On Wednesday evening I, along with the rest of the IT world tuned in to listen to the most eagerly expected launch from Apple, the iPad Mini. But unlike other Apple product presentations it wasn’t the all new features that we were all waiting for, but the pricing model.
Rumours were around the £200 mark for the entry level model, putting it at half the price of the iPad, but the big surprise was £269 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only version. Immediately the online chatter began and battle lines were drawn between those who adore Apple (probably already have an iPad and will no doubt buy the iPad Mini to complete their ecosystem), those who hate the company (typically the open source brigade) and people like myself who are somewhere in the middle.
Adding fuel to the fire was the further surprise that the iPad itself would be getting an unexpected upgrade. This won’t be good news for the wife of a chap in HMV, who I overhead last weekend saying: “Go on, treat yourself, buy the iPad, you know they won’t be releasing a new version any time soon.” I would love to be a fly on that wall!
For people like me, Apple has created a bit of a dilemma with this launch. The iPad Mini looks great it can do everything I want from a handheld tablet, but I was expecting it to be more competitively priced. It is already a crowded market and there are already some good products available, particularly the hugely popular Google Nexus 7 which you can pick up for a little over £150, albeit with 8GB storage (although this is rumoured to be discontinued in the next few weeks, with the 16GB replacing it as the entry level model, making it even better value), or even the Kindle Fire (even if some people do think of it as just an Amazon shop window). Of course, it is hugely cheaper than the Microsoft Surface with its unique Touch Cover, but it would only be fair to compare that device with the higher specification iPad.
So, now I have a head or heart decision to make. I don’t have a preference over iOS or Android (which reminds me I must get round to upgrading my iPhone to iOS 6) and the features are all very similar, but as we know, Apple have the knack for just making you want it. One thing is for sure, the queues will stretch far out the door when it goes on sale early next month. The question remains as to whether I will be in it.