about the screen?  Retina Display or will a smaller screen featuring 1024x728 be enough?

There are a whole host of articles from bloggers to “professional” or “mainstream” media about this.  Each claiming to know what Apple is going to do.  I think it’s more important to focus on what Apple did not do in the past and what it ain’t gonna do.

First, we can forget the $200 price.  $250?  That’s a bit hard to swallow because of where Apple is in terms of trying to protect and maintain its profit margin.  I can see $250 largely because Apple has so many other profitable devices, namely the iPhone, high-end iPads, and Retina Macbooks.  In fact, Apple could reach the golden $250 price point by trying to offset it with higher margin iPad mini.  Remember, Apple will increase each 8 GB of memory storage with a $100 premium and/or a $130 premium for LTE models.

If Apple wants to kill off its 7” tablet competitors, it could reach deep, sacrifice a couple of points of profit market and really hit the $200 sweet spot, still making a few bucks on the low-end iPad Mini, and try to make up for other lost margins with textbooks/apps/media sales.  If Amazon’s Jeff Bezos could do it, why not Tim Cook.

After all, today’s Apple is Tim Cook’s, no longer Steve Jobs.  Tim is going to try to maintain the lead in the tablet market that Apple has and it is not so willing to give that up.  And it has an ecosystem second to none that not even Amazon or Microsoft can hope to duplicate.  Nor do they have the tens of dedicated fans who are willing to buy anything Apple.

We’ll know a week from tomorrow just what Apple release and how it’ll position it for us mobile warriors.  It’ll be an interesting and possibly pivotal day in mobile computing.

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