The iPad’s younger sibling is at the center of the latest Apple gossips kicking around the blogosphere, which scuttle the gamut from “yes!” to “say it ain’t so.” A Retina display? Of course. Apple have to contend with Google’s spiffy new-fangled Nexus 7. Candy colored casings? That’s a much tougher call. Rumors of bright — or unhealthy colored contemptible iPhones abound, but are the iPad mini prepared to astound lime?
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The toggle to Apple’s famous Retina screen — reported by The Wall Street Journal, which cited “people well-known with the matter” — will transport the next-gen mini in line with the company’s other iOS products.
This isn’t the first hint that Apple may be adding up more color to its iOS line. A mid-tier priced iPhone also may have a numeral of color alternatives.
This most up-to-date bit iPad mini speculation comes on the heels of Google’s preamble of its latest Android Nexus 7 tablet, which has a 7-inch screen that supports 1080p HDTV video and has a compactness of 323 pixels per inch. That’s still subordinate than a Retina display’s 364 ppi but higher than the existing mini’s 264 ppi.
Keeping Up With the Googles
Market pressures may be influencing Apple’s present decisions for the next iPad mini.
“Apple’s doing this to stay up to the competition,” Ken Dulaney, vice president for mobile computing with Gartner, told MacNewsworld. “It’s almost a necessity.”
As the latest Nexus 7 shows, mini headhunters can use the tablet’s display as a way to boost the stock of their slates over Apple’s.
“It’s a hardware area where competitors have an opportunity to differentiate their product,” Charles Golvin, a principal analyst with Forrester Research, told MacNewsWorld.
“Screen depth and screen quality is something that has a noticeable impact on customer experience,” he said. “It’s a place where competition is progressing, and Apple has to be there.”
Even with a Retina display, the mini is facing some tough sledding as competitors bring better displays to market.
“Any competitive segregation that would have been apparent for the iPad is diminishing,” Jeff Orr, senior carry out director for mobile devices with ABI Research, told MacNewsWorld.
Eschewing a Retina display in the next mini could hurt the device’s competitiveness in the market.
“It’s a question of not losing impending customers because Apple may be seen as deficient in regards to display quality,” Orr noted.
If Apple were to set up a mini with Retina display, it likely would retain the existing unit and sell it at a lower price point — somewhere in the US$249 to $299 range — as it has done with the iPhone and iPad.
“It would sneak a cheaper iPad into the market,” Carl Howe, research director for the Yankee Group, told MacNewsWorld.
Maintaining the current price of the Mini — $329 — is important to keep the device competitive, contended Gartner’s Dulaney.
“If they jack up the price, it would not be a good move by Apple,” he said.
“The Android devices that are well under the price of Apple’s products are very good,” he continued. “They’d be giving more market share to Android.”
Beyond Primary Colors
Will the new mini need more colors to sell it?
“I don’t think that’s in Apple’s vision,” Orr opined. “I think that the original iMac was the last time we saw the Life Savers roll of fruit colors in a product offering.”
“From a design perspective,” he continued, “it likes black and white, and I think that’s where the company wants to stay.”
Mini users looking to add color to their units can do it by buying a case from one of the many makers of those add-ons for Apple devices.
“Apple is quite fine leaving color choices to the aftermarket,” Orr observed.
If color is in the mini’s future, it’s unlikely to happen in the next iteration of the product, Forrester’s Golvin said.
Apple tends to introduce colors at a point in a product’s evolution when competitors have caught up to it.
“Apple then uses color as a further way to expand customization and differentiation,” Golvin explained. “I’m not sure that we’re there yet in tablets.”