iPad Mini: Expecting the Unexpected

Two months ago, Amazon’s 7-inch tablet Kindle Fire HD debuted with a captivating price $199. Before that, I always regarded tablet as an unnecessary device and claimed that I would never waste my money on it.  But the low-priced Kindle Fire ignited my passion and I told my friend I’d like to own one.

She shook her head,   “Why not buy a Google Nexus 7? The features are way better with the same price.”

Kindle Fire HD VS. Google Nexus 7

Kindle Fire HD VS. Google Nexus 7

I hesitated, and began to do research on 7” tablets. Amazon’s kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7 were the most popular small-size tablets in the market. The more I knew about them, the harder I felt to make a decision.

At the beginning, I searched for comparisons between these two tablets and found tons of feature tables. Then I noticed news about small–size iPad, which was expected to be unveiled this fall and the anticipated price was $200-$250.

This made my decision even harder.

Should I wait for the small-size iPad?

I immediately dived into all kinds of forums for electronic products and read rumors about the iPad Mini. I ended up finding criticism directed at the small size and limited features of all the 7” tablets, including the upcoming iPad Mini.

“Why not buy an iPad instead of wasting money on a device which is too small for you to do anything?”

Again, my friend gave me her advice.

A week ago, I opened Apple’s website and surprised myself by checking out with a “full-size” iPad 2.

We should always be ready for the unexpectedness in our life.

I bought a tablet I once mocked.

Apple released a small-size tablet Steve Jobs once mocked.

Apple's Media Invite

Apple’s Media Invite

“We’ve got a little more to show you”.

This was a typical Apple tease and after the invites were sent to media, everyone got what it meant.

At yesterday’s event, CEO Tim Cook kicked off by presenting Apple’s prolific year. Stunning numbers was revealed such as 100 million (Apple had sold 100 million iPad since the first generation was released).  After surprising us by launching the fourth generation of iPad, he finally unveiled the “little more”, the long rumored iPad Mini.

The 7”9 tablet finally debuted as expected and the name could not be more prosaic.

Apple CEO Tim Cook presented the fourth generation iPad and iPad Mini

CEO Tim Cook presented the fourth generation iPad and iPad Mini in Apple’s October 23rd event

But there were still something unexpected.

The price of iPad Mini is from $329, rather than the anticipated $200-250, much higher than the competitors.

Besides, iPad Mini packs a 1,024*768 screen, rather than the anticipated retina display.

The price/performance ratio of iPad Mini was thus called into question.

Apparently, Apple is unwilling to cede the low-end market to its competitors. So it launched another high-end product to take on Google Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD.

Does that make sense?

Can iPad Mini with a steeper-than-anticipated price and plain screen steal the market from its competitors?

Apple is confident as always.

“It is every inch an iPad.”

“The full iPad experience. There’s less of it, but no less to it.”

The iPad Mini commercial epitomizes “Apple style”. With a simple idea and strong delivering, the commercial aspires to spread the word:

“It’s not a shrinking, but a concentration. ”

iPad Mini Commercial

They confidently claimed that iPad Mini was worth the price and consumers would soon find its superiority over the rivals.

I woke up early this morning and logged into my Facebook with my iPhone. The Facebook group “I hate Apple” had not reacted to the new product yet but tons of complaints could be found in other places.

I then logged into weibo, the Chinese version of twitter and found my friends were talking about the newborn iPad Mini.

“I want a iPad Mini.”

The girl was always an “early adopter” of Apple products.

Diffusion of Innovations

Diffusion of Innovations

The comment from Another girl really resonated with me.

“The price is $329 and the new generation of iPad only costs 499! Why not buy an iPad 4? Finally I have a decision.”

The girl had actually been waiting for iPad Mini for a long time.

Wait a minute; will the “high-priced” iPad Mini boost the sales of its big brother?


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5 Responses to iPad Mini: Expecting the Unexpected

  1. Tansy Tang says:

    The Ipad mini draw my attention too because I don’t think it finds itself a unique positioning. As far as I know, the reason many people use Ipad is that it’s larger than a cellphone and lighter than a laptop so that people can do some simple work on it as on a portable laptop. But the Ipad mini is like in the middle of a cellphone and a full-size Ipad, I don’t see a reason why I need it. Hopefully after more people use it, they can provide the rational for buying it. Besides, I am particularly interested in the graph showed in this article. Are all these products carefully placed to the stage where they belong? If this is the case, does it mean that Twitter, which is in the stage of early adopter, is more pioneering than Facebook, which is almost in the stage of late majority? And why is this?

  2. saijiali says:

    Thanks Qingwei for the post. I know some of my friends are really looking forward to purchasing one of the iPad Mini. However, I don’t think Apple has put enough effort on marketing its new product this time. I don’t see iPad Mini’s ads all over the place. Or maybe they just didn’t reach me, I don’t know. But I do think that there will still be a lot of people that would be interested in getting hold of one of the mini tablets. Even though the price is high for what it is, but so are many other apple products.

  3. Jackie Attwood-Dupont says:

    Qinwei, you expressed a lot of the same confusion I felt when I first heard about the iPad Mini. My main reaction was: it’s so small and SO expensive! I already have an older version of the iPad so the chance of me getting the mini are pretty slim. I just can’t really figure out why I would need it.

    I know that consumer decisions about Apple products are not always about need. However, if they are going to launch a product that is an iteration of a product people already have and is priced much higher than its competitors, they have to do a better job convincing me that I need it. Personally, at that price, I can’t really justify buying a ‘new gadget’ just to see what it’s like and just because ‘i’ is in its title. Perhaps they became spoiled with the success of the iPod range but the Nano is only $150 and the Shuffle is only $50!

    I’m curious to see what the success of the iPad mini will be.

    • Qingwei says:

      Thanks Jackie! I am also observing the sales of iPad mini.

      Two explanations were found for the overpriced iPad Mini. The first one is Apple does not aim to expand to low-end market and its product does not serve, at least on the surface, to compete in price with its assumed competitors like Amazon Kindle and Google Nexus. Thus it sets a totally different positioning. Anther explanation is that Apple sets the price according the overall consideration of all its product lines. It cannot justify the price of other products like Ipod Touch if it sets the price of Mini in a lower level.

      Several days earlier, one of my friends come to ask me whether she should buy a iPad Mini or a iPad 2 as a gift for her mother’s friend. After discussion, we found that iPad Mini is a better gift because iPad 2, although more expensive, is a little outdated as a gift. I am a little curious about the sales of Mini during holiday season although there is no deal so far.

  4. mengying says:

    Thanks Qingwei for sharing the information about ipad mini for us. Actually I was also hesitating on whether to buy an ipad mini, ipad 4 with retina screen or google nexus. Finally, I made the decision to buy an ipad 4.

    There was heated voting for wether to buy the ipad mini or not in public. And according to my observation, on lots of social media platforms, most voters choose to not to buy. But surprisingly, when I visited Apple store 2 days ago, I found all types of ipad mini were out of stock. Actually, the market performance of ipad mini illustrate its success. Although the price is relatively high, but for many apple fans, they are willing to pay more for the lable of ‘Apple’.

    In addition, I would like to share a possibility that Apple is conducting the marketing strategy of ‘hunger marketing’. Actually, it’s not new for Apple. During the launching of Iphone 4, Apple store intentionally decreased the market supply to increase the difficulty to get an iphone. However, for most customers, the more difficult to get an iphone, the more people eager to get it and therefore the market needs of iphone 4 grows. Therefore, I am wondering does Apple conduct the traditional tactic on ipad mini to create a ‘fake’ popular market performance.