James Woods on the iPad Mini: Why would they?
The iPad Mini story has been knocking around for a while now, and plenty of people have been weighing in on the “will they or won’t they” argument. Certainly it makes sense from a pixel point of view. And from a cost standpoint, too. If Apple uses already-in-place display technology, which, rumor has it, will mirror the resolutions of the iPad and iPad 2, it’ll end up with a cheap device that developers can easily port their apps to.
Where the argument looses steam is in the “why would they” side of things. The iPad has already proven itself to be a desirable product. Why bother making a cheap one when millions of the expensive one are flying off the shelves?
My guess is that Amazon forced their hand a little. No one could touch the iPad’s market share till the Kindle Fire came along (I’m not saying it directly affected sales but it surely has gotten the attention of the Apple board). You couple that with the fact that those people who purchased the Kindle Fire are now locking themselves (so to speak) further to Amazon by purchasing content from Amazon’s services and you have to imagine Apple would consider seriously entering the lower-budget tablet market.
My initial thought was that a cheaper iPad has the potential to cut into the iPad’s sales. People desire the iPad. Offering a cheaper alternative might mean less people saving to get the latest iPad and settling for the lesser product instead. However, maybe Apple knows this and thinks that the amount of cannibalizing the iPad Mini would do to its current iPad sales will be outweighed by tapping into a new market.
Amazon has shown that there were a lot of consumers on the fence due to the high cost of the iPad and other larger slates. Apple wants that market, not just for the initial sales but for the knock-on effect. The iPad Mini is bound to act as a gateway to more iPad sales. I’m pretty sure if Apple had announced the iPad before the iPhone it wouldn’t have done as well. People wanted the iPad because they knew what to expect and what it could do from using their iPhones. Hence why the iPad Mini could act as a gateway drug to the larger, more expensive iPad.
Of course, we have been through all this before with the low-cost iPhone. Apple simply went the route of continuing to sell older models to meet the low-cost demand. Who’s to say they won’t just continue to stick with that model for the iPad, too?