Dec, 05 2012

Apple has just announced the new iPad Mini, a smaller 7.9-inch iPad priced starting at $329 for the lowest WiFi model. Of course, with a more affordable iPad there is only one question to be answered – will it beat the Android competition?

Like all other Apple products there is no doubt this little guy will sell, and probably sell unlike any other iPad to date. It is Apple, after all, and people will go for the brand, but is it really a better deal? Apple is getting very competitive and has decided to compare the iPad Mini to the Nexus 7 in its own keynote announcement, but let’s jump in and see it from an objective point of view.

After selling 100 million iPads since the line’s debut in 2010, the iPad mini walks in sporting a 7.9 inch IPS display with 1024×768 resolution, Apple’s A5 processor, 16-64GB of internal storage, and more. It may not be as affordable as the almighty Nexus 7, but it has its lures. It is very thin and portable at 7.2 mm thick and 308 grams light, and will offer the speed and smoothness from iOS 6. But let’s take a look at more of the main key differences:

As you can see from the chart above, the iPad Mini is no bad contender, but it is lacking a few things. An obvious one is NFC. Apple’s known to take the wait and see approach so we weren’t necessarily surprised to see it absent as it was in the iPhone 5. It has the same resolution as the iPad 2 (1024×768), but that is not quite Retina Display. Heck, it’s not even quite HD ala the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7. You’re getting higher pixel density over the iPad 2, of course, but it won’t best the Nexus 7.

It also boasts 10 hours of battery life (the Nexus 7 doesn’t do bad at all in this category) and a 5 megapixel iSight HD camera with a front-facing FaceTime camera opposed to the Nexus 7’s 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera.

Compared to its big brother iPad, which is now in its 4th generation with an HD FaceTime camera and an A6X processor, it doesn’t seem to be much more than a smaller version without as fast of a processor. But Apple’s looking to attack a sector of the market that they feel the Nexus 7 and even Amazon’s Kindle Fire simply won’t be able to match them in.

You see, the Apple brand will always be the Apple brand. People will forever be enthralled by its products no matter what you say, and even at a starting price of $500 the iPad has dominated the market. Imagine those folks who’ve always wanted an iPad but the tablet was just too rich for their blood — suddenly things get a little worrisome for Google and Amazon, don’t they?

Paying $329 instead of $500 to be able to say you have an iPad will be huge for many people, and the can of worms Apple’s opened up might just be the hardest outbreak to contain in the tablet space yet.

We’re not saying the sky is falling below the point of no return, but Apple will no doubt be able to secure a huge chunk of market share with this device, and it’s going to be much harder for the competition to win it back than it was for smartphones.

Did Apple ruin the chances of any OEMs reaching mainstream success in the tablet market or do you think there’s still a chance for the likes of Samsung, Amazon, and Google’s Nexus line to band together and take down the army that has become this coalition of iPads? Be sure to leave a vote in the poll and make your way to the comments section for further healthy discussion!

Edgar Cervantes and Christopher Chavez contributed to this article.

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