With rumours circling about a possible iPad mini, the confirmation of an event in San Jose next week has turned the spark of rumours into a fire of speculation. Just like we did with the iPad and iPhone 5, EFTM takes a look at what we know, what we don’t know, and what we think Apple has in store for us.
The invitation Apple sent to the media this week says nothing more than “We’ve got a little more to show you”. As we see it, this can be read a couple of different ways: Firstly that “little” refers to the size of the product being released, the iPad Mini.
Secondly, they have a host of new products and updates and didn’t want to show them at the iPhone event last month, which would have taken the focus of the iPhone 5.
Most likely, it’s a little from column A and a little from column B.
So what do we expect to see?
The current iMac is quite out-dated in today’s tech world. It does not have the latest Ivy Bridge Intel processors, nor does it have USB 3, or a Retina display. All of these features were part of the refresh of the MacBook range earlier this year, so from where we sit, there is little doubt Apple must release an update this month to include Ivy Bridge and USB 3 at a minimum.
Another thing to consider is the fact that the current design of the iMac is over five years old. With arguably the best industrial designers in the world working at the company, one has to assume they have plans to make a splash with an all new iMac design.
This would drive physical computer sales for the company and would push their all-in-one business further to the leading edge. PC competitors are coming up with excellent products that seem to lack just one thing, and that is the design.
So from where we sit, iMac updates are a given, it’s just a matter of whether they go the whole hog, or just the bits and bobs inside.
At the WWDC earlier this year, Apple refreshed their Macbook range with new components, but also launched a new product, the MacBook Pro with Retina display. Despite being available in only one size, the Retina MacBook has been a great success.
So with that in mind, a 13 inch MacBook pro with Retina display would be a great addition to the MacBook family.
Thanks to the Samsung vs Apple court case in the USA, we know that Apple has been internally discussing a smaller tablet. In early 2011, Apple exec Eddy Cue sent a note to several executives saying “I believe there will be a seven-inch market and we should do one.”
That alone is not evidence they have been working on one, but anyone who has used or even held the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 will know it’s a fantastic size, great weight and excellent overall form factor.
Samsung’s problem was that the device was over-priced. If expectations around the tech world are to be believed, Apple have been working on a smaller iPad and it’s ready to launch.
This 7.8 inch device would pack the punch of the iPad 2 in a smaller form factor. With the same aspect ratio as existing iPads and possibly the resolution of the iPad 2, the display will look amazing and suit all existing iPad applications.
There are a couple of good reasons to do this. Firstly there is something to be said for the market that Amazon is building for eBooks with its Kindle. Apple doesn’t want Amazon to own that space as they currently do, so introducing a lighter smaller and cheaper device will help take the eBook market share, and help them grow the iBook store.
Secondly is price. At just over $400, the entry level iPad is still a little too expensive for some people. So imagine a $299 or $339 iPad. It does everything you want in an iPad, just with a smaller footprint.
That’s the market Apple wants to have a part of. It’s an offensive move to stop people considering the Google Nexus 7 or other cheap Android tablets because of price. They want to be in with a fight down at the $200 range, making people want to dig for that little bit better to have “the” tablet as it is perceived in the market.
This product will drive millions and millions of sales for Apple, get people through the store doors, and more importantly, increase App Store and iTunes revenue. It’s a no brainer.
There are still quite a few unanswered questions though. Will it look like the leaked mock ups being circulated online? I sure hope not – that’s an ugly looking device.
Will it have mobile data? WiFi is a given, but will they pack a 4G chip into the device? Based on a target value, this is debatable. If they don’t, I feel the pricing needs to be between $250-$299. If they do, then the “mobile” version should be under $400.
One issue with pricing Apple will have to consider is where this iPad mini sits in the broad product range. Let’s have a look at some of the low end products:
- iPod Shuffle $55
- 16 GB iPod Nano $169
- 32GB iPod Touch $329
- 64GB iPod Touch $439
- 16GB iPad 2 $429
- 16GB iPad New $539
- 16GB iPad New with Mobile Data $679
You can see there, the $200-$400 range isn’t busy, but it also makes the iPod Touch an interesting purchase if there is an iPad anywhere around the $300-$350 mark. Where the price lands we won’t know, however the smart money would say early $300 mark for the basic model and high $300s for the mobile data version.
The announcement will take place at 4am Wednesday 24th October Australian time. EFTM will be there to bring you all the news as it happens.
Availability is always interesting with Apple products, however with Christmas fast approaching, you would have to expect something in stores early November if they want to drive those millions of per-Christmas sales.