If Apple iPad Mini is announced tomorrow, what will happen to iPad 2?
Almost every gadget fan whom I spoke to recently are assuming with virtual certainty that Apple is going to introduce an iPad Junior this year. The question is no longer if, but when the iPad mini release date in Singapore is going to be.
It is hard to disbelieve the iPad Mini rumor train given the steam it has gained over the past few weeks. Reputable news heavyweights from the likes of mainstream outlet such as Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, to tech blogs such as MacRumors, 9to5mac, Mashable, TechCrunch, have purportedly published leaked information from pictures of the iPad Mini to its technical specs to reports from component suppliers in Asia.
This is despite the many arguments against iPad Mini that have been put forth by some tech bloggers and journalists. Personally, I am an Apple fan girl and I am among the many fans in Singapore who owns multiple Apple’s i-devices. When at home, I do my research and blogging from my Mac desktop. When I am commuting on bus or train, I turn to my iPhone for news reading and Zombie farming. When I am hanging out in Cafe, I’d take out my iPad for eBook reading and online ‘window shopping’. When it is time to dim down the lights, I’d turn on my iPod nano for some classical music. Have you lost count on how many i-devices I own? 5 to be exact.
When I’m asked about the imminent iPad Mini launch, somehow I have a mixed feeling on this one. I do not know where the iPad Mini is going to fit into my use cases. I figured that I’ve got almost all my routines covered with the 5 i-devices that I own. I figured that many Apple fans worldwide are in similar situation like myself.
I’m anticipating tomorrow’s event with healthy dose of skepticism as I am still not convinced that adding iPad Junior to the iPad family is the right thing to do and there seems to be no room for the Junior to exist without cannibalizing one of its sibling.
According to the rumor mills, iPad 2 is going to be the sacrificial lamb here. The reason is simple. Tim Cook, best known as operation and supply chain maestro, would want to keep his inventory structure slim with minimal number of product SKUs as possible. After all, that is how Apple has built its Billion dollar of retail empire. And even with the current lines of product, Apple is reportedly facing huge challenges on numerous front. First, the China’s FoxConn factory has been squeezed out tight. Looking from the current situation, Apple has not been able to produce fast enough to meet the iPhone 5 demand. In Singapore alone, SingTel has totally ran out of the iPhone 5 in all its stores. This has created a thriving secondary market for iPhone 5 in Singapore. My last check with WhyMobile, a BNIB iPhone is now up for grab for S$1,300. Compared that to the official retail price of S$948 and you know how the law of supply and demand applies here.
With production capacity probably at the verge of breaking down, can Apple still produce 10 Million iPad Mini to meet the demands as projected by many financial analysts? What is the point of producing another device if they are still not able to fully serve the high demands from their current product?
The other thing that I am still not convinced is how a 7.85inch iPad can deliver the kind of extraordinary user experience that has been the hallmark of any Apple’s device. I agree with Pete from Mashable on his ‘Folly of Seven‘. Pete reminded us what Steve Jobs said when he introduced iPad to the world:
When Jobs unveiled the original iPad, he began by explaining that any device aiming to fill the gap between smartphones and laptops needed to be better at some key abilities: browsing the web, reading and writing email, reading ebooks and watching videos among them. He famously brought up netbooks, immediately dismissing them as inferior for in all those respects.
I personally believe that Apple has to kill one of its own product to make room for the iPad Junior. Whether it will be called ‘iPad Nano’, ‘iPad Air’, or simply ‘iPad Mini’, we will get to find out tomorrow. My question remains, if Apple iPad Mini is announced tomorrow, what will happen to iPad 2? iPad 2 may be an aging member of the iPad family, but the world still loves it. Particularly for those who seek practicality and are not bothered by the Retina display, iPad 2 serves them well and fine.
Will iPad 2 make way for iPad Mini?