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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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Apple Still Not Threatened Enough by Kindle Fire to Invest in iPad Mini

The latest in an unending series of rumors about Apple’s supposedly devious plans to take everybody else out of the tablet market no matter the cost has recently popped up via iMore.  Apparently the Kindle Fire is doing far too well and it will be necessary for Apple to step in and eliminate the competition before the holiday sales numbers have a chance to solidify into a real presence in the tablet market.  This report indicates that the new iPad Mini will be available in October of 2012 if all goes well, along with yet another iteration of the iPhone.

Naturally, the speculation makes a number of rather impressive claims.  The iPad Mini will sport a 7.85” Retina Display, for example.  It will also be priced between $200 and $250.  Basically it is a scaled down version of the iPad 3 that just happens to be half the price of the cheapest version of that tablet.  The price drop can apparently be accounted for at least in part by the reduction of on-board storage space to 8GB.

Once again, despite how seriously this rumor is being taken at the moment by various sources, there is a major flaw in it.  None of the details make sense.

The most obvious point is the pricing.  In previous iPad offerings, Apple has never once accepted less than a 50% profit margin on every sale.  The newest version, the iPad 3, is estimated to cost about $310 to manufacture (16GB, 4G Model).  This makes it the least profitable iPad for Apple so far at an estimated 51%.  Even if we assume there to be a relatively large decrease in production costs as they move from a 10” display to a 7”, there is no real way that the company could hope to get even a 25% margin out of a $200 iPad Mini.  The Kindle Fire is only viable at that price because of Amazon’s heavy emphasis on media sales after the purchase.

There is also the issue of OS fragmentation.  Regardless of whether the proposed device would be able to maintain the iPad’s 2048 x 1536 resolution, the decreased size would change the way that users interact with their device and therefore the way designers create their interfaces.  It would introduce a new tier of apps that would have to be directly targeting the Mini.  Coming into what will likely be a major competition with Microsoft’s Windows 8, Apple will not want to be dealing with a complete refresh of their store this fall.

There are plenty of other reasons that we can expect no iPad Mini.  It would cannibalize iPod Touch sales.  It would indicate that Apple was far more concerned about the Kindle Fire than the numbers come close to justifying.  The list goes on.  Basically, the chances of such a product hitting shelves is slim at best.  Even if it happens, the final specs are certain to look nothing like what sites like iMore indicate unless the price is totally different from what they are expecting.  The Kindle Fire will continue to be the dominant $200 tablet for a while longer and Apple will continue to be disinterested.

Will the iPad Mini Kill the Kindle Fire? Also, Will iPad Mini Rumors Ever End?

It seems the rumor mills just won’t give up on the idea of a 7-8” iPad.  We’ve been hearing rumors about the development of such a device for well over a year now that have yet to manifest.  At this point having one announced would almost make me wonder whether it wasn’t a response to the popularity of the rumors rather than the rumors being a reflection of actual development.  Either way, iPad fans are convinced that if and when such a tablet is released it will spell the end of the Kindle Fire.

Of course it is also being touted as Apple’s answer to the anticipated Windows 8 Tablet boom later this year.  There is a very real impression that some people think all Apple needs to do is get this one last product to market to prevent anybody else from having the opportunity to break in.  Unfortunately, the rumors don’t really explain why they would want to.

Depending on the source, we are talking about a 7”, 7.85”, or 8.1” iPad running at 1024 x 768.  Essentially a scaled down version of the first two generations of the line.  There is no explanation of how this will reduce prices enough to really make such an offering attractive.  An iPad Mini would have to be scaled down in other ways as well.  This would probably need to be more than just reduced battery life.  We’re talking about a comparatively underpowered processor, reduced storage space, etc.

I won’t make the claim that this product will never appear.  It feels that way a bit now though.  Even if we assume, as many of these rumors do, that Apple made no effort to directly match price with the Kindle Fire and sold this smaller iPad for $299, it would mean the lowest profit margin they have taken to date.  Every iPad being sold right now makes the company at least $200 profit, according to analysts.  Apple is not a company who sells their hardware at a loss, as a rule.

Even if we do take the leap of faith and assume this happens, will it change things?  The Kindle Fire is marketed to a completely different audience than the iPad.  This might not, and probably will not, always be the case.  For now we have to assume that Amazon is dedicated to developing the product as a means of ever-improving media consumption, though, and as such there is little need for the kind of versatility that the iPad manages.

Amazon would lose those customers who just want an iPad anyway but who are unwilling to spend enough money to pay for the larger, more expensive models.  They are still going to be in a position to undercut Apple on the hardware prices due to the lack of reliance on device sale profit margins.  This means that the customers who just want a smaller, cheaper tablet with access to a lot of features will still have a good chance of buying a Kindle Fire, or whatever the current model is called by the end of the year.  An iPad Mini would upset the balance and be a big blow to the general Android Tablet market, but chances are good that the Kindle Fire could weather it.  Somehow I still doubt we will have a chance to find out for sure.