Mini moment to start tablet wars

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Mini moment to start tablet wars

Apple has done it again. After months of speculation, it entered a crowded tablet market on Tuesday with its pencil-light iPad Mini and, in the process, triggered a tablet-shopping war.

By Patrick Michael

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Published: Thu 25 Oct 2012, 10:02 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 1:35 PM

While the mini-war will take some time to heat up in this neck of the woods, one can count on the grey market in the region to make it available as soon as Apple begins to take pre-orders from tomorrow (October 26).

It always seems to be the case that Apple products flood the region’s grey market shortly after launch and if history does repeat itself, consumers will almost certainly be paying a premium for this small wonder.

“There is nothing as amazing as this, this beautiful new iPad Mini,” said Apple’s top marketing officer Phil Schiller and then went on to surprise the techno community by also updating the standard iPad with a fourth-generation iteration barely seven months after its last update. The new, improved iPad boasts improved wireless connectivity, including LTE capabilities, and a more powerful processor.

Apple’s newest gizmo — a downsized addition to its line of iPads that has spawned a whole new niche market — came as the world markets took a beating and saw its biggest decline since June and Microsoft got ready to unveil its Windows 8 platform that will see a slew of tablets, smartphones and notebooks running the new interface.

The tablet war is now full on and with price not exactly on Apple’s side, the million dollar question being asked is: Can the iPad Mini steal customers away from Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and Google’s Nexus 7? At a start price of $329, compared to its direct competitor’s start price of $199, Apple, which has sold over 100 million iPads since the tablets were announced two years ago, has a tough fight on hand.

“The market is largely divided into Apple and Android fans, with very little crossover in terms of loyalty. That said, the lower price point may make the iPad Mini more accessible to undecided consumers who previously could not afford to buy the bigger iPad,” says technology addict Jose de Souza.

“The iPad Mini appears to be a direct response to the Galaxy Note and, for once, Apple is being seen as a follower as opposed to a pioneer,” he added.

Considering that Steve Jobs once ridiculed the idea of having a smaller tablet, it’s clear that Apple is following Samsung’s lead in targeting a broader product strategy.

From Apple’s track record and initial reviews, however, it’s unlikely that the iPad Mini will match up to the Note in terms of performance. That said, of course, Apple’s customers rarely choose the brand’s products for superior technical performance.

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