A Smaller iPad for an iPad Family
So did Apple finally feel the pressure from Amazon’s Kindle Fire and decide to develop an iPad "mini"? Not at all. Never judge a tablet by its cover. With strong reports from unnamed sources that Apple will be launching a 7.85” iPad in the latter part of 2012, Apple has had that on the roadmap for quite a while. There is an iPod Family with the iPod touch, classic, nano and shuffle. There is an iPhone Family with the
- Low Tier: iPhone 3GS (8GB)
- Mid Tier: iPhone 4 (8GB)
- High Tier: iPhone 4S (16GB, 32GB and 64GB)
- Low Tier: 7.85” iPad mini
- Mid-Tier: iPad 2
- High Tier: iPad 3
If the iPad mini can hit a sweet spot of $199 in its basic configuration, we could expect the iPad family to consistently capture 60-70% share for years to come.
How do I know the entry-level iPad has been planned? For the twelve years I worked at Motorola, I saw how complex it was to get all the global certifications required for new cellphones – at least two years in advance of a product launch. It is no less complex for a 3G or 4G iPad. My experience included the first generation RAZR which paved the way for industrial design (I.D.) to be used as a competitive differentiator - just as Apple has used I.D. for the plethora of successful products that Apple fans use and love. It also takes time to work out the kinks from a prototype I.D. to get to mass production - 12 to 18 months. So Apple’s move wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction. It has been a carefully planned and well-orchestrated event that was a natural part of their multi-year roadmap process.
What the Kindle Family has done is validate the low tier space. Apple is consistent yet they are not copycats, for Jobs left the art of developing product families within the DNA of the company. You can count on me among those in line waiting to get my hands on the iPad mini.