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Apple never wanted to make the iPad Mini. It was forced to, by an army of tiny tablets laying successful siege to its empire. Apple's conceded a lot of ground already. But it's not the first time this year it's had to play catch-up.
With every new release, it becomes increasingly clear that Apple's no longer the pace car for an entire industry. Maybe Apple's transformation from leader to follower was inevitable. But that doesn't make it any less jarring.
The iPad Mini is an obvious and bloated—both in size and price—response to last year's Kindle Fire and this summer's Nexus 7. Before it came the iPhone 5, Apple's limp concession that people actually do want bigger phone displays. And before that? Apple Maps, a full-on admission that Cupertino had badly miscalculated the importance of first-party software. iOS 6 users are footing that bill while Apple scrambles to make up the seven-year lead it gifted Google.
Compare the Apple of 2012, then, to the Apple juggernaut of 1998 to 2010. That Apple didn't react to markets. It created them. Who wanted a tablet before the iPad? Who gave smartphones a second thought before the iPhone? Those products defined technology for a decade. Even Apple's retail operation—one of its most unheralded strengths—was an unthinkable undertaking before Apple thought it. And it still doesn't have any imitators.
Even Apple's iterations during that time took giant steps forward. There were MP3 players before the iPod, but none as user-friendly or as lovingly designed. The original MacBook Air was nothing special; just a laptop as overpriced as it was anorexic. The 2010 MBA? A katana blade you could actually afford. Ultrabooks have only just started to catch up. And say what you will about the original iMac, but nothing had ever looked like it before, and nothing ever will again.
Apple is the company that transformed retina from a made-up buzzword to an industry standard. It's the company that knew what people wanted before they had any idea themselves.
Being so good for so long inevitably brings success, and success brings size, and size brings slowness. Besides, what's the rush? The iPhone sells great at 3.5-inches; why fuss with it? The Kindle Fire's a cheap little imposter; why sink to its level? Those are the questions shareholders and board members ask. It's hard to wonder what's next when what's now is such a cash cow.
And when you do finally notice that your marketshare is fading, that people are buying gigantic phones and small tablets and recommending them to their friends, you find yourself in the unusual position of having to react. It's harder to work off of someone else's blueprint, and $575 billion companies tend to have more chains of command to work through. Put it like this: it's easier to maneuver a rum-runner than it is the Queen Mary II. And Apple has spent the last several months tacking gradually towards the flares its competitors sent up a year (or more) ago.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with Apple giving the people want they want. It'd be crazy not to. And there's clearly still an innovation bug powering super-skinny iMacs and retina MacBooks in Apple's R&D labs. But more and more of the company's prominent releases are shades of other people's progress. It would have been unthinkable, a decade ago, for Apple to arrive this late to the party.
That's where we stand today, though. Instead of zagging when people zig, Apple lumbers huffily towards an anodized zig of its own.
They jumped the shark with the ipad mini. It's too expensive. If it were cheaper, people would debate between getting, say, an ipad mini or a Kindle Fire. Now, because it's much more expensive than other small tablets, they will just debate between an ipad mini and a regular size ipad. They lose.
[quote]They jumped the shark with the ipad mini. It's too expensive.
If it had a retina display, it would be worth it. But it doesn't.
What R3 said.
Watching the show on my phone [iPhone5] I was struck more by what the new products DIDN'T have, about Apple's intentional holding back of technology.
The mini doesn't have Retina display and it doesn't have the faster processor.
The new Macs looks nice, but they also lack the Retina display. So why buy one now when you know the ones next year will have it -- and that's a big deal?
Um, Apple has never been an innovation leader - it doesn't create the technologies it popularizes, it just packages them with user-appealing design and markets them very well.
Apple has never been on the cutting edge of tech, so an article bemoaning that it's just following popular trends in place doesn't exactly strike me as a drastic change. I guess it's just more noticeable because Apple's competitors (like Samsung) are getting quicker to market first.
Duh. Apple's significance is creating entirely new classes of products that are so successful everyone else enters the market. They are not necessarily going to be first on every minor feature enhancement or variation forevermore.
Apple holds back on technology, because they want to sell more products. Next year, the iPad Mini with Retina Display...mark my words!
Actually, Apple is on the cutting edge in some ways... thinness and lightness with the iPhone 5 for example.
But they're pretty conservative when it comes to functionality these days.
Most other platforms support NFC features as just an example.
The Nokia 920 Windows 8 phone has a better camera, and a higher res display.
Other platforms support multiple screen sizes (instead of just 'one or two sizes fits all').
And when it comes to OS functionality, Android beats iOS hands-down. Heck, Windows Phone 8 beats iOS in several areas.
I don't know, R8.. my parents have android. It took my dad like two weeks to learn all the functions, because it was so complicated. You can't deny that iOS is more user friendly, even if it might lack some of the functions. And honestly.. who needs all those functions anyway? I'm really happy with my iPhone 5. It does everything I want it to do. I'm not complaining at all, and I'm certainly not missing any functions.
Apple does not add features for the sake of a checklist. So far, there is not much you can do with NFC so the trade-off in terms of cost, size and battery life was just not worth it. How often do you find yourself needing to transfer a file or picture directly to another person who must have the same phone with the same settings? There are many other ways to transfer a file.
Apple would rather use machined aluminum than plastic for its phone. As a result, the iPhone is MUCH more resistant to damage from drops and immersions that the S III. Which do you think is a more sensible way to spend the money--bells and whistles you won't actually use, or durability?
Gizmodo is banned from all Apple press events for leaking the 4s. They're bitter and all the Gawker sites are ttal garbage from content to coding.
[quote]Which do you think is a more sensible way to spend the money--bells and whistles you won't actually use, or durability?
Durability? Don't most people replace their phones after two years.
I was going to buy the new Nano, but I find the design very disappointing (kind of cheap looking). That distinctive Apple design seem to be disappearing.
[quote]I was going to buy the new Nano, but I find the design very disappointing (kind of cheap looking). That distinctive Apple design seem to be disappearing.
I felt the same way. I decided to wait a bit and then buy the cheapest iPod Touch. It's only fifty dollars more for a lot more functions.
This assumes that I don't end up going back to an iPhone when I get my next phone, though.
The Voice of the Night
Apple has become boring.
Ipad mini with Retina in March. Apple is so predictable. Also in March yet another Ipad. Is that 4 or 5?
I'm getting an iPad Mini next week. It's a gift. Can't wait.
I'm waiting for the iPad mini with the retina display, already have the 2nd generation iPad.
r17...have fun, you'll enjoy it!
I think the upcoming iPad 5 will have 2 speakers for stereo sound, and will be even more thinner. Suri will be updated too!
It's a maxi for me.
[quote]It's a maxi for me.
Well, with your flow Brenda, that's not a surprise.
Apple is struggling to make enough iPad Minis to meet current demand as it is.
You really think that Apple can by next March (a) source enough iPad Mini retina screens (b) solve the issue of a cpu as powerful as the A6X needed to push all those extra pixels that doesn't turn the mini into a permanent handwarmer and (c) find a battery to maintain something like the Mini's current battery life that isn't an inch thick or adds significant extra heft to the device?
Not. Going. To. Happen.