We were all pretty sure that this year Apple would offer the iPad mini at some price lower than the retina iPad mini 2. Then Apple deleted Slate (black) from all their products in exchange for Space Gray (for some reason my fingers want to type grey, like my tea). With the iPods, Apple didn’t update a single spec (not even storage) and just changed the pallet around. We were also caught off guard by the 5C replacing the year-old 5 at its price point instead of being cheaper. Then rumors started showing up that the iPad Mini 2 would need the A7. If that’s the case, is Apple really going to skip the A6 generation for iPads?
What if there’s an iPad Mini C
Scenario: Apple introduces the retina A7 Mini in Space Gray, Silver, and Gold, perhaps at a price bump up to $349 or $399; Touch ID, 64bit, less awful smart cover. Then, at $100 cheaper, or $299, Apple also introduces the iPad Mini C. The C is for comparison, not necessarily colors because I’m sure we would’ve seen the parts come out of China by now. This mini replaces last year’s mini. It might not have a retina screen, but it will have an A6 to help with the higher demand of iOS 7. No Touch ID, but it will gain the expanded LTE capabilities the iPhone 5C has over the original 5.
Going retina could lower the mini’s already low margins without a price increase, so a new low end product with better margins than the top-end product could help keep Wall Street happy. Surely the several years old tech in the A5 mini would be even more cost effective, but pushing it down to $229 seems like it would be difficult. I’m sure Apple would rather have their iPad minis at $299 and $399.
The Nexus 7 2 and Kindle Fire HDX make guessing price difficult. They may only get 7 hours vs 10 hours for a mini, but their 1080p screens are just so much better, even with Android’s very shitty stock typography on the Nexus. When this all started, Apple was so far ahead of the curve that no one could believe the original 10″ iPad was only $499 – a price point the Surface still has trouble chasing (since Microsoft intends to make a profit off the hardware). But Google and Amazon are willing to make their money indirectly through ads and ecosystems. Then again, I’ve never seen a tablet in the wild that wasn’t an iPad or an e-ink Kindle, ever, and I live in a University town.
With the iPad 2 and iPad 3/4 available at the same time, consumers had an interesting choice. They could spend more on the retina screen, but also had to accept more weight. The iPad 5 is supposed to be smaller and lighter than the iPad 3/4 and even the 2. So which old iPad do they keep around? The fat 4 because at least it has a lightning port?
I think the big iPad could be solved easier than the mini. No old iPad. 16GB now starts at $399. Simply shift the line.
The iPod touch looks like it’s stuck on an every other year cycle now, which is a shame because the A5 doesn’t run iOS 7 as easily as A6s do.