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iPad Mini: Apple’s Most Manipulative and Insulting Launch Ever

iPad Mini: Apple’s Most Manipulative and Insulting Launch Ever

By: Hillel Fuld (@hilzfuld)

Well, the iPad Mini is out and as I wrote yesterday, secrecy is no longer an option. There were close to no surprises at all when it came to the announcement. But that is ok, although I am sure Apple doesn’t love it.

As opposed to previous Apple announcements, I did not tune in to the live feed (video in this case), the Twitter feed, or the live blogs. I was able, for the first time in a long time, to examine the facts objectively. My conclusion: Apple thinks we are all very very dumb.

Let me just preface my argument here by saying that the title originally had the word “Disappointing” in it, but I removed it because of two things:

  1. It has become cliché that bloggers write how every Apple announcement is a disappointment so I controlled myself.
  2. Like all those other products that were “disappointing”, the iPad Mini WILL sell like hotcakes. Why? Because Apple is right, we are all dumb.

So let me explain where I am coming from. How did Jony Ive put it? ‘iPad Mini Is a ‘Concentration Not a Reduction.” If that is not a manipulative statement, I don’t know what is. That is like saying a hundred dollars is not a reduction of a million bucks, it’s just dollars concentrated. Are you serious, Apple? That statement is the first manipulative part of this product launch.

The iPad Mini is, no matter how you look at it, a stripped down version of the iPad. Lower resolution display (yes, on a smaller screen so it looks ok), a slower and older processor (now two generations old), at a price that makes zero sense.

This is what Apple should have said. “We have reduced the iPad into a smaller device optimized for portability and one hand use, which includes long battery life, a stunning display optimized for the smaller screen (but if a small screen doesn’t need Retina, how do you explain Retina on iPhone and iPod Touch?), and it is priced accordingly. You can buy the iPad Mini for $199 ($249 would have been forgivable).” But $329? Are you kidding me?

As I read the summary of the iPad Mini announcement, my initial reaction was this:

After I tweeted that, Apple fanboys attacked. “How is it stripped down? Android tablets stink compared to this device!” Or “What other tablet has 7.9″ displays as opposed to just 7″?” Or “What other tablet has a 64GB version?” Along with many more completely irrelevant and misleading questions.

Fine, I’ll take the bait. Forget the fact that it is a stripped down iPad, you want to compare it to the competition in the Android camp? Let’s do that, shall we?

The two most important things in any mobile device, ecosystem aside, are the performance and the display. So let’s take the Nexus 7, the tablet that Apple so subtly (sarcasm there) included in its presentation of the iPad Mini. Yes, the bezel is bigger and the screen is smaller. Wonderful. It also has the same battery life as the iPad Mini, a quad core processor, as opposed to the iPad Mini’s dual core and a 1280×800 screen resolution as opposed to the Mini’s 1024×768. But but the Mini is so thin and light! Manipulation number two.

Take a look at the iPad Mini against the competition below.

iPad Mini
The iPad mini vs the competition fight!
Nexus 7The iPad mini vs the competition fight! 7-Inch Kindle Fire HDThe iPad mini vs the competition fight! Nook HDThe iPad mini vs the competition fight!


OS iOS 6.0 Android 4.1 Android 4.0 Android 4.0
Display 7.9-inch
LED-backlit IPS, 163 PPI
IPS display, 216 PPI
7-inch LCD IPS, 216 PPI 7-inch LCD IPS, 243 PPI
Resolution 1,024 x 768 1,280 x 800 1,280 x 800 1,440 x 900
Processor Dual-core A5 1.2GHz quad-core
NVIDIA Tegra 3
Dual-core 1.2GHz TI OMAP4 4460 Dual-Core 1.3GHz TI OMAP 4470
Memory 512MB (unc) 1GB 1GB 1GB
Storage 16GB / 32GB /64GB 8GB / 16GB 16GB / 32GB 8GB / 16GB + microSD
Ports Lightning connector, 3.5mm audio micro USB,
3.5mm audio
microSD, micro HDMI, 3.5mm audio 30-pin connector,
3.5mm audio
Front camera FaceTime HD 1.2-megapixel HD None
Rear camera 5-megapixel
1080p video
None None None
Cellular radio Optional LTE None None None
WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0 3.0 3.0 3.0
Accelerometer Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gyroscope Yes Yes Yes Yes
Battery 10 hours 4,325mAh 4,400mAh 4,050mAh
Thickness 7.2mm 10.45mm 10.3mm 11mm
Weight 308g
(0.68 pounds)
(0.75 pounds)
(0.87 pounds)
(0.69 pounds)
Pricing $329 (16GB WiFi)
$459 (16GB LTE)
$429 (32GB)
$559 (32GB LTE)
$519 (64GB)
$659 (64GB LTE)
$199 (8GB)
$249 (16GB)
$199 (16GB)
$249 (32GB)(w/special offers)
$199 (8GB)
$229 (16GB)
Availability November 2nd
(WiFi version)
Available now Available Now Available now

The bottom line is this. As I tweeted, Apple had two reasonable options with the iPad Mini. It could have played the price game and gone head to head with Android by stripping out the Retina display, the A6 processor and other things in order to charge less and offer users an alternative to the Nexus 7. Or it could have introduced a truly different product with unique advantages and charged accordingly. Let’s say something along the lines of $329.

Instead what Apple ended up doing was offering a smaller and inferior product to the full blown iPad AND to the Android competitors, but forgot to reduce the price along with the product.

So how did it get passed this blatant disadvantage? Simple. Cheap marketing. Bring the Nexus on stage, compare the bezel size and the way three apps look on the two devices. What do the way apps that are not optimized for the Nexus have to do with the device or Android as a whole? Nothing. Apple has many apps that are not optimized for iPad and need to be scaled up. But does that matter? Nope, after all, Apple’s goal in the iPad Mini launch was to hypnotize and manipulate the crowd.

Did they succeed?

Does Apple ever fail at marketing their products to the point that people are blind to the facts? It is what they do best.