If you’ve tried an iPad mini, or just seen one, you’ll know the screen is a decent size and well suited to using like a tablet. It’s not quite so good for using as a laptop/netbook replacement (unless you have really good eyesight or like peering at things in a hunched-over manner), but that hasn’t stopped Belkin from rolling out a portable keyboard folio for it.
The Portable Keyboard Case connects to Apple’s device via Bluetooth and is a scaled down version of the keyboard the company sells for the full-sized iPad. If you’re the sort of person who likes to pretend you’re a giant, you’re going to love it.
This afternoon I got my first look at Microsoft's Windows RT tablet at the company store here in San Diego. I wanted to drop by for two weeks, but simply couldn't make time. Today, my daughter needed a ride to Fashion Valley Mall; she's got a new job there. That gave me 90 minutes free time for Microsoft Store -- oh, and four doors down Apple, too.
I am pleasantly surprised by my initial reaction, which quite simply is "wow". This starkly contrasts with my negative response to iPad mini. (But the Apple Store jaunt to see the tablet can wait a few paragraphs.) Surface's display is bright, clean, clear and crisp. Font rendering is superb, particularly given resolution is only 1366 by 768. The tablet is fast and touch-response exact and fluid. Presentation of default apps, such as MSN and weather, pop. They look exceptionally good, and Microsoft serves up lots of rich touchy, feely additional content throughout. Presentation gets A-plus.
This morning, Apple issued a press release touting 3 million iPad 4 and mini WiFi sales over the first three days (cellular models aren't available yet). Both products went on sale November 2. But that's not the data I waited for. Apple didn't break out iPad mini, which is suspicious. Rumors, and enormous buzz, preceded the launch for most of the year. Hell, I posted a buying poll in February. The first tell: No big, pre-order announcement, which is atypical of a company that seizes every opportunity to boast about sales for marketing advantage. If early numbers were really good, Apple would say so.
By combining the sales of two products, Apple gets headlines across the InterWebs about a big launch that the company claims is twice iPad 3. Marketing value is still big, while avoiding answering question: What about iPad mini? Considering that the smaller tablet opens new pricing and size segments and, by Apple CFO's admission, is a considerably low-margin product that could impact profits, answering the question is quite important. Revealing: In a statement, CEO Tim Cook says Apple "practically sold out of iPad minis".
Does anyone really like to be bullied? Is arrogance something most people aspire to achieve, or behavior socially embraced? You know the answers. But these qualities too much describe Apple since its sudden success starting in 2010. The company continually sticks a middle finger in the face of competitors, judges, partners, the patent system and pretty much anyone or anything else. The corporate attitude is a disaster underway that, unless checked, will ruin reputation long in the making.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company makes many of the same mistakes Microsoft did during the late 1990s. Apple's most valuable commodity is its brand, which is being squandered at alarming pace. For a company for which so much stock share value derives from perception, the risk is huge.
To be honest, you really don't want to know which one. Some tragedies are simply too painful to see. But if you delight in car crashes, then do watch Darcy LaCouvee plummet the Apple and ASUS/Google tablets to the cement. Informal drop tests like this one aren't exactly scientific, if for no other reason than Chaos theory. But they're nevertheless revealing and entertaining.
Like the iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S III drop test, the Android Authority reporter waited until the Apple device starting selling in stores to drop-test the tablets. He's back again from Hong Kong, in this riveting 5:39 video.
Today in more than 30 countries, new iPads -- fourth-generaton 9.7-inch and new mini 7.9-inch -- are available for purchase. In-store sales, direct from Apple and third-party retailers follow a week of pre-orders. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company unveiled both tablets on October 23.
iPad 4 is largely unchanged from its predecessor; the biggest difference being the new A6X processor, which Apple claims doubles performance. The mini is a fresh design and smaller physical size that lowers the entry-level price to $329. The company chose to preserve the larger tablet's user experience, including 5MP rear-facing camera, on its smaller sibling. Big difference, other than physical size, is dramatic lowering of screen resolution -- 1024 x 768 on the mini compared to 2048 x 1536 resolution on iPad 4.
If you haven't been to Amazon for a day or so, do visit and check out the guerrilla marketing before it's gone. The online retail giant has revamped its ever-changing home page to directly take on iPad mini. A graphic compares iPad mini with Kindle Fire HD -- highlighting differences such as display resolution, HD playback and stereo instead of mono. Of course, the glaring difference is the price -- $329 versus $199, Apple's device being the more expensive.
Last week, Amazon boasted that the day after Apple announced iPad mini, $199 Kindle Fire HD had its biggest sales day ever, implying that many people waited to see the competition and then went for the Amazon product instead.
Early results from BetaNews poll "Will you buy iPad mini?" are in, and they are grim. Nearly 80 percent of respondents say they won't by purchase the device. But it's the hidden story behind the numbers that reveals more. In February, I asked" "Would you buy 8-inch iPad?" More than 50 percent responded "Yes". Nine months later, the size is ever-so-slightly less (7.9 inches) but the price is considerably more ($329 to $659) than what many people expected. What a difference that bit of information makes.
Apple started taking pre-orders today, and iPad mini goes on sale November 2. If white is your color of choice, they're already back-ordered, with shipping stated as "2 weeks". But black is available in all three capacities -- 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. That's for the WiFi models. Apple plans to offer cellular radio minis in mid-November. The sell-out is no sign of demand, since Apple might simply have produced more of one color than the other. That the tablet didn't immediately sell out says much about interest that quite possibly -- I'll say likely -- resonates with our poll.
Apple has a big problem. Android tablets are making huge market share gains against iPad, in part driven by attractive and affordable smaller models like Amazon's Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company won't admit the reason, but other things said, or even unsaid, during yesterday's earnings conference call reveal much.
Then there is the sudden slowdown in iPad sales taken against new analyst data showing Android device increases. iPad mini is a desperate attempt to stop Apple's bleeding market share, and the cost will hit company margins.
Late this afternoon, Apple announced another blow-out quarter and closed fiscal 2012, ending Tim Cook's first full four quarters as CEO. The challenge ahead is to maintain or to even extend momentum as cofounder Steve Jobs' influence over strategy and product development grows more distant. He died a year ago last month.
On Wednesday, financial analysts got an unexpected October surprise, and not iPad mini. Cook revealed that Apple sold its 100 millionth iPad about two weeks earlier. Problem: By that reckoning most analysts had over-estimated the tablet's quarter. Philip Elmer-DeWitt sums up the impact: "As a group, these analysts lowered their iPad estimates an average of 2.67 million units. Most also lowered their revenue and earnings estimates, an average of $1.26 billion and $0.31, respectively". If you're an investor wondering why Apple shares declined most of the day ahead of earnings, there's a reason.
To answer my colleague Joe Wilcox’s question, I won’t be buying an iPad mini. I will however, be shelling out on a 4th gen iPad. I already own an iPad 2, and was thinking of upgrading to the 3rd gen version, but I knew an update was likely. Even though Apple only rolled out the most recent iPad in March, there were a few clues that suggested a sooner-than-usual upgrade was on the cards.
Firstly, the Lighting port. On the accessories front alone it’s important for Apple to transition its devices to the new connector as quickly as possible, which means putting it in all of its relevant hardware. Secondly, the 3rd gen iPad gets incredibly hot when doing graphically intensive tasks. The new A6X chip will, I suspect, greatly reduce that problem. Making the iPad faster (while keeping the price the same) will also help position it a little further away from the new mini. However, the main reason for the upgrade is much more straightforward: it kicks the hell out of the competition.
For those of you skydiving from the edge of space or returning from a week in some Fringe alternate universe, today Apple announced iPad mini -- so far the autumn's worst kept secret. Rumormongers got right the event and sales dates, product name and screen size but flubbed the price; sorry it's not $249 or $299, Bub. That's in another alternate reality. But do dream.
I just have to ask, again: Will you buy iPad mini? I look forward to the impact facts will have on your answers. In February I asked: "Apple is rumored to be developing a smaller tablet. Would you buy an 8-inch iPad?" About 56 percent of the 3,624 respondents answered "Yes". That's a high number. But much has changed since, with Google Nexus 7 joining Kindle Fire at $199, Amazon offering 8.9-inch tablets and Apple choosing to price higher than many people hoped. So I ask the question again, offering new poll and your chance to comment.
"Don't upset the apple cart" takes on new meaning for the company Steve Jobs cofounded. Supply chain simplicity defined his leadership, starting with the many products axed after he took the interim CEO title in early 1997. While complexity creeped into some product lines over the years, mainly iPod, Apple followed a streamline approach. Until today. Tim Cook oversees a suddenly complex tablet lineup, following iPad mini's introduction early this afternoon.
Before today's event, Apple offered eight different iPad configurations -- that's without separately counting carrier-specific LTE models. The mini, which goes on sale November 2, brings the number to 14. It's a crowded lineup, with overlapping features and prices not seen from Apple since the early- to mid-1990s. Something else: Apple chose to price higher than what BetaNews surveys show people want to spend on a tablet, particularly in the mini's size class, and too close to other models, risking some sales cannibalization -- or worse, none at all, if customer confusion hurts sales.
Months of rumors have come to this: Yes, Virginia, there is a smaller iPad, and if they don't sell out, you could get one for Christmas. During a special media event today, Apple unveiled iPad mini.
The new tablet's screen measures 7.9 inches, compared to 9.7 inches for fourth-generation iPad, also announced today. Screen resolution is 1,024 by 768 -- the same as iPad 2 and other tablets in the size class. The device weighs .68 pounds and is 7.2mm thick, or about one-quarter more than fourth-generation iPad. Apple claims 10-hour battery life. The tablet runs an A5 dual-core processor and packs a 5-megapixel camera on the back and another camera, mainly for video recording on the front. Contrary to rumors, prices start at $329, not $249.
When Apple debuted the iPhone 5 just over one month ago, I was assigned to cover the launch event in a liveblog, despite the fact that I wasn't actually present at the event. So I did the liveblog the only way I saw fit: in the style of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
So here we are again, there is another Apple event today in San Jose, where the company is expected to unveil a couple of new products including the smaller, cheaper 7-inch iPad, and a new Macbook with a high-resolution Retina display. The event will begin at 10am Pacific, or 1PM EST, and I'll be providing a live, unscripted sarcasm track starting approximately an hour before the event begins. Unlike the iPhone 5 launch event, this one will be live streamed at Apple Events.