iPad Mini could be Apple's 'thermonuclear device' that destroys Android

iPad Mini could be Apple's 'thermonuclear device' that destroys Android

Summary: While billion dollar courtroom wins are great, the best way for Apple to "go thermonuclear" on Google's mobile platform is to obliterate its sales, and the iPad Mini could allow it to do just that.

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TOPICS: iPad, Apple, Hardware, Tablets
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Steve Jobs never hid his hatred for Google's Android platform. Shortly before his death, Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson of his wish to see the mobile platform annihilated.

"I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank [at the time, this bank balance has swelled massively since Jobs uttered these words], to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

Last week Apple scored a massive blow against Android in the form of a billion dollars in damages against handset and tablet maker Samsung. While there little doubt that this will now go to appeal, it's certainly going to make Android handset makers lose some sleep.

But a win for Apple in the courts only takes the company so far. The best way for the Cupertino juggernaut to "go thermonuclear" on Android is to obliterate its sales. The iPhone has the handset market well stitched up, and the iPad has all but wiped out high-end Android tablet sales. All that's left is the newly emerged budget tablet market created by the $199 Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 tablets. As compelling as the iPad is, it cannot compete with these chap 7-inch tablets.

Enter the iPad Mini.

According to AllThingsD's John Paczkowski, the iPad Mini has now been "confirmed" by "several sources" and will be announced at an event in October. While I have a problem with the use of the word "confirmed" -- the iPad Mini won't be confirmed until Apple announces it -- there's certainly a compelling case for Apple releasing a sub-8-inch iPad, and there's a reasonably solid framework of rumors that suggest the existence of the device in the supply chain pipeline.

I am, however, compelled to point out that nothing concrete is known about the iPad Mini, and everything written about it is being based on guesswork and speculation. Not a single hardware component allegedly belonging to the iPad Mini has been leaked, in stark contrast to the endless leaking of purported iPhone 5 components.

What we can say with certainty about the iPad Mini is that it would ideally need to be priced at or below $299 in order to remain competitive in the face of the iPad 2 and 3. Given that back in March research firm iSuppli estimated that it cost Apple some $245 to make the revamped iPad 2, hitting that price point could be tricky, but it is doable, even taking into account Apple's bounteous profit margins.

According to Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst of Moor Insights & Strategy, Apple needs a 7-inch tablet because without one it faces the prospect of losing market share and profit dollars.

"The Google Nexus 7 will sell well," writes Moorhead, "which is good for Google, Android, ASUS and NVIDIA, but bad for Apple, unless they act before the holidays".

Well, if AllThingsD is correct, Apple's going to be ready for the holidays with its own small tablet, and if it is priced right, it's likely to be a massive hit. Also, because its release is staggered a little more than six months following the release of the last iPad, it's unlikely to cannibalize sales of its bigger brother.

ZDNet's James Kendrick suggested that Apple could rock the world with an iPad Mini, which he dubbed the iBook. I have to say that if Apple does it right -- and if past history is anything to go by, it will -- then this could be bigger than both the iPad and the iPhone, and it could be just the thermonuclear device that the company needs to win the war against Android.

Gallery: Top accessories for your iPhone and iPad

Image source: Nickolay Lamm/InventHelp.

Topics: iPad, Apple, Hardware, Tablets

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180 comments
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  • An iPad Mini won't destroy Android.

    Android is supported by "true believers", people for whom the politics (religion?) of the situation vastly outweighs the technical merits. These folks will never surrender. They may become a meaninglessly small contingent (sort of like Symbian true believers) but they will never completely disappear.

    On the other hand, if you're really asking: "Would an iPad Mini just about sew-up the tablet market for Apple?", then the answer is "Probably yes."
    Atlant
    • nexus 7 has patents to back it up

      Apple keeps on following Android where ever it goes. They have attached and got a bias win in the US when they lost everywhere else with these patents. But now Google has retaliated, and they do obtain a ban on all iPhone devices due to Apple's blatant copying of:

      - notifications
      - Google Voice
      - Google Maps
      - Folders
      - Global Search that has been around for over 6 years.

      Apple will see it self in a very hard spot, as Google invent and patented most of these before iPhone or iPod ever existed.

      This win for Apple and the fallout from competitors and consumers will resonate. Effectively all its done is prevent US users from having the best options. The rest of the World will have them and US consumers will live by old archaic standards.
      Uralbas
      • What about . . .

        Widgets? I honestly don't know, does Apple have widgets?
        stano360
        • ...

          Yes. In OS X since I can remember...and they're called "widgets".
          JL05XI
          • They don't work in the same way

            The OS X widgets are not visible on the actual desktop or home screen. They only appear temporarily while the desktop/homescreen is unavailable to the user. You can't use both the homescreen and the widgets at the same time. That's very important distinction technically.
            laequis
          • Desk Accessories were the widgets of 3 decades ago

            Invented by Apple and persistent on the desktop of the first Mac and useable floating above other apps as well.
            Melciz
        • Not in iOS

          For Apple, IF they put widgets in (doubting that) it will be how they implement and how they work (size, dynamic, resize, etc...) in iOS that will be the challenge fro Apple.
          rhonin
          • Google needs to patent widgets first

            They also need to patent 7" rounded rectangles first.

            Oh and they need to patent everything about Google maps mobile so Apple can't compete.

            What else?

            ...

            They could also patent cell phone apps that integrate with web based search engines!
            T1Oracle
          • They might have done that already.

            But then Google doesn't charge for Android. It's an open platform if you will, but Google should be able to stop non-Android conforming companies to use the open platform patents.

            Apple could use the "widgets" patent if they subscribe to Android, I guess.
            laequis
      • Notification center-like appeared years before Android

        So there was nothing to "copy".

        Google Voice was never AI-drived, fluent-speech understanding personal assistant.

        Apple's Maps are based on work of at least three mapping companies with years of independent research and development. Nothing to do with "copying" either.

        Folders? Very weird point. Does not even need an answer.

        Global search was made by Apple in 1990s.
        DDERSSS
        • Pinch to zoom appeared years before Apple iPhone too, but yet...

          A pull-down notification message center on a mobile device is different.

          Then there is the issue of Google Maps Street View. It's not just the actual data but the idea and process of making that data available to the user in a Map via a mobile device. Doesn't Google own the data of the street views?

          Apple opened up a hornets nest and they will be stung badly by it in the end.

          I've already heard rumors that Samsung will make it more difficult for Apple to get them to make screens for Apple for one.
          laequis
          • Pinch to zoom on mobile capacitive screen never appear before Apple

            Waving hands in the air as in stupid sci-fi movies or using this on devices that have size and cost of a small car is nothing like moving fingers on mobile device. Different technology, different body parts used.
            DDERSSS
          • DRESS is right, which is sad

            Apple was just the first one to the patent office to add the word "on mobile" to the existing patent. That's the way our patent office works.
            toddbottom3
      • You can't patent an idea!

        You can't patent an idea. For example the idea of including notifications in an operating system (notifications have been around for decades, long before Android or iOS). But you can patent a unique way of implementing that idea.

        Apple implements notifications differently than Android does, just as Android implements notifications differently than countless software developers did before it.
        Harvey Lubin
        • patent ideas

          Harvey
          You are right - you cannot patent an idea. You can however patent a "system and method" - i.e. a computer + a method for accomplishing something. And anything you see on a computer (including mobile computers such as smartphones) is displayed via a method (algorithm) for collecting data, analyzing that data, and then displaying it. (THis includes data about input signals such as touches, etc)

          For an interesting article on Apple's M.O. see:
          http://beta.fool.com/jaans/2012/07/22/understanding-apple-2-success-o-v-f/7443/
          jmmx
        • Differently?

          How is it substantially different if you were to show it to a user? After all isn't that the same metric Apple used to say Samsung copied? It looked too much like Apple so Samsung copied regardless of the fact that the underlying open Android OS is completely different.
          laequis
          • Please come back to the adults discussion

            when you have an actual understanding of what the case was about.
            non-biased
    • Okay

      Apple is supported by "true believers", people for whom the politics (religion?) of the situation vastly outweighs the technical merits.
      stano360
      • Apple's real "thermonuclear device"...

        ...is it's pack of lawyers
        cornpie
        • These apple lawyers...

          Can they make ultrahigh resolution mobile displays, processors, RAM, Flash memory and the like? Because Apple's going to need a new supplier of those things.
          symbolset