When it comes to tablet-optimised software, the indisputable leader out there is Apple.
With tens of thousands of tablet-specific apps, compared with single digit thousands (or fewer) for Androids, let alone the Windows 8/RT “former” Metro interface, when it comes to useful, wonderful, powerful tablet-specific software, Apple rules the iRoost.
Apple’s app prowess ensures it has the pecking power to make Android and Windows tablets (let alone the PlayBook or any other tablet wannabe) seem far less desirable, even if Google comes out and delivers its rumoured US $99 tablet.
Apple is expected to launch its iPad Mini from what could be a starting point as low as US $249, a mere stone’s throw from Google Nexus 7 tablet which, with only a very small 8GB, started at US $199, and its 16GB Nexus which started at US $249.
Apple’s iPad Mini is expected to start at 16GB, but come with a larger screen and tens of thousands more apps, and like its bigger iBrother, is expected to come in 16, 32 and 64GB sizes, with both “Wi-Fi only” and Wi-Fi, 3G/4G/Cellular and GPS” options – each at higher price points as the specs go up.
Prices will, sadly, be higher in Australia, despite the fact our dollar is stronger than the US dollar, but our price includes GST and the myriad other factors, taxes, regulations and more (including potentially pricing that subsidises lower US prices) that doing business in Australia adds to the cost over the usually rock-bottom US price.
The iPad Mini may well have a US $249 starting price at the very lowest estimate, others have already suggested that US $299, $329 or $349 are potential price points we’ll see at Apple’s impending “little” launch, now only hours away.
Long ago I made the prediction that the iPad Mini would outsell the iPhone 5 when it launches, and given the fact the iPad Mini’s price, whatever it ends up being, will be less than an iPhone 5, this isn’t a hard prediction to make.
However, given the added richness of the iPad experience over that which you get from the iPhone or iPod Touch, the big battle could well be between how many iPod Touch units are sold compared to iPad Mini’s – with a mini iPad still likely to sell more units, at least in my guesstimation.
Yes, the screen won’t be retina to ensure a lower price and thinner profile with longer battery life, but the low entry-level price for the cheapest 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi only models should be the true icing on the cake for customers and Apple’s volume profits.
It will see cash strapped customers looking at what’s the best value for money – an unproven new Microsoft tablet and new Windows OS that isn’t needed if your current computer is still running just fine with its current OS, an Android tablet that is far closer to a large iPod Touch than a small iPad, or Apple’s cheapest iPad ever – the iPad mini, fillable to the brim with more apps that you can poke twenty thousand sticks at.
Samsung, the Nexus 7, cheap 7-inch Android tablets and RIM’s BlackBerry Playbook may have lain the groundwork for the 7-inch revolution, but it’s Apple’s 7.85-inch tablet that is going to deliver it in 2012, and deliver it in stunningly large numbers before the year is out.
Google might steal some of Apple’s thunder if it truly does release a US $99 7-inch tablet, but that ultra-low price would likely still see a rear-camera omitted, along with other features – while the iPad Mini is expected to come with all the bigger iPads have – just in a smaller size.
So… unless Apple’s iPad Mini isn’t what we expected though the endless volume of blurry and not-so-blurry photos, renders, leaks and more, the true heir to the iPad will be the iPad Air, or the iPad Mini.
Indeed, it doesn’t really matter what Apple decides to call it, because what it is will be proudly emblazoned on the back in small lettering: iPad.
Despite Windows Surface Tablets, more expensive Windows 8 tablets and potentially cheaper Google tablets, when it comes to tablets, for 2012 at least, the iPad is where all the iTablet action is at, with 2013 set to be a year of even more incredible tablet fireworks than we’ve ever seen before.
Buckle up – the rest of 2012 is going to be a wild ride, and 2013 even wilder!