Sunday, July 22, 2012

Is Apple following in Microsoft's footsteps for once?

Yes, you read the heading right. It's not the other way round. A lot of people would consider this headline as blasphemous! I plead guilty to this sin but allow me to take you through the line of thinking that lead me to this conclusion!
I recently wrote about how Mint, a business newspaper in India, is using its iPhone/iPad app to connote associations with the luxury segment in India. The basic logic is that iPhone and iPad are almost double the price of their Android (or other OS) counterparts in India. Hence iPad is looked at as a luxury purchase. Now, I wonder how this will change after the iPad mini is introduced (expected to be priced around the current Android tabs)! Will Mint lose its premium positioning or will it try to disallow its app from working on iPad's cheaper cousin? Will Apple allow apps to do that? Does it make sense to do that?

Interesting questions! But I don't want to speculate on the answers! Let us wait and watch for there is an even more interesting turn to my line of thought!

Steve Jobs felt the original iPad was always the right size!

Staying with the iPad Mini, if the pricing is not totally out of sync with the market reality, this should really give a big challenge to all Android tablets. While we were earlier talking of whether Surface can be an iPad killer or whether Nexus7 will dominate, Apple's iPad mini is by far the most serious and most convincing attempts of all to kill other tablets. I imagine it would even cannibalize the regular iPad but I am sure that Apple, being the smart marketer that they are, will create enough differentiation between the devices in terms of the hardware specs that book lovers, casual gaming enthusiasts etc go to the iPad mini while the people looking for serious fun with raw processing power (and love for screen real estate) go to the bigger iPad. 

Now, the changes that the bigger iPad may require due to the introduction of the iPad mini is where Apple appears to be following Microsoft's two tablet strategy in some ways! This might appear as a slight exaggeration as Microsoft has two different OS on its devices and screen sizes are same etc. But I can't help but smile at that probability as the bigger iPad's hardware specs will probably tend to overlap with those of the Macbook. I had concluded in an earlier post that the Surface Pro may not work well in the market if the pricing is too close to the ultrabooks. Could this happen to the original iPad as well, post introduction of the iPad Mini? Will two iPads confuse Apple's potential customers who are used to simplicity in all aspects of Apple products including the choices available? Is this why that great visionary, Steve Jobs, never wanted to introduce a smaller iPad?

What do you say? Is Apple really following Microsoft or are my grey cells just working overtime for nothing? :)

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