Last week the Nexus 7 was announced at the Google I/O convention. With its release came much excitement for the underpriced monster of a 7-inch tablet. It is expected to dominate the 7-inch market and even give the iPad a run for its money. Yet, recently there was a statement from 2 Apple “people” (remained anonymous) saying that Apple is working on an iPad mini. Not only that, Amazon is making a stand with a second generation Kindle Fire with a 10 inch version as well.
The iPad mini is supposed to be between 7 and 8 inches tall, but will not have the HD screen that the iPad has. They plan to price it aggressively to compete with Google and Amazon on their own front. This could be disastrous for the 7-inch tablets (Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire).
Apple has been the top dog of the tablet market since its release of the iPad in 2010 and it appears they intend to fight for the title. The interesting thing is that Steve Jobs famously stated repeatedly his disinterest in the smaller tablets to the point where we started to rule out the option. After his death however the CEO Tim Cook has announced that things are going to change.
Google’s plan to gain a foot hold in the tablet market was to create a device that would take over the Kindle Fire's category with advanced hardware. On top of that the underpriced quad core device is also being watched as an iPad competitor. Despite all of that, the Nexus might have trouble competing with a smaller similarly priced iPad.
Microsoft took a different approach with their tablets. The Surface is aimed to not only battle the iPad for supremacy, but to surpass it with the second version of the device that is supposed to fit into the new class of laptop PCs that are being called Ultrabooks.
Both Google and Microsoft have put a lot on the line with these devices. They risk losing partnerships with manufacturers such as Samsung by releasing their own devices and that could cost them. A failure to gain traction in the market could spell the death of these companies future in the market.
Amazon is not out of the fight yet with its newest model being released soon. The goal of Amazon is to fight for and maintain its hold on the 7-inch tablets, and gain a hold with the larger versions. Not only are they releasing a new 7-incher, but they have a 10-inch version that is running an android overlay while using the Kindle title and following to maintain the sales of digital content. This is a bold move for Amazon as they will be stepping up to bat against the Apple, Google, and Microsoft.
Apple expects to come out victorious on this front as the latest iPad has a 37% profit on every sale.Compared to the Nexus 7 that has an almost nonexistent profit and the Kindle Fire loses money on every sale. Apple expects that they will be able to reduce the size and down grade the screen on the iPad mini without sacrificing thier profit margin. It seems Apple feels they can still charge 50 to 100 dollars more than their competitors and still maintain sales.
Could this all be to the folly of Apple? Could making a 7.8-inch iPad dilute and damage what an iPad is? The biggest problem is that developers for Apple have been working within specific dimensions. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to just decrease the size, yet it very well may be a very large issue for Apples app developers. A 7-inch tablet was viewed as inferior by Jobs stating that there is overall less room with such a smaller screen and the only gain is portability. The claim is that the overall experience of a 10-inch tab will beat out 7-inch tablets making them “dead on arrival” and inferior.
Who will win this Battle of the Tabs? Was Jobs right in his judgments against products other than the famed 10 inch iPad? Could Amazon or Google be the next big tab giant with their new devices? The future holds the answers and it will be very exciting to see how this all turns out. Apple’s plan to still make their product more expensive and rely on their brand could be a mistake just like the move into the mini tablet world. Amazon could be biting off more than they can chew. The fact is that everyone has a need and every tablet is a bit different, we don’t all need the same thing and it is really any bodies game.