Since February 2011, there have been countless rumors claiming that Apple is developing a 7.85-inch iPad “Mini.” Regardless of what these media outlets claim, it’s not going to happen. Seeing asdespised such devices, it would be a radical; post-Jobs move that deviates from Apple’s core strategy.
The iPad hasn’t changed much since it’s original birth in March 2010. It went on a diet with the second generation and then gained some weight (in the form of muscle) for the third generation. But, for the most part, the iPad form factor remains the same. And for good reason, why mess with something that’s both disgustingly profitable and killing competitors?
Apple has the opposite problem of Android when it comes to fragmentation. There’s one size for each device. The iPhone and iPad screens haven’t changed dimensionally. Sure, they’ve both been Retina-ized, but physically, they remain the same. Unlike Android, which has bazillions of screen sizes, where fragmentation is rampant.
With only 10 percent of Android phones running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Apple is in a good position. Their devices are all uniform. Introducing a new device size opens the floodgates to further fragmentation down the road – for both developers and consumers. And why would they introduce a screen that’s only two inches smaller than their current iPad, anyway?
Don’t Mess with Success
Most companies change products to maintain the competitive edge, keep up with market demands, or improve sales via differentiation. Unlike these companies, Apple owns the tablet market, so they need not worry about any of these things. Seeing as they’re selling insane numbers of iPads each day, sales aren’t an issue.
Profitability certainly isn’t an issue, thanks to their ridiculously high margins other manufacturers drool over. Apple tends to think what’s best for Apple, so why would they introduce a smaller device with lower margins? The cost-benefit from a R&D perspective isn’t there, especially given the supply chain constraints.
Apple Competes with Apple
Apple doesn’t compete with Android manufacturers; Android manufacturers compete with Apple. Cupertino won’t release a 7-inch tablet for the sake of competition. The late Steve Jobs publicly ridiculed such devices, positioning the company’s viewpoints on these inexpensive slates. Even if the times have changed, Apple hasn’t.
Apple, like the rest of us, views these 7-inch tablets in a class of their own. They aren’t competing with iPads. Clearly, they are going after bargain hunters and those who do not have the discretionary funds to procure an iPad at two and a half times the cost. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, but Apple doesn’t care.
Nobody Would Buy It!
If Apple releases a 7.85-inch iPad, do you think they’d price it competitively with Android tablets? WRONG! Think again! As stated before and witnessed time and time again, Apple doesn’t care. They can price a roll of toilet paper with the Apple logo on it for $10 and likely sell cases of them. Consumers proved with the iPad and MacBook that they’re willing to pay a hefty premium for the almighty Apple logo.
A 7.85-inch iPad “Mini” would probably cost $299 for an 8 GB Wi-Fi only model. Nearly $100 more than their quad-core Android counterpart. Or, only $100 more than the 16 GB iPad 2. The benefit for consumers isn’t there. Unless Apple prices the tablet at or below $199, it doesn’t stand a chance in competing with the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire.
The odds of Apple selling their tablet at a loss are slim to none. It goes against every “pixel” of the company’s culture. Do you think their stock is where it is today by selling products at a loss? I don’t think so. Even if they easily regained the losses through iTunes – and they definitely would – there’s no chance investors or CEOwould let this happen.