iPad mini won't be much smaller, but will be a lot narrower, thinner, and lighter

iPad mini won't be much smaller, but will be a lot narrower, thinner, and lighter

iMore previously reported that Apple would be releasing an iPad mini in October for around $200-$250, and that it would be announced at the iPhone 5 event on September 12. At the time we heard that it looked and worked like the 9.7-inch iPad, only smaller. That makes sense both from a financial and interface perspective. However, unlike the next iPhone whose parts leaks have given us an idea of just what it might look like, the exact design of the 7-inch iPad has been much more mysterious. Earlier tonight, however, Seth Weintraub from 9to5Mac posted a mockup of the iPad mini showing a narrower profile with a much thinner size bezel than the 9.7-inch iPad.

Based on several sources, I believe that design to be an accurate representation of what the iPad mini will look like. In addition, it's my understanding that it will be the exact same thinness as the iPod touch, which is substantially thinner than the 9.7-inch iPad. The quick mockup above shows what I believe are accurate proportions for the iPad mini compared to the 9.7-inch iPad and the current generation iPod touch 4.

Looking at it, the iPad mini may not seem radically smaller than the 9.7-inch iPad. And that's the point. It's not supposed to be a major compromise in screen size or usability. It is, however, thinner and lighter enough to make a substantial difference. Holding it with one hand will be easier, and holding it for prolonged periods of time will be much easier.

It's those two elements, the lightness at that size, that allows for the smaller bezel -- just like the iPod touch's thinness and lightness allows for even less size bezel. (Obviously the top and bottom bezel aren't as radically thin, due to the components that need to be placed there, like the Home button.)

Most importantly, this isn't a big iPod touch.

The Google Nexus 7 is arguably closer to a big iPod touch than this device. The Nexus 7, in part, scales up smartphone interface elements and apps. The iPad mini runs the iPad version of iOS and scales it down. The iPad mini is an iPad, and that makes a tremendous difference. That allows it to run that higher class of apps that Steve Jobs talked about.

This is a full on iPad, just smaller and lighter.

Likewise, the iPad mini not intended to woo away people who might currently be buying a Google Nexus 7 or Amazon Kindle Fire -- not to be a jerk, but that's not a significant market for Apple. While Apple might want to nip those devices in the bud now, as opposed to when they hit their second or third generation and become truly competitive, it seems like the primary consideration right now is a far more massive market, a hundreds of millions of devices sold market:

People who haven't yet bought an iPad because it was too big or too expensive, but would buy it if was lighter and cheaper.

At around $200-$250, thin, and very light, Apple will lower the barrier of entry and once again greatly expand the reach of iOS. While that might cannibalize the existing iPad market, Apple has repeatedly shown a willingness to do just that -- they'd much rather cannibalize themselves than let a competitor do it. The iPod mini, iPod nano, and even 11-inch MacBook Air are prime examples.

The iPad mini should hit the shelves in time for the holidays. And it should sell like hotcakes.

Note: For some of the discussion behind all of this, check out the Branch M.G. Siegler hosted last night with me, Seth Weintraub, Mark Gurman, Matthew Panzarino, Jim Dalyrymple, and several others.

Update 1: John Gruber of Daring Fireball has weighed in, adding:

The iPad Mini, based on my best guess hunch dimensions of 200 × 135 x 7.2 mm = 193,680 cubic mm. Divide and you get 78 percent. The Nexus 7 weighs 340 grams, so, let’s guess that the iPad Mini will weigh just 265 grams.

For comparison, the WiFi-only iPad (3) weighs 652 grams, and the Amazon Kindle 3G with keyboard weighs about 247 grams. So a sub-300-gram smaller iPad would be pretty light.

Update 2: Here's another quick mockup, this time giving a rough example of how thin the iPad mini will be, and how that compares not only with existing iOS devices, but the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire as well.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 52 comments. Add yours.

Obsidian71 says:

Still find $200 to be a tad optimistic. I'm thinking $250 for a 16GB version would be ideal though we're likely to get 8GB at that price and 16GB at $299.

KCMike says:

I tend to agree however I'm hoping Apple can bring down the price. If this "mini" is around $350 I'm out. I love my iPhone but that's just too high. I'd end up getting the Nexus 7 or nothing at all.

boovish says:

well obviously. they didn't want to have to make developers resize every app

AppleBruit says:

I can't see this launching in September. The iPhone would cannibalize its sales. I also don't think there would be a 3G version in this generation because that too would canibilize iPad (big) sales. It would also add cost.
Google my name for a rumor podcast. I'll be talking about this.

Obsidian71 says:

I agree with you that there may not be cellular models but iPads and iPhones don't cannibalize each other.

AppleBruit says:

If you could only pick one though, which would it be? Many are fortunate enough to pick both, but most cannot, o a choice would have to be made. If I was given a choice I would pick the iPhone over the iPad mini. I have both the iPhone4 and the original iPad right now.

Though thinking about more, they are less likely to cannibalize if the iPad mini cannot do 3G data.

Gazoobee says:

iPhone is a completely different device, with a different form factor and mostly different uses on the whole. I don't see this cannibalising iPhones at all.

Sapgrewal says:

first realistic model i believe, gonna exist..its not going to cannibalize any existing product in -ve way. its better than cannibalize by the products of other companies. as biography said, "apple can't stop innovating or showing new product to people". they are not afraid of cannibalizing sales by their own products. they are smart enough of not letting others to do that.

S.Mulji says:

once the iPad Mini goes retina, I'll purchase. If this mock up is a good, albeit not accurate, representation, it looks good and I like the size.

martymapson says:

I'll believe it when I see it. Basically now it's a dreamed up idea from bloggers needing something to talk about. I enjoy my 9.7 inch iPad. It's perfect in size for viewing and I don't believe a pound and a half is heavy for a computer. Just saying.

siddo_d says:

I don't like that; I prefer the old one which we thought it would look like, that's hideous man.

Scout_313 says:

Just out of curiosity, how is the Nexus 7 more like a big iPod Touch and the iPad Mini isn't? If it has to do with Android not having a lot of apps that are optimized for use on a tablet, I can understand that. If not, I'm not sure what causes you to come to that conclusion.

Mac58 says:

Just asked the exact same thing. I didn't see your post.

west3man says:

I think it has to do with what Rene believes are different app experiences for devices larger than 7 inches. I don't perceive that boundary as vividly as some seem to but I won't say that I'm convinced that it does not exist.

The current iPad screensize works for me largely because it approximates the size of a piece of paper (8.5 x 11). So a mini device wouldn't be as ideal but could be useful in certain ways.

Rene Ritchie says:

Nexus 7's interface is a combination of Android tablet and smartphone interfaces, of which smartphone interfaces currently dominate to an absurd degree.

The iPad mini runs the iPad iOS interface, not iPhone iOS. As mentioned in the article, that allows for a fundamentally higher class of apps. (Of which the iPad has tens of thousands now.)

Software more than shape, IMHO, determines what something is "like".

thunder79 says:

I'll admit...the default interface for the Nexus 7 was a bad move for Google. The combined Tablet/Smartphone interface is not the way to experience the the device in its most ideal form. They really need to change the default interface to give a better experience from the start. They will lose people to the iPad Mini because of this...so you are entirely correct in this.

Android is, of course, notoriously more friendly to modifications...even without rooting. Fixing this tablet/smartphone interface is simple to do. Getting the full tablet experience with the "higher class of apps" just takes being rooted (simple to do, was the first thing I did after starting up the tablet), and 1 app. Yes, I shouldn't have to do this, it should come stock this way...but my point is...doing this on Android is simple...doing the same on iOS is like pulling teeth.

Apple's looking to capture that captive audience of iPhone owners who don't quite want to buy an iPad, or don't want a tablet that big, and also don't want to abandon the money they've spent on apps in the Apple app store. I don't see a lot of Nexus 7 owners jumping ship for an iPad mini...even with the default interface it is a great tablet experience. Modifying it just made it an ideal tablet experience for me. I really don't see much need for a 10" tablet for me. If I were to get one it wouldn't be the tablet I carry daily on my train rides to and from work...the Nexus 7 is ideal in that role.

Kindle Fire owners on the other hand (I am one, but it's gathering dust now at home) may defect if they aren't too heavily invested in the Amazon/Android ecosystem. The Kindle Fire interface is subpar...and even a rooted Fire with a different launcher is nothing like the experience I have with my modified Nexus 7. People looking for tablet rather than an e-reader who haven't already gotten a Nexus 7 are potential defectors for the iPad Mini. The Fire is an e-reader...not a proper Android tablet. Someone going in expecting a tablet are targets for Apple. I don't see Amazon releasing a newer version of the Fire with a proper tablet interface...they built exactly what they wanted to build...a color e-reader that can also run Android apps. It's really a different class of tablet from the Nexus 7 (modified to a tablet interface) or iPad mini.

Apple wants a chunk of that market...though the unsatisfied iPhone owners are their bigger target with the iPad mini. I don't see them hitting the $200 mark with it though. I'd say an 8GB at $250 is more realistic...with a 16GB at $300 being the backup option. Another way they could differentiate is to offer cellular connectivity...and that could pull over some more of the market...since both the Fire and the 7 are wifi only. Won't get me though...I just tether to my phone and have all the connectivity I need on T-Mobile.

Carioca32 says:

"The iPad mini runs the iPad iOS interface"

Say what? We don't even know if there is an iPad mini in the making and you already know for a fact that it runs iPad iOS and not iPhone iOS? Have you ever seen one in operation?

On a different note, I agree with Steve Jobs, 7" is too small for a tablet. In fact, I think the iPad could be an inch larger. The added space could be enough to make it just as thin as the iPod Touch.

thunder79 says:

You don't know what you're missing until you use one...trust me on this. I see a lot of electronic devices during my commute. On the commuter train I see everything from full size laptops, 10" tablets, 7" tablets (very few, more kindle fires than nexus 7's), e-readers, and smartphones. On the bus I only see smartphones, e-readers, and 7" tablets because of the cramped spaces. I have never seen someone haul out an iPad on the bus. It is too big for those cramped spaces. That makes the 7" tablet the ideal tablet for the commuter. It's big enough to comfortably watch movies on (can't say the same for smartphones), but small enough women can fit them in their purses and men can put them in pockets (at least my nexus 7 is narrow enough for that). That makes it easily stow-able when you need to be on the move quick.

Steve Jobs dismissed 7" tablets and look at what we are discussing...a possible 7" Apple tablet. He was notorious for dismissing things until it came time for Apple to reinvent it their way. This does not mean he thought it was a bad idea...it just means he was being dismissive to hide his true interest in it. Apple would be stupid not to fill that gap between the iPad and the iPhone...especially with how popular the 7" tablets are becoming.

Crosswhite17 says:

I think they are referring to the home screen which is portrait only on the Nexus 7 and the iPod touch as opposed to the iPad which works in portrait and landscape.

Mac58 says:

Rene without even holding the device or knowing the official look of the new iPad mini, how can you say its not a big iPod touch like the Nexus 7? Just curious how you came up with this conclusion.

Rene Ritchie says:

It runs the iPad version of the iOS interface, not the iPod touch version. Software is the high order bit.

Carioca32 says:

Do you know that for a fact? Have you seen one?

SockRolid says:

Interesting. Not quite sure I agree about the narrower bezel on the longer edges. I still think it would be better to have a more or less even width all the way around. Even if it means slightly larger overall device dimensions.

It would just be easier to hold the iPad mini on any edge, in any orientation, if the bezel were more or less the same width all around. The iPhone is small enough to palm (no pun intended) so it doesn't need a bezel at all, really. But even an iPad mini needs a bezel for the thumb.

thunder79 says:

From using my Nexus 7..it's narrow enough that I can palm it too. I can also slip it into the pockets on my slacks (standard business casual dockers) and the rear pockets on my jeans. That helps when I'm juggling headphones and my phone when getting ready to get off the train in the morning.

If they don't go that narrow they are making it less convenient and more difficult to handle. Wider means you need the bigger bezel...narrower like the Nexus 7 you don't. It's still there and big enough for a thumb...so it gives you option in how to hold it. It's a tradeoff between screen width and convenience in holding/pocketing it.

tytung2020 says:

It will be a mistake if they make the 7″ iPad as thin as Gruber suggests.

Why? just imagine yourself holding it in your palm (with your thumb on top of the iPad and other four fingers supporting below), you must bend your palm so much, that it is tiring to do so for a long time.
This is true even if it has a feather-like weight, the problem is the palm positions and not the weight.

cardfan says:

I like the idea. A 299 or so tablet is easier to handle if I'm getting the kid one. Personally, I just sold the new ipad to switch from att to verizon. But I'm just going to hold off and see if I even miss it as I was hardly using it.

Sosai X says:

This is the device I've been waiting for. I passed on both previous iterations of the iPad. Why? Too big. I passed on the 7'' tablets from other manufacturers. Why? They weren't iPads. THIS IS THE DEVICE I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR.

jasonpolk says:

If this is happening then it is going to be the number one Christmas item on my wife's list.

jpf22467#IM says:

Am I the only one that doesnt get this?

Apple will sell an ipad for $500
A smaller version (itouch) for $200 (And we are told they completely different for the ipad)

And now, they will introduce something right in the middle, for the same price as the itouch? (and this also will be nothing like the itouch, but just like the ipad?)

Either this will be a large itouch and sell for a little more, or it will be a small ipad, and sell for something closer to the ipad price ($300-$350)

lorax1284 says:

I agree: I can't see it selling for less than $299, unless they also drop the bottom out of the price of the iPod Touch like making it $149, or introduce the long-awaited 128 gig version for $249 or something.

I'll add an iPad mini to my device menagerie if it has a retina screen, but not if it's 1024 x 768. That is, I'll pay more for it if it has the retina screen, but won't buy it at all if it doesn't.

Apple can get away with charging a premium, well, because it's Apple, so they shouldn't go cheap on the iPad mini "just" to compete in the "entry level tablet" space. The iPad 2 at $399 is "entry level" enough. The iPad Mini should be about form factor, not about specs, and if I knew that the iPad Mini had the same specs at an iPad 3 but smaller, I'd put my iPad 3 up for sale today.

Spidouz says:

I agree... Even if it would be great, I don't believe much about a $249 iPad.

However, I do believe Apple will just stop to sell the iPad 2 as soon as they're introducing the iPad mini. That way, I can easily see a:

- $299 iPad mini 7.85" 16GB
- $399 iPad mini 7.85" 32GB
- $499 iPad mini 7.85" 64GB

That would make the transition between the iPod Touch and the iPad 9.7".

I don't believe in 3G or 4G network, mainly since you can share your iPhone Cell network. It will reduce the cost, antenna, space, etc... And if you want 3G/4G, you could still use the bigger iPad. They need to keep some feature for the big brother model :)

They might keep a $249GB (iPad Mini 8GB), but I doubt about it, they never or rarely have more than 3 choices and it would be time to move away from the 8GB models.

Maybe they will also announce a storage bump for the current iPad 9.7" and finally increase to 32GB, 64GB and 128GB...

I'm just thinking out loud while hoping for an iPad mini 7.85" 64GB.

Mariam936 says:

The Ipad mini design is realistic enough. The size is just about right. I would have to agree that it would be difficult to hold, as almost are tablets are.

thunder79 says:

Go to Sam's Club and try out a Nexus 7...it's not difficult to hold due to the narrowness of the screen. You can easily palm it like you would a big phone. When I'm palming my Nexus 7 I'm not overly stretching out my hand to grip the sides of the tablet. That narrowness also allows me to slip it in areas a wider iPad mini wouldn't be able to fit, like pants pockets...making it ultra-conveinent. Google got the size right for portability.

yesmam says:

"The Google Nexus 7 is arguably closer to a big iPod touch than this device. The Nexus 7, in part, scales up smartphone interface elements and apps." - And with this I saw that poster has no clue when it comes to 'something else than apple' and stopped reading.

Premium1 says:

Uum the mini is a big iPod. It runs the same ios as the ipod uses it will scale apps differently but it is more of a stretched iPod touch.

Dark_Blu says:

Speculation based on rendered images, which themselves aren't based on any factual information, can't be considered an "accurate" representation of anything other than idol speculation. Apple hasn't announced any form of iPad mini any more than they announced an Apple TV set that everyone was speculating on and posting renders of before last year's holiday season. Just like all of the iPhone 5 speculation led to no iPhone 5 last year and no Apple TV set was announced or launched then. It's unlikely that there is also an iPad mini. No one has yet produced any "leaked parts" images to lend any credibility to the speculation around an iPad mini. It will be hilarious if all this speculation leads to the direct opposite of what is being speculated.

I believe that at least some of the websites out there posting Apple product speculation based around rendered images of products that no one can prove really exists, are just attempts to increase site traffic and nothing more. We will see on September 12th, if my belief in that is correct or not.

Pontavignon says:

I would like the 8 inch iPad Mini to offer the full range of options that the 10 inch iPad does, minus the retina screen in the original version: 16 to 64 gig memory; cellular and GPS options; and Siri. The same options, plus improved cameras, should be offered on the iPod Touch. FaceTime would offer an audio-only service as an option, and Apple could make this really interesting by providing an on-line phone number to all who have an Apple ID. After all, if a little App like Burner can provide such numbers, Apple should be able to manage. Now that would be disruptive, but still with the profits going into the same till.

Vance14 says:

Rene, a good article as always. Here are some thoughts. Right now, this entire mobile space is a growing market and this rising tide is floating all boats. So, no matter what, Apple will sell a ton of these tablets, with ever-increasing sales numbers. But I am sure Apple is not really looking at absolute sales, but sales in relation to the market. Every competing device sold is a lost Apple sale. So, with phones, this is already a huge issue. While Apple is making a TON of money, what they know is that this outrageous profit could have been at least DOUBLE were it not for Android's skyrocketing growth. For Apple it is not about how much profit they make compared to Google, or compared to Samsung, I am sure they are comparing their actual profits to their lost profits and the potential profits to be had if they can regain the marketshare lead.

So, with tablets, they need to plan to avoid another Android steamroll. Remember that for every iPhone owner, there are two Android owners. And up to now, almost all of those Android owners have been buying iPads because there were no truly comparable Android tablets. Now with the Nexus 7 there IS a comparable tablet (at least to a 7" iPad) and I bet we see the majority of Android phone users buying Android tablets from here on out. So, to stem the tide, they need to slash prices as you say. But what they REALLY need is for the iPhone to regain the marketshare leadership since going forward, with tablet quality being roughly equal, people will start choosing tablets based on ecosystem and OS familiarity. This means a complete iOS overhaul, possibly faster iterations and competitive prices. This last would mean thinner margins.

OR, they could go the other route entirely, and revert to their older familiar role of high-margin, low marketshare, luxury niche space. They used to take great pride in their exclusivity and small marketshare was a badge of honor (Think Different). But after tasting the market leadership role, can they go back to that? I don't think so.

plunder says:

The Nexus7 feels like an ecosystem vehicle and Jelly-Bean demonstration device. Android cant force OEMs and users to use 4.1, so it must persuade. The success of Android in phones is partly driven by hardware diversity, but that trend has not worked in tablets due to a lack of compelling devices. Samsung's first Tab was a nice size but still quite expensive. The Amazon Fire was the first (Android based) device to move fast in quantity through pricing.

If Apple do this, it will aim at expanding the user base through differentiation, so an aspect ratio change in harmony with the new iPhone makes a lot of sense.

Driving prices down in a race to the bottom with the Nexus7 (and others) sounds like a foolish move; that would harm the iPad and cut long term margins. Can you seriously see Tim doing something like that when Apple is in a position to dictate market trends?

Vance14 says:

I think the compelling devices in Android Tablets is just getting started. The N7 only feels like an ecosystem vehicle for those who don't have one and see the "Kindle-like" widget on the homescreen. Everyone seems to just delete that right away and moves on to treating like any other tablet. But, yes, lower prices on the iPad would be a race to the bottom, and I agree that is risky for Apple.

plunder says:

A device tailored to fit a different user profile would be welcome. I find 7" tabs much better in the hand for content consumption than 10" slabs. Reading, some web browsing and most (if not all) media consumption applications. People prefer taking smaller Tabs out with them.

Sufficient differentiation might bring in entirely new users. Even some existing iPad owners might buy one, for other uses. It feels like a positive move for Apple and customers.

rrsartist says:

What seems like forever ago, when the iPad was announced, many people (including me) were asking "Is it a phone?" Three iPads later the answer is no. Due to poorer vision, it has always been difficult for me to use the small iPhone screen in any productive way. Plus, I do not want to pay for data service on 2 devices. Believe it or not, all I have at the moment is an iMac on my desk, a keypad Kindle, and a "stupid" phone -- hard to imagine that, I know.

If the iPad mini had phone capabilities, it would be the perfect compromise for me, and my guess is for many others as well. Resistance would be futile. I so wish this would happen.

woomer051 says:

Rene, my my, not to be a jerk, but you sound foolish believing rumors at $200-250. Even a child wouldn't believe that rumor. Lets see $500 for 16gb ipad and $200 for 16gb ipod touch. Lets make a reasonable estimate off of those figures. REASONABLE would say this is $300+, how could apple even launch one of these at the same price of an ipod touch at the same price or $50 more.

To put it simple here is what apple is facing. Google nexus 7 will be a better value at $200 over a $300 ipad mini. Google nexus 10 will be a much better value than a $500 ipad when it launches for $300-350. Apple will have to deal with the fact they have a higher price point and try to sell it based off of yuppy features like an aluminum body and jacked up pixel count.

Realistically at 10" or less 1080p effectiveness surely diminishes when you hold a device 1ft - 2ft from your face. 1080p vs 720p viewing distances and effectiveness with 20/20 vision is a scientific discussion not an editors opinion. You'll see many 720p devices at 10" that will look excellent, whereas 1080p will not be effective to casual users.

At 32", an hdtv resolution of 1080p vs 720p at 4ft viewing difference drastically diminished in the next 2 feet to a 6 foot viewing distance. At 6 feet you are easily lying to yourself saying you can tell the difference on a 32" tv. Usually people will say a tv at that distance will look nicer based off of they're preference of motion/color vividness/color accuracy not that their 20/20 vision can detect a sharper image based off of pixel count. at 10" you better be holding your device within 12" if you want a retina display to make a difference, most people will hold a 10" device 16-20" away from their face in which 720p vs 1080p simply is not a big difference at all. To go above and beyond 1080p is not only expensive to do at this point, its value is diminishing whenever people look at cheaper devices in which they can't even tell the difference.

Google will have a cheaper tablet with better hardware over time. Microsoft will launch tablets in the 10" or sub 10" range BUT you are missing the real idea microsoft has in mind. Windows PCs are 90% of computers out there. Looking at it business wise, maybe 98% of computers used at business sites at windows, most mac users are dicking around or casual home use. Microsoft will launch 12"+ tablets with windows 8 or a never OS by then, they will have keyboard cases and be able to dock into stations in which you can use a monitor for the device. Basically the 12" tablet with windows 8, in which there is a functional windows 7 os packed in it, will replace the $400 laptop over the next 4 years.

Businesses simply have to much dependence on office programs and obviously need the power of a good pc for office workers. Even if apple wanted to launch a dockable ipad to rival this, you would see their PC sales drop off significantly, and they have a huge profit margin on large pcs in which people buy good specs at a very high price point. Above $1200 you see the MAC cost twice as much as a windows pc with the same internal specs. Safe to say businesses wont be investing in apple, which is what is happening in the world today anyway.

Apple is worth $650 a share, easy to say it will be $250 in 5 years. This will be from the rise of google providing great value for good hardware for home use tablets. This will also come from windows launching tablets to replace computers in the work place that will be used at workstations and replace todays laptop or desktop in today's office. Apple will lose ground in years to come the same way it happened before. History repeats itself. If you only pair hardware with software and charge too much, someone will be you at your own game and provide more value. IBM, HP, Toshiba, Dell etc will all eventually make tablets that use windows operating system that is a hybrid of a mobile touch os and a full pc os, they will have market segments within the business field to keep microsoft in check. See the cycle.

Michael Scrip says:

RE: Businesses

You're right... businesses love Windows and MS Office. And cheap PCs.

So I never thought Apple was in danger of losing the business market... because they never had it in the first place.

As for other markets... Google tablets might end up outselling Apple tablets. And just like Macs vs PCs.... I don't think Apple really cares where they rank among manufacturers.

Apple makes premium products that people seems to like. Expensive... yes... but they obviously manage. And they sell just enough of them to stay afloat.

Apple's been scraping by on just 5% of the worldwide PC market... and a whopping 7% in phones.

If you put it that way... it sounds like Apple is doing very poorly. But you know it's quite the opposite.

So yeah... if Apple eventually loses their edge in tablets... I think they'll be fine.

They survived single digit market share in computers and phones... tablets won't kill them either.

woomer051 says:

Apple will do more than just survive when google and microsoft take over market share. Apple does well with a small segment making a large profit margin. However my point in case was apple passed exxon mobile, its the company worth the most money now, like 500+ billion. You will see their stock price drop like crazy over the next five years, its inflated. I'm saying apple will be worth half as much in 5 years, not that it will be gone.

I mostly wanted to address the editor's wishful thinking that a near 8" ipad will ever keep a great pixel density like the ipad 3 and release for $200. He looks very gullible seems as an ipod touch is $200. It will be $300, possibly more. They will still lose out to the google nexus 7 as far as value, parents will sure like the $100 cheaper christmas present this year now that android vs apple quality is surely neck in neck not like it was 2-3 years ago with alot of cheap junky devices. Those devices are still out there, but as long as google pushes advertising enough and gets them on the shelves for christmas, why would you spend $100 if you are new to tablets and online marketplaces such as itunes/google play/amazon appstore. However there will be many people who have itunes content from past ipods who will buy this up. However that person may never buy and ipod touch again then.

2 things can happen over the next couple years. Apple can try to match google in value on 7" devices, then their ipod touch segment will lose ground. Also apple would have to drop the pixel count thats currently on steroids to not lose too much $ with a 7" $200 tablet. That would kill their ipad 10" sales as well.

They will also have to compete with the surface tablets to come that will revolutionize buiness. If apple ever wants to push a $500-800 tablet that has a keyboard and can dock into a monitor (thus basically replacing the laptop), they will see sales or macbook airs, macbook pros, and imac desktop computers ERASE!!!!!

There is an advantage in pairing hardware and software like apple is doing. If people need the mac os in a nice desktop, they can charge $1600-3000 for large desktops because there is nowhere else for a consumer to turn if they want the OS. Same with a laptop with mac os, people are at mercy of limited availability if they want a laptop new running mac os. IF APPLE CAN EVEN COMPETE with a surface tablet that has a hyrbird mobile os/desktop os, they will have to release sub $1000 tablets. Once these are available they're very profitable segments wont even be a gullible apple fanboy purchasing decision, everyone will buy a decent tablet that replaces the laptop and desktop. Since apple's philosophy is hardware software pairing, imagine those profitable segments that will disappear such as their high profit margin laptops and desktops.

Making big $ off of hardware is nice, its also a big risk if you need your hardware to sell. If apple is to compete with a future it has to boost sales in tablets only to lose like crazy in laptops and desktops. Or it has to never release a TRUE VALUE FAIR PRICE PRODUCT like a $800 do it all tablet so that apple users will have to keep buying high price laptops and desktops if they want a desktop version of a mac operating system. Either way they are losing sales to a large degree in one of these segments in the near future, there is NO WAY to keep the high profit margin they currently have.

Michael Scrip says:

Parents already had a cheap tablet for kids last Christmas... it was the Kindle Fire.

Amazon is a huge, well recognized company... with an app store and everything. And the iPad still outsold it... handily.

I'm not sure how well Google will advertise the Nexus 7. Maybe the Nexus 7 will be on the list of hot Christmas gifts this year. But I'm not sure many teens even know about it... they are already playing games on iOS. Who knows if Android games will strike their fancy.

As for Apple and their high profit margin... they have been doing it for YEARS.

You said it yourself... Apple is in a small segment making a large profit margin. Why would it have to change?

There are TONS of Windows PCs that are far cheaper than a Mac. Yet the Mac still has an audience... and they sell quite a few of them.

You could say the Mac is "losing" to Windows PCs... but are they really losing?

Apple has never been the top selling company in computers or phones. And the same might happen in tablets too. But I've already shown how Apple can be successful and not be the top seller in a particular market.

Apple has high profit margins but low market share in phones.

Apple has high profit margins but low market share in computers.

And the same could happen in tablets... but I think you're putting a tremendous amount of faith in the Nexus 7.

As for the Surface... I do think it will revolutionize BUSINESS. But I'm still not convinced that average people will buy WindowsRT tablets instead of the iPad. We'll have to wait and see.

Surface Pro is an amazing idea that combines full Windows OS with touch friendly tablet apps. But since it's not on the market yet either... I cannot even begin to speculate.

As for Apple's stock price... it may be inflated. But it's the market that determines that.

Apple's stock price has RISEN despite crushing competiton from Windows PCs and Android phones. So I see little reason that the stock price will tumble from a little extra competition in tablets.

Like I said before... Apple only has 5% in computers and 7% in phones. Product market share has little to do with a company's success.

johnswilson1 says:

I don't think that's an accurate reading. They have high profit margins because they don't consume themselves with market share. Instead they focus on providing a high quality product that suits consumers' needs. That the iPad is so hard for competitors to undercut is a testament to Tim Cook's operational excellence.

The Mini at $249 and up is a sincere issue for competitors. Why? Because dominance hasn't been established in the 7" space yet. So Apple releasing a smaller version of an international blockbuster product that has already sold north of 100 million, is almost insurmountable. Easily estimates of Mini sales range from 6-8 million this holiday quarter. That's 3 months. Compare that to competitors who have yet to sell that many all year.

mummer43 says:

I really hope it has an anti-glare screen so I can use it as a proper e-reader. If it doesn't then what's the point?

AudioFileZ says:

Wisely, by what I gather here, Apple is not considering this per se as an entry in the so-called "mini-tablet" market. Apple creates categories instead of reactiing to them. The unique size/display ratio fits in with being just a more portable iPad. So this is still an original category which Apple first introduced evolved. By competing with no one except themself Apple has a chance at another game-changer, albeit a much more modest one. While the article wisely pointed out that the category is filled with what in effect is oversized commodity priced Android smartphones sans the phone, this device runs iOS and will have Apple computer dna. So, what earlier seemed less compelling is beginning to really make sense at below $300 for the, likely, 2 initial iterations which the device seems poised to introduce. A capable iPad that is now very portable and can do many tasks people most commonly do on laptops as well as now being a better portable device and reader. Still...at below $300 Apple is obviously breaking ground on making something for the first time with a much lower built-in profit margin. That may be a slipperly slope for the company, but not so much when seletively applied on a product that is almost sure to sell en masse at that price. These are truly interesting times as Apple is still at the top of the heap, but many of their product categories have become too pricey even as they have matured. Usually a mature product faces a decline that is inevitable...Apple needs a hit here even though everyone believes the iPhone 5 will be so big that all else will be dwarfed. A company in control still, but in transition...that's Apple as of late 2012.