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2012-03-28

Arguments in favor or the “iPad mini”

A smaller version of the iPad has been rumored for quite some time. Recently, rumors have become more concrete: An “iPad mini” might come out before the end of the year, with a screen size of 7.85 inch. The article “Apple Has 163 Reasons To Release Fabled ‘iPad mini’” (by A.T. Faust III for AppAdvice) provides interesting arguments in favor of that theory. Highlights:
  • A rumored screen size of 7.85 inch is awfully specific.
  • Only a 1024x768 screen resolution makes sense, otherwise all existing apps would have to be rewritten. Given that resolution and a screen size of 7.85 inch, the pixel density would be 163 pixels per inch.
    • That’s exactly the same resolution as the older iPod touches and iPhones, which means that the screen production facilities for those devices are ready to make iPad mini screens, cheaply.
    • At that resolution, user interface elements would still be large enough for touching.
A few more guesses:
  • Prices (always “starting at”):
    • iPod touch: $199
    • iPad 2: $399
    • iPad: $499
    That would hint at the iPad mini costing $299. To compare, the Kindle Fire currently starts at $199. Hence, the iPad mini would still be significantly more expensive than the Kindle Fire. However, the iPad mini will have more apps and assumedly a better build quality. Therefore, with $199 being too high for impulse buys, Apple might still make life difficult for the Fire (“if I’m already spending that much money...”).
  • Features: Apple could omit the cameras to save money, but if the prices indeed start at $299 then they probably don’t need to. It’ll be interesting to see how aggressively Apple goes after the Fire, price-wise.
  • The strategy of not leaving much breathing room to the competition would fit with what Apple has done with the iPod, where it also quickly dominated the market: They started with premium models and then introduced ever cheaper ones (iPod mini, etc.).
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