The Two Possible Scenarios for the iPad Mini and The One Apple Will Likely Choose
By: Hillel Fuld (@hilzfuld)
One of the most blatant characteristics of the way people perceive the tech industry is that it is a zero-sum game. "This one's dead", "That one killed it". "This is akiller" etc etc. Except in reality, that is not the case. Many different platforms and ecosystems can exist in peace. Just look at iOS and Android. Both flourishing and showing no signs of slowing down.
The only thing that has truly died over the last couple of years is secrecy. This could be a result of the fact that privacy, in general, has gone on to a better place, but whatever the case may be, gone are the days in which Apple was able to keep the details of an upcoming product announcement to themselves.
We knew everything there was to know about the iPhone 5 and despite wanting to believe there would be a surprise, it never came. If the iPhone 5 is any indication, and I believe it is, the iPad Mini is coming today.
Apple will most likely announce its smaller 7-8 inch tablet to compete with the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7, along with a whole lot of other Android tablets at that size. Again, if the rumors are true, and I believe they are, this announcement is like no other previous Apple announcement. It is a real shift in Apple's DNA. I explained why here.
Putting aside my thoughts on the upcoming Mini for a second, there are basically two options for Apple here. What are they? Well, I'll tell you...
Go Head to Head with the Market, but...
This is the more likely scenario and the reason I think the iPad Mini will change Apple's DNA forever. If they take the 9.7" iPad, strip out the Retina display, use the A5 processor and minimal RAM, Apple will be able to sell this device at under $300.
Whether we are talking $200 (no way, if you ask me), $250, or $299 is yet to be seen, but the point is, the iPad Mini will be right in the middle between the iPod Touch and the full iPad.
If Apple does that, I am fairly certain it will damage its reputation as a company that does not play the price game. It might also be the reason some experts are pessimistic about Apple's future growth. (H/T Israel). After all, almost every Apple product is priced as if the rest of the market does not exist. That includes the iPhone (at full price), the iPod Touch, the iPad, and of course the Macbooks.
Premium Price and in Exchange, One More Thing...
I honestly have no answers as to what Apple can do here, but if Apple remains true to itself and its history, it will surprise us all today with a premium product that provides incentive to buy one despite owning an iPhone or iPad.
If this is the case, the iPad Mini might go for $350 or even $399. To be honest, this scenario will not only increase the chances of me buying one, it will, in my opinion, also sell better than the option above.
Maybe a better camera than the full iPad, maybe NFC (yea, right), or maybe more connectivity options than the competition (LTE would do it). There is also the option of hardware so thin and light, that the build quality itself would justify the premium price. Whatever that "One more thing" is, I sure hope Apple brings us back to the olden days in which it successfully kept something up its sleeve till the last minute and wowed us all.
To Wrap it up...
Well. it won't be long before we know which scenario Apple chose for the iPad Mini but as far as I can tell, these are the only two options and I for one, seriously hope Apple chooses option two but I wouldn't put my money on it.