Originally Posted by SolipsismX
I've stated in the past, well before the iPad mini seemed like it could happen that Apple should "suck all the oxygen out of the room" by creating an environment where it owns the tablet market the way it owns the PMP market. It took them a long time to wrangle the PMP unit market share even though they were the only ones making profit for much longer but with the tablet market they had control of both out of the gate. With these cheap 7' tablets hitting the market they will lose unit market share which could, over a long period, chip away at their profits if the OS ad ecosystem on these devices become good enough.
To me, this means that they should do everything they can to make this tablet market an iPad market for the foreseeable future. With 32nm and the 163 PPI display tech they aren't using I think it's possible to create a cost effective mini tablet — hopefully called iBook — that will only keep the Apple haters from buying one over a KIndle Fire or Galaxy S#17.
PS: I'd say Amazon is the biggest long term threat here because of their low profit margin, popularity as an online store and media ecosystem. We can laugh that they barely profit from quarter to quarter but this is a major threat to Apple who might not be able to compete with Amazon on HW products even though Apple can leverage so much expertise and existing tech to make a product much, much lower than Amazon. Apple might actually have to reduce their profit margins in order to crush them. We don't often see that from Apple.
I'm becoming more fond of the "iPad Air" moniker, especially since the focus, ostensibly, will be on thin, light, portable, and powerful. Some are saying that not adopting a Retina display in a smaller iPad would be a step back, as Apple is moving to Retina across al its mobile devices. They fail to note, however, that the MacBook Air has not adopted Retina. It is Apple's entry-level notebook, and a very, very good one-better than any one else's entry-level notebook. It could be quite a while before the MBA gets Retina, as the current display is good enough for its uses. App developers, design pros, and photo and video editors are getting Mac Pros, rMBPs or in some cases even iMacs If some one wants a better display and is willing to sacrifice weight/thickness and/or battery life, there's some other product for that.
I'm continually amazed by how some Apple-savvy tech bloggers state that Apple does not design around a price point. Such statements fly in the face of the reality of how Apple has structured their product class lineups. Apple knows what people are willing to pay for products given well-defined feature sets. They also understand the trade-offs that consumers are willing to accept if they know they are getting a best-in-class product. The cost of Retina on a MBA would simply be too high to hit a sub-$1,000 price point. Not to mention, the battery would need to be bigger, and thus the notebook would be a bit heavier. The perceived drawback of a missing feature (Retina) on the MBA is a win in that it demonstrates different use cases and allows for better differentiation between it and the MBP. Air owners have good reasons for not getting a MBP. There will be even more differentiation after the 13" MBP is released.
The problem with the iBook moniker is largely, IMHO, that it would be perceived in the market not as a full-fledge iPad, but as a gimped eReader tablet. Apple is in the middle of a profoundly complex and precarious product transition across mobile devices. They are trying hard both to differentiate their product lineup while also providing as much functionality as possible within specific product classes. The MacBook Air achieves that with regard to the Retina MacBook Pro; an iPad Air will achieve that with respect to the iPad. A MBA or MBP and iPad Air or iPad would be a stroke of marketing genius, reflecting Apple's unique ability to reduce consumer confusion about its products and its drive to (re)emphasize simplicity in product offerings and naming schemes.
Edited by Carthusia - 10/13/12 at 12:27pm