iPad 4 Overshadows Mini Conversation

By Lori Castle, Editor in Chief — October 24, 2012

Tim Cook must have read the Mobile Enterprise headline last month that started with, “Apple Ignores the Enterprise,” because he specifically called out businesses in the Oct. 23 press conference where a new line of Mac books, iMacs and tablets were unveiled.

Cook opened his keynote with the figure: “I am thrilled to tell you that two weeks ago we sold our 100 millionth iPad.” This is admittedly impressive since the device has only been on the market for just over two years. He called it: “unprecedented for a new product, in a new category.”

Much of what Cook laid out when talking about all of Apple’s offerings seemed to allude to the perceived competition’s offerings like ebooks, desktops and laptops. The references became more blatant in the conversation and presentation about tablets.

Cook started out as if dismayed, and said that it seems like every day there is another tablet device shipping. Pause. Bring up pie chart. “The iPad accounts for over 91% of the web traffic from tablets,” he revealed.

Why is it so successful? Cook said, “It’s simple — because people love their iPads.” He went on to speak about the beautiful screen resolution and functionality, but it’s interesting to watch the CEO of one of the most successful technology companies in history, not being able to put his finger on the appeal.

Enter the Enterprise
Apple doesn’t overtly market to business. The Apple website does have a business section, but it’s not on the homepage as with most hardware makers. You will hardly ever see business specific advertising, and despite the overtaking of business by Apple devices through employees, he never mentioned business in the iPhone 5 discussion.

But Tuesday was different. Cook began the discussion of tablets by saying, "We are taking the business market by storm; in the office, in the field — in places you would never dream of seeing a PC, iPad is showing up more and more, and doing more and more things.”

Then came, another impressive stat: 94% of the Fortune 500 is testing or deploying the iPad according to Cook, and the company is seeing similar success in smaller businesses as well.  

Mini Drama
The long-rumored, iPad mini officially debuted to applause and a dramatic image as the iPad on the big screen revolved to reveal the mini attached to its back in its shadow.

In a slap to the competition, the mini was compared, side by side, without their housings, to the latest Android tablet, illustrating the actual proportions of the screen. Apple clearly won for larger share. There was little other surprise in appearance because the mini looks much like leaked photos and insider predictions.

What was surprising, however, was that the size and price were not as small as predicted. The iPad mini is actually 7.9 inches (as opposed to the forecasted 7) and costs $329. It had been expected to come in under $300 to compete with Google’s Nexus and Kindle Fire etc.

There’s no doubt that it’s cool and people will want it because, as Cook says, they love their iPads. It is as thin as a pencil and weighs as much as a pad of paper. Nonetheless, most analysts and tech insiders seemed let down and the street was somewhat disappointed. The pricing does not position it as a highly- affordable buy in the category. All the specs can be found here.

4th Gen iPad

The iPad 4 was also introduced and touted as a “real powerhouse.” This was a big surprise to those covering the industry, and the conversation in the gadget world after the Apple event focused on this development even more than the mini.

The device doubles graphic display, speed and performance. The last iPad was released only six months ago, so many commentators seemed equally annoyed and impressed with this announcement.

The admiration came from the element of surprise and the speed of which Apple advanced the iPad to an even better (who imagined) product. The irritation stemmed from the speed of which Apple advanced the iPad to an even better (who imagined) product.

Apple customers do expect to upgrade annually. It’s part of being in the cult. But the critics say this speed of development could be too much even for Appleheads and the company may be cannibalizing its own market share.

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