Originally Posted by charlituna
The iPad Mini was hardly a me too product. If it had been, we'd see it at 7 inches, plastic and selling for $150 tops.
I have to agree with Tallest Skil here. The mini was absolutely last to market in this category. How Apple chose to implement it has nothing to do with where the product sits in the market.
As I understand it, when Apple introduced the iPad, the other tablet makers primarily chose the 7" format because Apple bought up all the 10" screens. Jobs derided the 7" tablet as being unusable. Maybe this was just marketing, or maybe there was something to it. Personally, I agree, I have use the mini and its not for me (unless I had a specific use for it) -- it's much too small for my fingers and I prefer the larger screen real estate for the purposes I use my iPad for. But I won't go so far as to say Jobs was right for a 100% of the world. Clearly there are some advantages to a smaller tablet size, price chief among them.
But the fact remains, Apple could have easily built the iPad mini when they released the iPad 2 -- after all it is nothing more than a smaller iPad, but they didn't. Why? No perceived threat from the competition? Couldn't deliver it at a low enough price point to make it practical? But in that span, the competition improved considerably, and I'm not talking about race-to-the-bottom $150 tablets here. The $250 Google Nexus 7 or Galaxy Tab comes to mind.
Jobs certainly was aware of the mini before his death, and as I chose to believe: once Apple established the iPad securely, they decided to release what I and others consider a compromised experience (as also stated by Jobs), which is certainly in keeping with Apple's history ... As long as the customer knows they are opting for less than optimal configuration (the current iPhone offerings -- 4/4S/5 -- are a perfect example), and not just an inferior product, they may be willing to pay less, the upside of which may get Apple a new customer, and definitely get them invested in the iTunes eco-system, and most likely keep them. And two years of the iPad accomplished this, and gave Apple the ability to offer it.
In the end, the question on the table is motivation, not whether the mini is better than the iPad or vice versa (that can't be definitively answered as it is subjective whatever Jobs said or may have actually believed) -- did Apple do this because of the perceived threat of the Nexus, galaxy, Nook and Kindle? Or did they do this to stick it to Google and deny them the only space they were competing in? Or did they do this because that was the plan all along, despite public statements to the contrary? Or, did they see a market segment that wasn't doing very well, but well enough to justify entering it? After all, the iPod Touch currently only represents something like 1.5% of their total net profits, but they persist in that market sucking sales away from Google offerings.
However you decide to view it (and we may not know the truth for another 25 years), Apple was indeed last to market in this category, without redefining it as they had done with the Apple II, Macintosh, iPod, iPhone and iPad. Again, Apple could have handily introduced the mini at the same time as the iPad 2, and 3 for that matter, but they chose not to. The fact they chose to do it around the same time the Google tablets are starting to go 10", and without really changing anything else but the size raises the question. As I see it, the only contribution Apple made to this space was raising the build quality. Apple has NEVER cared about matching the price point of the competition, so inflated price doesn't mean they didn't enter a particular market to compete. And certainly the timing of Apple's announcement is nothing short of strategic.Edited by Mac_128 - 11/16/12 at 9:41am