Some new numbers are out (Strategy Analytics) which got me thinking.
iPad shipments are down quarter to quarter and year to year for Q2. Which really means absolutely nothing because at this time in 2012 the short lived 3rd gen iPad was only 4 months old and the iPad mini and surprise 4th gen iPad were still 3 months off. So the Apple number really can’t be compared.
Interestingly, Apple believes that the iPad mini will out sell its larger brother by over 1.6 times in 2013. (appleinsider). Its has been stated a lot (iMore) that for reasons of size, weight, battery life the iPad mini couldn’t go retina at the end of 2012. So the mini is non-retina 163ppi, 310g, 7.1mm thick, 9-10 hour battery, and a price tag $329-$529.
Then enter the 2013 Nexus 7. A 7 inch tablet, with 323ppi, 290g, 8.65mm thick, a reported 9-10 hour battery life, and a price tag of $229 or $269. New and shiny.
Now here’s where it gets really interesting. Apple is rumored to not refresh the iPad mini this year, the source is Digitimes so that make it rather unreliable. Still the rumor is out there. IF there is no refresh Apple misses the all important holiday season, but more importantly they will also miss out on the mindshare of all the people wanting to buy their first tablets for christmas. When presented with the option of new, shiny, fancy and cheaper tablet, vs a 1+year old, shiny, fancy and $100 more expensive tablet Apple is going to lose that fight. These people are not early adopters, they aren’t techy people, they are not going to be swayed by the fruit logo.
That scenario doesn’t seem very Apple like to me. They don’t have lapses that cause the loss of a holiday season. They have something up their sleeves. I think that Apple has a plan, but I don’t think it involves a new Retina iPad mini for christmas. It might be a price drop, it might be a cheaper version of the mini, it could be colors, or any number of things. Will it be enough to overcome the growing sales and mindshare of Android tablets? I guess we’ll find out in 2014.