Steve Jobs wouldn't have allowed this. Or would he?
Apple's announcement of the iPad mini yesterday confounded both industry experts and consumers alike
Apple's announcement of the iPad mini yesterday confounded both industry experts and consumers alike.
Their hopes, long pinned to an entry level device in price, but Apple-level looks and performance were irrationally hopeful.
Apple is, make no mistake about it, a market-skimmer extraordinaire. The company provides consumers with just enough, or in some cases, not even enough bang for their buck, and manages to get them to part with vast wads of cash on a regular basis. This is the consumer version of 'negging' - and it works wonderfully.
Since the massive upturn following the original iPhone announcement, no Apple product launch has sated the market. The second iPhone lacked enough feature upgrades, the third was cheap and plasticky, the fourth was no great revision and number 5 simply added a few centimetres of screen length. And yet here I am, tapping this blogpost out on my shiny new iPhone 5.
The same applies to their MacBook and iPad ranges too, and last night's announcement was no different. To say this wouldn't have happened under Steve Jobs is simply not true.
Jobs presided over numerous Apple product launches that were slated by consumers and the market, impacting heavily on Apple's share price. But guess what? Punters still bought it and Apple still grew.
The major problem now however, is that while the iPad, iPhone and MacBook series had no major competitors at their original launches (we can argue this later if you like), the iPad mini already has established market competitors that come in several hundred dollars cheaper than Apple's offering.
You might argue that this has been Apple's game all along: more expensive offerings of products already available. But usually, Jobs understood that in addition to gloss and performance, there had to be a 'killer app'.
The iPhone had its unique operating system, the iPad was larger than other tablets and fused looks with usability like no one else had, MacBook's are sleeker, more powerful and come in a variety of configurations which importantly, run the much loved OSX operating system. There are many more.
But the iPad mini has no such attraction. It's a scaled down iPad that emulates the size of its competitors. Not even the most careless of Apple loyalists will feel comfortable throwing away nearly £300 on such a product. We'll probably end up justifying it to ourselves, but it won't be a comfortable experience. This is negging gone wrong (you don't want her getting nervous in the cab ride back to your place).
Instead, this time, I'm likely to go for a Kindle Fire HD. I'm no fan, to say the least, of Android. Google devices tend to offend me with their cheap, acrylic feel. But the Amazon product I can somehow justify. More on this another time.
It's untrue that a product launch wouldn't have sunk Apple's share price like the iPad mini did under Steve Jobs. It happened a lot. And worse. But it is true that Jobs would have, at the last moment, unveiled something unique about the product.
The iPad mini would have never happened under Steve Jobs. Not in it's current form.
Raheem Kassam is the Executive Editor of The Commentator and tweets at @raheemjkassam
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