By Luis Cabrera
The New York Times says that Apple is developing a cheaper, smaller version of its popular iPad. Apple is at it again in the race to keep control the tablet market, a market that has been largely defined by the company. The new iPad Mini will have a 7.85 inch screen and will retail for considerably less than the latest iPad, which sells for $499 and has a 9.75 inch display.
Apple’s strategy for dominance seems to mimic the path of its famous MP3 player, the iPod, in recent years: bring customers into the company’s product family and then dazzle them with different versions and sizes to fit specific needs.
Leslie Grandy is a former Apple manager who left the company and became a consultant to start-up companies, and she says that a smaller version of the famous tablet would be very appealing to people who presently leave their iPad at home, because it is too bulky to carry. Although a seven-inch device is still too big for pockets, it would fit well in women’s purses. “This is a sweet spot for them,” Grandy expressed.
Apple now controls between sixty and seventy percent of the tablet market in the US, depending on which financial analyst you ask. At any rate, competitors have not been able to make a dent on Apple’s share, but that does not mean they’re not trying. For example, Google began shipping out its own Nexus 7 tablet last week, which is smaller and cheaper than Apple’s iPad and sells for $199. Google’s device is aiming to compete with both the iPad and the Kindle from rival Amazon.
Analysts estimate than for now, the Nexus 7 is the most serious threat to Apple’s dominance in the tablet world. The new Nexus 7 runs an Android platform, and has received great reviews for its software and battery life, and also for its compact design and affordable price.
Microsoft is rolling out its Surface possibly as soon as this fall. The company has a partnership with giant bookseller Barnes & Noble, and it is also investing a great deal of money in the existing Nook from B&N. Therefore, it is very likely that the Nook will adopt Microsoft software later.
Steve Jobs famously opposed a smaller iPad. The former CEO considered any version of a tablet below ten inches to be way too small for normal operation and vehemently expressed it during a 2010 conference with Wall Street analysts. “There are clear limits of how close you can physically place elements,” Jobs said at the time, “before users can not reliably tap or flick” on the device’s screen.
iPhone 5 Leak Rumors
In other news from Apple, there were unconfirmed rumors circulating online this week about possibly photo leaks of the iPhone 5. The alleged images show a taller version of the smart phone with a camera located in the middle. According to an article by International Business Times online, the new sixth-generation iPhone will feature a smaller port for connectivity, and will not be compatible with many currently-used accesories such as external speakers and stereo systems.
TechCrunch reported that three independent manufacturers have confirmed the 19-pin port will replace the existing 30-pin on the new smart phone by Apple. John Briggs of TechCrunch wrote that “new mini dock” connector would “send shocks through the iPhone accessory ecosystem.”