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Will Mini Matter? – A Lowdown on iPad Mini and Apple’s Tablet Strategy

The 7-inch tablet market is crowded!

Apple wants to stay ahead in the tablet market race- yes, that’s a no brainer. And, it decides to diverge from the classic iPad to compete with the Kindles, Nooks and Nexus’s by launching its new 7-incher – iPad Mini. Ok so far so good, but wait …it’s priced at $329! Marginally higher than what the other 7-inchers are charging. We know that Apple still needs to use a lot of Samsung components within its device inspite of the big fall out and obviously; Samsung is not being very nice to them. But the question still remains – what does that tablet at that price point mean to the consumer? If I had an iPhone 5 and the traditional iPad, would there be a need for me to house a mini, unless I am a gadget freak!

Mini responses, mini lines

We are used to Apple’s products being launched with fanfare and long lines at every retail store in the world. Well, for the mini baby, the first truth holds, but the second does not. There was a very lukewarm response across all retail stores worldwide. Computer World in its blog post on the iPad Mini drops the following stats on the response rate – 50 people waited outside its store in Sydney, Australia, 100 sat in wait at Tokyo and Seoul, 100 gathered outside its store in Amsterdam, Maybe 100 took position at the company’s flagship Regent Street, London store. US stores had some mixed reactions with NY seeing almost 500 people wait. Nevertheless, these numbers are slim compared to what we’re used to.

So, what’s new in here?

No denying that it is lighter and thinner than other competing tablets. Looks crisp even without the retina display. It claims that it can be operated with one hand but sources say that it might be a long shot. Typing has been a challenge as well. It runs iOS6 but the zooming and pinching is not seamless and it takes a while to load the apps – well longer than it takes for the traditional iPad. It should definitely appeal to women who can throw these in their purses instead of carrying other bulky tablets but other than that and the gadgets freaks, who is this meant for? May be folks who are frustrated with their non-apple 7-inchers? Not sure how big of a market that is? No doubt, it is stylish, like Apple’s products usually are, but can style sell over utility – especially in a market that is so crowded.

Where is Apple heading?

In the recent past there has been a lot backlash and bad blood around various issues for Job’s empire. First, the feuds with Samsung around the patents and then about the working conditions in its factories. Definitely, does not help to build the brand image which Jobs was possibly envisioning. And, seems like Apple is in a big rush to do many product launches in a short span of time. Possible reason is that the tablet market is exploding and they want to keep pace to keep the market share especially when Microsoft and Google are going big guns. But is there a chance that they’re moving way too fast without a well-defined market need to release less than best products? And if so then where is the company heading?

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