October 23, 2012

Was It Fair? Apple Compares iPad Mini To Nexus 7

So Apple unveiled the iPad mini today. Old news, right? What's more interesting is that, during the presentation, they compared it to the Nexus 7 and surprisingly, the Nexus 7 lost. But was it a fair fight or was it rigged from the start?

From where I was standing (not in that auditorium), there were three legitimate points Apple made regarding the comparison between the 7 and the mini:

1. The iPad mini has a smaller bezel
2. The iPad mini weights less
3. The iPad mini is thinner

So far so good. Those are all true and valid points. But that's not what Apple spent most of its time talking about, when comparing the mini to the competition. No. They talked about the size. Their point was that, compared to all those 7-inchers out there like the Nexus 7, the iPad mini has 35% more screen space.

And now the three points they missed:

1. Despite being smaller, the Nexus 7 has a much higher density display and can show more content in a smaller space, meaning, this is not a one-to-one comparison.
2. If a larger display is what you want, why not go for the full 10-inch iPad or any of the 10-inch Android tablets, or even the 13-inch or 21-inch Android tablets? Larger screen is a ridiculous selling point for Apple, because you can always go larger. People know when buying a smaller tablet that it will be... smaller. They expect it or maybe even want it. Most people know there are trade-offs, like less space, but they may like the ability to easily wrap their fingers around the Nexus 7 with one hand (you need pretty big hands to do that on the iPad mini).
3. Last but not least, they forgot to mention that for that 35% more pixilated screen space, you will shell out 65% more money. Price was the one element in which they did not compare themselves to the competition. Well, that and display quality. One reason the 7-inchers like Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 have taken off is because of their price. At between $329 and $649, the iPad mini is not a bargain. It is only $70 cheaper than the full-sized iPad 2.

Don't get me wrong. The iPad mini will sell. It will sell well. A year from now, you will not see the current-gen iPad being sold alongside a cheaper last-gen iPad. The iPad mini will be the cheaper iPad, and there will always be a market for a cheaper iPad. But it will be bought by people who are willing to pay extra for luxury and the Apple name. Not by those looking for the best tablet for their money.