'Overpriced' Apple iPad Mini a 'major step backwards'
The new device is the equal of its rivals, so why is it so much more expensive?
THE DEVICE that Steve Jobs said he would never make has arrived. Apple unveiled the iPad Mini, a 7.9-inch tablet designed to take on rivals like the Samsung Galaxy, Amazon's Kindle Fire and the Google Nexus 7.
The "pencil-thin" device is just 0.3in thick and weighs 300g, the same as a pad of paper, and was unleashed at an event in San Jose, California, yesterday. But despite the usual hoop-la that accompanies an Apple launch the reception has been mixed.
The main problem is the price. The iPad Mini will go on sale on 2 November and the basic Wi-Fi-only model, with 16GB storage, will cost £269 in the UK and $329 in the US. That is £110 more than an equivalent Kindle Fire and £60 more than a Nexus 7.
"With that starting price, the company is sticking to its strategy of charging a premium for its products to preserve industry-leading margins," says Bloomberg. But Gizmodo puts it differently: the iPad Mini is "certifiably overpriced".
Not only that, it adds. The display is "noticeably worse" than its rivals and the processor is underpowered. “Charging so much more for a product that's not clearly so much better is a major step backwards for Apple".
Jason Jenkins, the editor of CNet UK, told The Daily Telegraph he predicted "a bloodbath" and said Apple was "scared". He explained: "There is a real chance one of its rivals could take its dominant tablet market share away and that could lose their dominant market position... I'm not sure it's worth the extra money for the use you'll get out of it."
But the new device will still fly off the shelves, insists BBC technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones. "We mustn't underestimate the sheer power of the iPad brand... I'm sure it will sell well to people who wanted but couldn't quite afford the full-size version."
Tech Crunch is more positive. It calls the iPad Mini "a super impressive piece of hardware". It "feels like a revelation: proof that a diminutive tablet works, and works well".
Shares in Apple fell after the launch and there was more disquiet thanks to another new product. "Apple also pulled off an enormous surprise - not least for owners of the third-generation iPad launched in March - by announcing a fourth-generation device," reports PC Pro. "Quite why Apple felt the need to refresh the 9.7in iPad range only seven months after the last release is a mystery".