One more thing... the iPad mini

One more thing... the iPad mini

Summary: Would Apple dare dilute the announcement of its next-generation flagship product by revealing a new iPad mini? I doubt it.

TOPICS: Apple, iPad, Tablets

With a little more than 24 hours until Apple unveils the next-generation iPhone, a veil of uncertainty still exists over whether the company will also use the event to reveal a 7-inch iPad mini to complement its full-sized tablet.

There's been a great deal of speculation and debate surrounding the iPad mini. According to Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst of Moor Insights & Strategy, Apple needs a 7-inch tablet. Without one the Cupertino-based giant face the prospect of losing market share and profit dollars.

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"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".

ZDNet's James Kendrick believes that Apple could rock the world with an iPad Mini, which he dubbed the iBook.

It has been reported that even the late Steve Jobs was "receptive" to the idea of a 7-inch iPad.

Plenty of other tech pundits -- even some with a good track record -- say that the iPad mini is coming and that it could be Tim Cook's "one more thing..." moment at the September 12 event.

Personally, I'm just not sure.

The problem for Apple is coming up with a device at a compelling price point that will compete with the slew of 7-inch tablets now flooding into the market from the likes of Google and Amazon, but which doesn't cannibalize sales of the full-sized iPad.

While I have no doubt that an iPad mini, at the right price, could be Apple's "thermonuclear device" and seriously hurt Android, with the iPad selling as well as it is, it's hard to see Apple doing anything that could jeopardize sales, especially with the Christmas spending extravaganza on the horizon.

Then there's the complete absence of iPad mini-related hardware leaks. Over the past few weeks we've been treated to an almost endless stream of alleged iPhone 5 parts, ranging from the redesigned metal chassis to the shrunken dock connector, to the larger, more scratch-resistant front lens. And, if the video is to be believed, an entire iPhone 5 has been smuggled out of the factory in Jincheng, China.

Compare this to the iPad mini hardware leaks, which by my count have totaled zero. If there's an iPad mini set to be launched tomorrow, why haven't we seen any component leaks? Maybe Apple's veil of secrecy only extends far enough to keep one product under wraps and Apple chose the iPad mini, but somehow I just don't buy that.

Another reason why I don't think we're going to see an iPad mini announcement tomorrow is because the iPhone is Apple's flagship product, and alongside that iOS is going to be revealed. That's already a crowded schedule for the event without adding a new major product into the mix. Also, while I have no doubt that there are people out there with a budget to be able to go out and buy both a new iPhone and an iPad mini, for the majority on who are of more modest means, the decision is going to be an either-or as people choose one product over the other.

That either-or decision would likely put a severe dent in iPhone sales, something that Apple is probably keen to avoid.

So, my prediction, gut feeling, or guess (*delete as appropriate) is that if there is an iPad mini in the pipeline, it's not going to be announced tomorrow. There will be enough for Apple fans to spend their money on as it is.

Image source: Nickolay Lamm/InventHelp.

Topics: Apple, iPad, Tablets

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  • Too Disruptive For Apple

    Apple has spent years carefully segmenting the market between phones and tablets, and selling carefully-differentiated products with fat margins into both segments. Bringing out an in-between product would cannibalize sales of existing products, thereby denting its profit margins, which would in turn lower its share price.

    And also make it look like it’s copying even more of Android.
    • By the yard

      Why would profit margins be 'dented'? Is there possibly an unstated assumption in your post concerning pricing? Unless you know what the price is, you can't know anything about the margin.

      There seems to be an assumption among ZDNet bloggers that any 7" tablet from Apple must be sold at the same price as 7" tablets from Google and Amazon, as if computer products are sold by the inch. They're not. (Although some, like the HP TouchPad and the Motorola XOOM, have been sold by the pound).

      Apple doesn't meet the price of every 10" tablet out there, and they're still selling iPads as fast as they can make them. They could set the price of a 7" iPad to generate the same margin as a 10" iPad, and then they wouldn't care which one anybody buys. If they sell any at all, they're better off than they were.
      Robert Hahn
      • So you're saying

        apple could release a 7" and make the same $margin, not %margin, that they do on a 10"?

        I think you're underestimating how the options and pricing of the current 7" competitor tablets would affect demand if apple were to pump the price up that high.
        Little Old Man
        • 7" competitors?

          The 10" iPad has been outselling all 7" tablets combined since 2010. They've been cheaper 7" tablets in the market for a while now and still the more expensive iPads sold like hot cakes. Apple could release a smaller slimmer iPad at $399 and it to will easily outsell all 7" competitors.
          • Re: The 10" iPad has been outselling all 7" tablets combined since 2010.

            That was before the Google Nexus 7 appeared on the scene.
          • Tell Google to show us the numbers

            Until we see actually sales numbers (not marketing PR about selling out without no solid info on how much was actually developed), we won't know how well the Nexus 7 is actually doing.

            But did you not get the news? The latest Kindle Fire is the new iPad dethroner in town.
      • Re: Why would profit margins be 'dented'?

        Because Apple would have to go to the expense of developing and manufacturing a third product line, but they will not get a proportionate 50% increase in revenue for that 50% increase in product expenditure. Therefore their overall profit margins go down, and along with that their share price.
      • Simple. When the same people buy the cheaper version of the product, as

        opposed to buying the more expensive version, the profit margin falls.

        It's like government giving out taxpayer money to prop up companies that offshore jobs to profiteer on. The net result is the same - less revenue.

        The only way Apple can recover is hope that more people buy their tinier iSlaps.

        Just as how we hope more minimum wage-paying deadendjobs open up here. ;)
  • I dunno

    The iPad mini would likely hurt Apple more than it would Android or Amazon.

    I have never personally liked the size, weight, or awkward feeling of carrying the full sized iPad and might trade mine in for a Mini.
  • Two Events

    Has everyone forgotten one of the most recent stories about Apple's plans? It's rumoured that they're going to have two seperate events. If they leave the iPad Mini until October, as many people are guessing, then a lot of people will have had enough time to recover from the iPhone 5 to buy an iPad Mini.
  • An Ipad Mini

    A 7" iPad Mini priced at $350.00 would probably be a huge seller for Apple. And I'm betting dollars to donuts that a lot of iPad Maxi (har, har, har: maxi-iPad) wouldn't canniblaize sales as much as one migh expect because a lot of current iPad owners would buy one as a third iOS device, just as I own three Android devices: a phone, a 7" tablet and a 10" tablet.

    That said, the auther's best argument against such a device being released soon is the complete absense of hardware leaks. As far as I know, we haven't even seen leaks of third party accessories such as cases or screen protectors for a 7" iPad.
  • Since Gene Munster hasn't mentioned anything about a 7" iPad

    There's a real good possibility that Apple does have one in the works, ready to go.
    William Farrel
  • testing

    to see if I can comment, and for how long if I can
    • No

      No, you can't. It didn't work.
      Robert Hahn
  • Screen Size

    I'm a bit amused that veterans of the market in which pc monitors got bigger don't see that a larger screen admits more productive applications and it is nice when buttons and virtual keyboards are larger.

    If you want to get something done, such as a quick photo retouch, an edit to a document, sketching, remote desktop work, the bigger screen is better. I think books present better, but I acknowledge that smaller screen fans have a point about weight.

    All in all, 10 inch mobile device have their place and have not saturated their sector.

    Apple seized the high ground with the first iPad and its size. They went large because they had already done small with the iPhone. Now that it's been a couple of years, and, yes, some competitors have found success by delivering smaller devices at a lower price, it's time for Apple to move in on that sector bringing price, platform, sales channel, supply chain, and marketing/brand awareness advantages.

    Apple might lose, but I wouldn't bet against them.

    Cannibalize sales? I expect the larger iPads to continue sales growth. The person who buys a 7 incher is already a lost iPad sale: now Apple has a chance to make money there. Besides, their iPod experience tells them that when they can get a 200-300 dollar contract-free consumer item, they get into the gift realm. If not announced tomorrow, it will be shipping by Halloween.
  • Perfect market segmentation

    iPod touch HD $199
    iPad mini HD $299
    iPad 2 $399
    iPad 3 $499

    iPod touch could use a serious update, especially the camera. Or perhaps Apple will ditch the iPod touch and go to an 8GB iPad mini at $199.
  • I will keep referencing the iPods

    Did the iPod mini and iPod nano (and shuffle) take profit away from the larger more expensive iPods (now classics)? Or did they help in growing the iPod market overall by bringing in new demographics, allowing Apple to dominate the space for over a decade? Can anyone say Apple was wrong in releasing smaller cheaper iPods in the market?

    Think ecosystem. Just like the iPods that came before, Apple wants everyone walking around with an iPad in their hand, in their jacket pockets, briefcases, in their homes, at the office etc. If you are using Apple's ecosystem and are invested into Apple's ecosystem then you're more than likely to continue buying into Apple's ecosystem (iOS devices, apps, content). The current iPad is selling well but a smaller cheaper iPad could easily quadruple sales and could actually generate even more interest in the larger iPad.

    I know many people who bought iPads for themselves but would love something cheaper smaller for the kids for instance (young demographic). So they can stop asking their parents for their iPads. A few already bought Kindle Fires last christmas. If Apple had a smaller cheaper iPad available the choice would be obvious.
  • iPad Mini or iPhone 5

    Will they release two devices at one announcement? Either way the cases will be available at in the morning!
    James T Meyer