So the news and rumors are in, and the iPad Mini release date is all but written in stone. Tuesday brought invitations to the iPad Mini announcement, now set for Oct. 23, confirmed. What's still up in the air for an iPad Mini release is what will be previewed at the event (iPad Mini, improved iPad and enhanced iBooks all possible), as well as the date orders will be open and what will be the actual iPad Mini release date. Best guesses so far put the timetable at some of what I was projecting last week ... which was orders on Oct. 26 and the actual iPad Mini release date on Nov. 2. This week the consensus has changed a bit ... iPad Mini announcement on Oct. 23, and orders will be open right away following the announcement, which means that the iPad Mini release date will be Nov.2, nine days later. TechCrunch is supporting this theory as well as many others. There's some new thoughts on iPad Mini price as well, different than the last week, below.
i guess it makes sense that the iPad Mini release date would remain the same as projected before, but skip the in between date of opening orders on Friday, although it’s still unclear as to what the actual timetable will be. It became official as an iPad Mini announcement this week as Apple sent off their invitations saying "We’ve got a little more to show you," in line with Apple's tradition of trying to reveal a clue as to what the event might be about. Little = mini in this case, so each little nugget of information adds credibility to the cause.
“Apple’s iPad mini is almost certainly set to be announced next week at an event in San Jose Tuesday, and we’re now hearing that it will ship a week and a half after that unveiling” reads the report from TechCrunch, who also cited similar reports from 9to5Mac and Geeky Gadgets, plus there were items in iMore and iFun as well.
Although previous estimates on the iPad Mini price (including my own) have been in the $200 - $300 range, talk this week centered around higher prices than that. Theories are based on Apple being a high-end retail product, so to keep that in line with the iPad Mini price means a price a little higher than the others, but close enough to put them in roughly the same category. It's the old retail theory: do you price lower and make it up in volume, or do you price higher and sell less units but at a higher cost?
Forget what we've learned about a $10 bottle of wine compared to $100 bottle of wine, Apple always sells premium and it's part of their brand image. It makes sense that the iPad Mini price could follow that lead. Best projections I've heard this week (9to5Mac and Apple Insider) are for a starting iPad Mini price of $329 for a wi-fi-only model, putting them just an edge above the Amazon Kindle Fire and Android tablets, but still in the same category. iPad Mini tablets will go up in price by $100 from there for each new storage level + with wireless connectivity, so $329 / $429 / $529 for each model. It's also expected that Apple will phase out the iPad 2 to avoid making the product line confusing, keeping it clean and focusing on the future.
As for any forecast of what the effect of the iPad Mini will be on the competition, Analyst Shaw Wu let it fly this week that he believes that it will be "the competition's worst nightmare," according to AppleInsider and is following (albeit loosely) the same prices as above. I’m not so sure it will have a devastating effect, everybody’s been making mobile phones for a while, and although the iPhone is a very popular item, there’s actually more Android phones in use.
As for iPad Mini features, it looks like it will be a 7.85" (diagonal) screen, the consensus is largely divided between the A5 processor (same as previous iPad) and the A6 processor (used in iPhone 5). I prefer the A6 processor idea, because once you move forward in speed, it makes no sense to look back. Why would Apple use the A5 when it could use a newer, faster processor that's already in use in other products? Other iPad Mini features: there's a split between whether or not it will use a retina display-quality screen, with a focus on how that will affect app development and sizing issues. It's possible Apple could announce a refresh to the iPad 3, with improvements to the connector (upgrade to the new Lightning Connector), as well as general enhancements like slightly longer battery life and better connectivity via LTE. These are general upgrades that happen with each new iPad and iPhone release, so I'm not sure why Apple would choose now to do that instead of with the iPad 4. What's the rush? I'm missing the motivation here, anybody have any ideas?
So where does this leave YOU? Will you buy an iPad Mini? Is this the price range or size you’ve been waiting for? Are you in the other camp, do you see Google Nexus or other Android tablets as better and what do you use and why? Or are you an Amazon Prime or Amazon Books person use the Amazon Kindle Fire? What do you think of the iPad Mini and can it compete?