New mini ipad

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

AP­PLE’S small­est, light­est and cheap­est tablet com­puter only went on sale in Aus­tralia last week but the de­vice has al­ready split the mar­ket in two.

One camp of ex­perts pre­dicts it will be the hottest elec­tronic pur­chase this Christ­mas – so hot it could help dou­ble the mar­ket for 7- inch tablets and jeop­ar­dise larger com­put­ing pur­chases.

The other group main­tains Ap­ple did not go far enough to please price- con­scious con­sumers who would have snapped up an iPad Mini un­der the magic $ 300- mark, but may now hes­i­tate.

But both camps agree that Ap­ple will sell plenty of the mod­estly sized tablet ad­di­tion this year, and more small- sized com­pe­ti­tion will be headed to store shelves.

The iPad Mini was un­veiled in San Jose last month af­ter months of spec­u­la­tion.

The small­est iPad to date fea­tures a body that is 23 per cent thin­ner than the third­gen­er­a­tion iPad at just 7.2mm, more than half as light at 308g, and costs $ 170 less than the new top- of- the- line iPad.

Ap­ple world­wide mar­ket­ing se­nior vi­cepres­i­dent Phil Schiller says de­spite the size re­duc­tion, the tablet is still wor­thy of Ap­ple’s tablet brand.

‘‘ This isn’t just a shrunken down iPad. It’s an en­tirely new iPad,’’ he says. ‘‘ It is a great iPad and the tech­nolo­gies inside are equal to or bet­ter than iPad 2 in ev­ery way.’’

Those com­po­nents in­clude a dual- core A5 pro­ces­sor, the same 1024x768 res­o­lu­tion as the iPad 2 ( though packed on to a smaller screen) and two cam­eras, in­clud­ing a 5- megapixel iSight cam­era on its back.

Sur­pris­ing some peo­ple who tipped a Wi- Fi- only tablet, Ap­ple will of­fer 4G ver­sions of the Mini mod­els for an ad­di­tional $ 140, though these will not be avail­able un­til later this month.

This isn’t just a shrunken down iPad. It’s an en­tirely new iPad

Ap­ple mar­ket­ing se­nior vice- pres­i­dent Phil Schiller

Tel­syte re­search di­rec­tor Foad Fadaghi says while Ap­ple has cre­ated a typ­i­cally stylish prod­uct in the iPad Mini, he claims its pric­ing is a ‘‘ strate­gic fail­ure’’.

‘‘ Ap­ple ob­vi­ously has a pre­mium pric­ing strat­egy but it is risky,’’ he says. ‘‘ A sub-$ 300 de­vice could have locked the mar­ket up for Ap­ple for the fore­see­able fu­ture. They have re­acted to the mar­ket­place de­mand­ing lower prices, but this de­vice is pos­si­bly not cheap enough for bud­get- con­scious con­sumers.’’

While the iPad Mini starts at $ 369, it reaches $ 729 for the top model, just $ 170 be­low the fourth gen­er­a­tion, full- size iPad that is sub­stan­tially more pow­er­ful.

But other an­a­lysts ar­gue that Ap­ple’s smaller tablet will be suc­cess­ful re­gard­less of price con­cerns.

IHS iSup­pli tablet re­search di­rec­tor Rhoda Alexan­der pre­dicts the iPad Mini will help to dou­ble sales of 7- inch tablets this year and again in 2013.

‘‘ Ap­ple will suc­cess­fully po­si­tion the smaller iPad as a de­vice that will be at­trac­tive and easy to adopt for new and re­turn­ing cus­tomers,’’ she says.

IHS fore­casts sales of more than 34 mil­lion 7- inch tablets this year, rep­re­sent­ing 28 per cent of the mar­ket, and a fur­ther jump to 67 mil­lion next year.

Ovum prin­ci­pal an­a­lyst Adam Leach and Piper Jaf­fray an­a­lyst Gene Mun­ster both warn that the iPad Mini’s pop­u­lar­ity could risk sales of the full- size iPad, and it may en­cour­age some users to de­lay lap­top pur­chases. Mun­ster says the com­pany will ‘‘ lose one mil­lion stan­dard iPad’’ sales for ev­ery five mil­lion Mi­nis sold, while Leach says Ap­ple will need to lure new users to its smaller tablet to ‘‘ off­set’’ the cheaper de­vice.

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