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back to article iPad Mini: Why is Apple SO SCARED of the Kindle?

It's a small, cheap plastic device that people use to download Jane Austen and spanking porn. Why would Apple be scared of it? If we wanted to, we could see the iPad Mini as a product that Apple always wanted to make, a revolutionary resolutionary device, a magic original product that will change the world. "Boom! Boom!", as …

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Education? More like car aftermarket...

7 in is exactly the size of an average headrest back... So any competition and price reduction in that range is very very welcome by all of us who have kids in the back seats.

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Re: Education? More like car aftermarket...

And most jacket pockets, handbags, car glove-boxes...

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Re: Education? More like car aftermarket...

You really think it'll be cheaper than competitors?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Education? More like car aftermarket...

If you're talking about headrest backs, then presumably you want to have the kids watching movies? Considering Apple's premium pricing policy, I'd guess I can easily pick up a twin pack of portable DVD players for less than half the price of one mini iPad.

Personally I find getting the kids reading books, colouring or looking at the world outside the car windows much better than getting them staring at some pointless drivel on a screen,

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FAIL

Re: Education? More like car aftermarket...

Yes, because we'd all prefer to pay £300 for a device that plays movies and might get mauled by the kids when there is a £129 alternative that does the same thing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Education? More like car aftermarket...

>Yes, because we'd all prefer to pay £300 for a device that plays movies and might get mauled by the kids when there is a £129 alternative that does the same thing.

Original Poster didn't say they were intending to get a (new) New iPad, but rather they'd welcome price reductions in that segment due to increased competition (who wouldn't?). i.e, they're not ruling out the possibility that the release of this rumoured iPad will cause rivals to drop in price. Whether that happens remains to be seen. Seems they are hoping that maybe the £129 device becomes a £99 device.

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Re: Education? More like car aftermarket...

"Original Poster didn't say they were intending to get a (new) New iPad, but rather they'd welcome price reductions in that segment due to increased competition (who wouldn't?)."

New Ferraris don't make Honda drop their prices.

I'm pretty sure Apple aren't going to go for anything other than the top-of-the-line market.

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Re: Education? More like car aftermarket...

Amen to that. Or - god help us all - having conversation with the rest of the family. Something I look forward to with every long drive.

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Linux

Re: Education? More like car aftermarket...

Apple is no Ferrari.

Apple isn't even Honda.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Education? More like car aftermarket...

@Ye Gads

Yes they might do the same thing, just like your girlfriend/wife/partner.

BUT

Some girlfriends/wives/partners look better and perform better.

The difference between boredom and satisfaction. I just like mine to look better and perform better, but hey I'm shallow.

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Re: Education? More like car aftermarket...

So any competition and price reduction in that range is very very welcome by all of us who have kids in the back seats.

Not all. By no means all.

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eh?

This entire article is about an unanounced product, and assumes that the unanounced product will be significantly cheaper than the existing product portfolio. It also assumes that Apple feel compelled to compete with the Kindle, a device at the absolute opposite end of the spectrum to their own products. I may be proved wrong later but I don't see why they would make this cheap.

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Re: eh?

If it isn't intended to compete with the Kindle(s), what *is* it designed to compete with? The only other big seller is Apple.

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Boffin

Re: eh?

@Lusty

I suspect that at some time in the future, much of the highly esteemed Ms Leach's output will be viewed in the same light as Michael Dell's "Liquidate Apple & give the cash to the shareholders" pronouncement.

No doubt Ms Leach is far more attuned to running a high-tech company than Apple's management is:- it must be all that time spent scribbling for the Grauniad - who, I must admit deserve a prize for their offshore-centred tax avoidance, and their sheer chutzpah in slating anyone else for it.

From such a school's ethos, we judge its graduates

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Re: eh?

Before the Kindle Fire and Google Nexus came out, the only real competition in the slab market was the Galaxy Tab, which was the same price as the iPad, and the Asus Transformer.

There's two possibilities, either it is a magical new revolutionary iGadget that will create a completely new market. Alternatively it is to compete with the Kindle Fire and Google Nexus.

Of course at the time of writing this, we don't actually know that it is an iPad mini, it could be something completely different. We will find out in just over an hour. If it is an iPad mini, I can't think of anything magical and revolutionary they could do with it, but that's why I'm not earning millions of dollars working for their product design team.

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Anonymous Coward

Call me crazy

...but for now I am skeptical - and will happily admit I am wrong when the time comes - that the iPad Mini will compete *on price* with the likes of the Kindle Fires or Google Nexus 7 - which by most accounts are both products that at least border on being sold at cost.

Of course, Apple's supply chain could likely make for a lower @cost equation than Amazon or Google - I am not arguing otherwise - but to compete *on price* would likely mean an un-Apple margin on the device (please note, this is not to say that "[Apple is overpriced crap]", but instead simply that Apple maintains a respectable/healthy margin on every piece of hardware they sell and to say otherwise is daft).

My point: competing *on price* would require Apple to adopt, to a greater extent than they do today, the Amazon/Google revenue model of little, no, or even negative (when R&D is factored in) margin on the front end, and concentrate on the back end (majority ad revenue for Google, product sales for Amazon, iTunes for Apple).

I find it much more likely that Apple will choose to compete on category (i.e. form factor), with normal Apple pricing (read: not the cheapest, bottom of the barrel price in a given category)... so likely more expensive than the Kindle and Nexus 7. Throwing SJ's limited portfolio approach out the window is one thing... but throwing a pricing/revenue approach that has driven Apple to the top - and not just by a bit - of the tech industry is something else all together.

I invoke the Sagan Standard to the assertion that the iPad Mini will compete with the Kindle and Nexus 7 on price: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", and I have yet to see any extraordinary evidence that Apple is planning to throw their hat into the race to the bottom in the hardware market.

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Re: eh?

"If it isn't intended to compete with the Kindle(s), what *is* it designed to compete with? The only other big seller is Apple."

It designed to complement the iPad range. This is the same play Apple has done with the iPods, over half of the ones sold are iPod touch,s but Apple still makes lower priced nano's and shuffles's. You may have noticed people saying that the iPad is to big and how they want a smaller tablet, here's Apple saying "fine, here's the iPad mini".

I'm assuming the event is about a smaller iPad.

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Re: eh?

"which was the same price as the wifi-only iPad, and the less-well-equipped Asus Transformer."

Fixed it for you. Don't forget when the original 3G-equipped Tab 7 came out.. quite a while ago now. Like, back when the iPad 1 was new.

But yes, pricey compared with other 7-inchers.

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Anonymous Coward

"iPad mini starts with 16GB of memory, and the WiFi version is $329"

Yes, that is a quote.

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double eh?

>"TV is another example of this: people want to watch Homeland on whatever screen they have to hand, he said, not to have to buy it on one piece of hardware and find that the content is only accessible on that device."

...is used as an argument against Apple's iTunes / iDevice infrastructure working out in the long term, whilst the article highlights the gains Amazon has made in tying people to their content by means of a device.

So what is the article's argument again? That Amazon don't care about margins on their hardware, but that Apple do? Or that iTunes once had DRM but now doesn't? Or that many people have several audio and video devices, but only one e-reader?

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iTunes once had DRM but now doesn't?

True for Music, but how about everything else?

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Windows

Re: iTunes once had DRM but now doesn't?

They don't need DRM on music any more - they have so much of the market, they might as well let you play it elsewhere. There's such a Apple focussed infrastructure in so many houses now, people will continue to buy apple.

Must admit though, 7" seems a far more sensible screen size. My PlayBook fits nicely in a Barbour pocket. iPad's are just too big to carry around, though lots of people seem to manage.

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Boffin

Re: double eh?

While Amazon might appear to lock the content in eReader world to their own Kindle reader, the AZW files can be read on Windows, Mac, almost all tablets and smartphones with apps! Or through any web browser. The point is that the software needs to be registered on the device for DRM reasons. If other eReaders will support installable apps, then any reader might work. But then they might be called tablets :)

iTunes however is tight to the iTunes application and only Apple mobile devices. It's clear you missed something here.

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Boffin

Re: iTunes once had DRM but now doesn't?

"Apple-focused infrastructure" (feel the epic grandure)

Is that what one gets when Apple's proprietary plugs stop you from using anything that they don't have a cut of?

Apple-focused infrastructure... ahh thats a classic.. thanks for the chuckle.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: iTunes once had DRM but now doesn't?

You think DRM was their idea? it was forced on them by the media giants and that's why it's still on video and other content.

Even the BBC won't let you download their programmes even though they are largely funded by the TV licence.

What other sites will sell you DRM free films? erm, none it seems.

Apple won't support Blu-ray due to all the stupid hoops you have to jump through to be allowed to use it.

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Devil

Re: double eh?

I won't defend the article, but I think there's a difference in how the companies are seen and see themselves. Amazon is arguably more open and more about e-commerce. Apple is more about the hardware.

Amazon's reader works across devices, including the iPad, remembering where you left off. iTunes is quite iDevice centric by contrast.

Amazon is using the loss leading Kindle to assimilate you into their content ecosystem. Apple just want you to join the collective and be done with it.

I believe the article is sort of pointing out that an ecosystem content model is more flexible and resistant to challenges than a hardware strategy.

Now, they're both evil. Just chose your poison.

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>"TV is another example of this: people want to watch Homeland on whatever screen they have to hand, he said, not to have to buy it on one piece of hardware and find that the content is only accessible on that device

That could be said for just about any video media. Theyre still lagging behind the Music biz. Most MP3 are DRM free, but I've yet to find much video that is truely cross platform.

Region coding

No transcoding

No time shifting

Netflix on one device not on another, LoveFILM on the others, AppleTV video elsewhere, some flash based, some HTML5 based. Ultraviolet?

If I buy the 'licence to view' a video file. I want to view that video file on whatever device I have.

Its not as if Apple is the only bad boy!

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Stop

DVD

You can get fully Open Source software to read DVDs (even with the ineffective, broken DRM) and convert it to other formats. As long as you own the original DVD, this falls within your Fair Dealing rights.

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Re: DVD

The open source (usually libdvdcss2-based) solutions usually fail spectacularly when the DVD publisher has included some arsey extra copy protection measure that makes the movie appear to be 99 titles, or makes it so open source players break unless you skip the first megabyte or so of the disk.

There are however, paid solutions that are regularly updated to get around publishers being dicks. Just saying that since I'm a lifetime-updates owner of a certain couple of Slysoft products. It works rather well!

Means I can play my DVDs in proper quality on any device I like. All good.

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Unhappy

Re: DVD

The open source (usually libdvdcss2-based) solutions usually fail spectacularly when the DVD publisher has included some arsey extra copy protection measure that makes the movie appear to be 99 titles, or makes it so open source players break unless you skip the first megabyte or so of the disk.

Agreed. I could never figure out why the default players/libs on Linux don't disregard the TOC info if it disagrees with the physical information on the disk. I had a look at the source code myself and figured out what would need to be changed in order to defeat any of the standard copy protection schemes from among DVDs that I own, so that I can transcode them and have them available on my DLNA server. I think there are probably two reasons. First, these bits of software are generally written so that they comply with the standards and they don't deal very well with the copy protection schemes, which deliberately throw in junk. This often leads to disks that work fine in a DVD player but won't play on a computer. Second, I suspect that there might not be the collective will to get around the "copy protection" (in quotes because almost all of these schemes are laughable in how they operate--essentially, as I said, adding junk so that that faithful implementations of the specs, as on computers, won't be able to read/play the disk) because of fear of litigation. Even though it's trivial to get around the copy protection schemes I've seen (and I'm not even an expert), I'm sure the big media companies have patents on exactly how they fuck with the standards (and break them--I don't think they should get away with using the DVD mark on these) so I'm sure any open source distro would get slapped with a patent infringement suit if they implemented the changes needed to ignore the copy protection mechanisms.

It's all a bit sad really, especially considering how technically stupid DVD copy protection is...

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Maybe its just sense?

I've never been interested in iPad before because its just too BIG. If I can't jam it into my "rather large" purse, it is NOT portable. Seriously, If it needs a separate bag I'll bring my laptop.

I'm still not sure I need one, but if it can fit in the spot my Kindle rides in, it has my attention, and I'm willing it give it a second look. I had my doubts about this at first, but there is method to their madness.

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If you think this only started bring cooked up after Steve Jobs passed…

You must be smoking crack!

Just like the screen size "evolution" on the iPhone 5, SJ almost certainly knew about and had input to this decision.

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I will laugh so much...

...if Apple actually don't launch a small iPad later, but go completely left field instead and bring out a synthesizer or something. (I don't think they will, it would just be funny to see all the experts on the back foot)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I will laugh so much...

Yes, if they announced a properly licensed and lovingly recreated iTB-303, I would snort tea out of my nose. Would never happen, but it's a beautiful thought.

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Joke

Re: I will laugh so much...

I have it on good authority that they have finally sorted out the trademark issues with the British TV Station and are going to launch their long rumoured iTV product. Jeremy Kyle will be the guest of honour to launch it.

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Re: I will laugh so much...

Umm. That's already been done.

http://www.rebirthapp.com/rebirth-for-ipad/

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Happy

Re: I will laugh so much...

ReBirth is sounded pretty dated now, though. There's far more convincing virtual analog synths around; although ReBirth ran nicely on a 60MHz processor and was amazing for its day. Which was 16 years ago. I would expect some future TB-303 clone to be running a SPICE simulation of the actual circuitboard* :)

And that user interface? What were they thinking? Yes to emulating the TB-303 sound, no to emulating the TB-303 pattern editor :)

* OK, admission time, I tried this. You have to run the simulation at 1MHz in SPICE to capture the oscillator triggers, and there are enough non-linear components that you have to use something like conjugate gradient to solve it, and that puts it out of the 1MHz sample rate even on a 3GHz machine. You could possibly run the filters at a lower sample rate and analytically create the input waveforms though - the SPICE waveforms, even with non-perfect components, are pretty much mathematically perfect. But I digress.

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7" Kindle = last years chippery

The new HD Kindle surely should retail at near $99 to be competitive with the GPS enabled and high tech Nexus tablet.

But maybe the Mini will not be as feeble as some expect

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 7" Kindle = last years chippery

Word to the wise, avoid the Kindle HD, it's a rather bad, glitchy thing. If you're in the market for a small Android tablet, the Nexus 7 is still the best option- and Kindle Reader looks pretty decent on it, if you like that sort of thing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Word to the wise

ignore anonymous google shills.

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Re: Word to the wise

I've seen my US-based uncle with a Kindle Fire, the only example I've seen of it here in Blighty. He said it had been given to him (not a good sign), and that he didn't really get on with it either.

But I'm sure any product finds its way to at least a few people who don't get on with it.

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This article is all wrong

Apple only invented the small tablet form factor today. What other tablets are they even speaking about?

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Stop

The usual rabid anti-Apple click bait from Ms Leach

Apple have a long history of adding devices to their product range to cover the market. iPod nano, Mini, Classic and Touch anyone? When SJ took control back of the company the reason he killed the number of devices he did was because the range was confusing, with many overlapping products, and the company was bleeding red ink.

Apple and Amazon have different approaches, but both are aiming to pull users into their proprietary ecosystem. Kindle books are DRM'ed lest we forget. Amazon wants to sell media content and uses the Kindle devices as loss leader. Apple wants to sell iDevices and sells much iTunes content for free as a loss leader for that.

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Thumb Up

Re: The usual rabid anti-Apple click bait from Ms Leach

Seems to have worked....

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Re: The usual rabid anti-Apple click bait from Ms Leach

" iPod nano, Mini, Classic and Touch anyone?"

Huh? Are those seriously 'different' products that 'cover' the market?

Any MP3 player fits in the palm of a hand. The form factor and a few functions and a case are not differentiators. It's really just a styling choice (as far as I'm aware: My little Sansa is a great piece of kit for a fraction of the price, so I never saw the point in buying mugger-bait).

Whereas an iPad that actually fits into a pocket or a purse *is* aimed at a different gap in the market. That size differentiator alone makes it quite a different product in many ways.

Still: I think it's a bit of a donkey. Apple die-hards and brand-lovers will want one, but I don't think it's going to be able to compete with the alternatives on price, and most of those with a wad of readies will have already purchased the larger version and an iPhone.

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Stop

@Phyx - have you actually looked at them?

The nano is designed to be clipped to your lapel, much smaller than hand sized. It and the Mini are aimed at the fitness crowd, were small and light is important.

The Classic is hand sized and high capacity (160GB IIRC)

The Touch is a cut down iPhone, able to play most of the iPhone games, browse the web and display video at a decent size and resolution. You'd need to be a complete numpty to think they were all targeted at the same buyer and price point.

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Go

Re: @Phyx - have you actually looked at them?

"...the Mini are aimed at the fitness crowd, were small and light is important."

That's hilarious: "I'm so fit and into my workouts, that an extra 10g in my pocket will lead to cardiac arrest."

Do joggers also buy smaller versions of their iPhones, because the usual ones slow them down too much?

It just illustrates my point that the differences aren't *really* major differences which redefine the product at all. They are primarily self-image, aesthetic and style elements (qv: "I'm a fitness guy, so I need this lightweight model") that simply appeal to slightly different segments of the same market. None of them is an inherently different product.

The step between 'pocket' and 'not pocket' (and hence 'sofa or separate bag' and 'handy travel-mate') is a larger one is somewhat more about practicality than self-actualisation. It changes the way that the device is used, to a degree. Whether it's large *enough* of a product difference is yet to be seen.

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FAIL

Re: @Phyx - have you actually looked at them?

You are indeed a numpty of the highest order.

There's obviously no difference between the £40 2GB, screen-less entry level device and a 64GB pocket Internet and game playing machine for £329. The hard disk based Classic is obviously ideal for jogging and use in the gym, where the drive has no problems with bumps and knocks. The lack of Bluetooth and Nike+ support are patently non issues to dedicated fitness fanatics who don't need that kind of thing. /s

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Boffin

Re: @Phyx - have you actually looked at them?

The iTouch is perhaps worthy of being a noticeably different product, due to gaming capabilities, I'll grant you.

The idea that the Classic skips songs when jogging just because it's HDD-based seems to be an odd one, given that it has a 32MB cache (and that my ex used to use one during work-outs, and never had a problem). I don't know any *actual* dedicated fitness fanatic that uses Nike+, either: Just joggers and people who love to tell me how far they've run via Failbook. You're getting self-actualisation and identity-defining functionality mixed up with defining functions, I think.

Adding minor functionality that caters to a corner of a market but is not a *crucial* practical factor is not making a new device: It's good marketing strategy. You seem to have got the two mixed up. Which is right where Apple and other companies which sell aspirational products want you to be.

Is it worth calling me names over though, Steve? [And look: I spelled your name correctly...]

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