Apple continues to be the company that the world loves to talk about and the loss of its fabled Imperious Leader has, if anything, intensified the glare onto the inner workings in Cupertino. Just like a wannabe scientist will formulate a hypothesis and then frame the facts to fit it, the blogojournalist sphere has been frantically trying to shoehorn every new uttering from the Fruit Company into the conclusion that with Jobs’ passing Apple has lost its creative spark and is now just running on empty. While there is an element of truth in that angle when it comes to the Apple Maps fiasco where Jobs would likely have barricaded the doors and never let the public glimpse the misshapen mutant, the same does not apply to the new iPad mini. As much as the criticism against this new product has some validity, the bottom line is that Apple will merrily sell tens of millions of the latest stroke of genius to ecstatic customers.
The Handiest Gadget Slash Starbucks Status Symbol
The introduction of Retina Display changed the iPad from what was arguably the handiest gadget slash Starbucks Status Symbol into the most luscious, eye-seducing, addictive and thoroughly ego-satisfying doohickey in the history of humanity. Every time I gaze onto its ridiculously sharp images I willingly give into the illusion that I’m not manipulating conglomerations of pixels but actual 2D shapes. It’s the overwhelming alluring quality of the experience that makes me bless each and every one of the 519 dollars plus tax I spent on this delectable slice of technological ambrosia. In one fell swoop, I metamorphed from a bah humbug tablet basher (“what good is a tiny computer on which you can’t type 90 wpm”) into a tablet indispensablist (“I’m gonna Skype Mom in Italy for the third time today so I can prop it on the kitchen counter while I make gnocchi”).
Blogger Fantasies Disregarded Fundamental Economics
The shrinkage of the scrumptious iPad down to Nexus level was inevitable if borderline lamentable. Apple could simply not ignore the billions of dollars being spent on seven-inchers and it was a no brainer that they’d have to plunge into that particular fray. It was only the delusion of the blogosphere that had fantasized pre-release about a Retina Display shrunken iPad to take on the Kindle Fire at the same sub-$200 price point. Such larks disregarded the fundamental economics that even gargantucorporations such as Apple have to take into consideration. A Retina Display costs so much in both LED screen and GPU power to run it that Apple would have had to sell it at the Amazon pricing strategy: Break even on the manufacturing so you can sell content. The Company That Jobs Built did not reach a market cap of over half a trillion dollars by giving stuff away, so that was a non-starter.
The iPad Mini Will Earn the GDP of a Small Country or Two
What the iPad mini turned out to be is a shrunken iPad 2 selling at a significant premium over its similarly sized competition, and that market placement will not in any way handicap its sales or success. It’s not so much going to steal sales from bargain-basement tablets such as the Fire, Nook and Nexus7 as it is going to create its own market. While it cannot be expected to hit its bigger brother’s 100 plus million sales, it will certainly achieve the eight-figure mark and earn Apple the GDP of another small country or two.
“We don’t think you can make a great tablet with a 7-inch screen. The 7-inch tablets are tweeners, too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad.” Up in Silicon Heaven Steve may be regretting those words as his company has gone on to prove the infallible Jobs wrong. The marketing of a tweener with a resolution that is actually below its Nexus competitor may strike the blogosphere as a technological misstep and a harbinger of “the fall of Apple” but in reality it will mark just another in a long line of hits, with or without the blessing of The Steve.