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iPad Mini: Apple’s Most Manipulative and Insulting Launch Ever

24 October 201221 comments Android, inneractive, iPhone, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Industry

By: Hillel Fuld (@hilzfuld)

Well, the iPad Mini is out and as I wrote yesterday, secrecy is no longer an option. There were close to no surprises at all when it came to the announcement. But that is ok, although I am sure Apple doesn’t love it.

As opposed to previous Apple announcements, I did not tune in to the live feed (video in this case), the Twitter feed, or the live blogs. I was able, for the first time in a long time, to examine the facts objectively. My conclusion: Apple thinks we are all very very dumb.

Let me just preface my argument here by saying that the title originally had the word “Disappointing” in it, but I removed it because of two things:

  1. It has become cliché that bloggers write how every Apple announcement is a disappointment so I controlled myself.
  2. Like all those other products that were “disappointing”, the iPad Mini WILL sell like hotcakes. Why? Because Apple is right, we are all dumb.

So let me explain where I am coming from. How did Jony Ive put it? ‘iPad Mini Is a ‘Concentration Not a Reduction.” If that is not a manipulative statement, I don’t know what is. That is like saying a hundred dollars is not a reduction of a million bucks, it’s just dollars concentrated. Are you serious, Apple? That statement is the first manipulative part of this product launch.

The iPad Mini is, no matter how you look at it, a stripped down version of the iPad. Lower resolution display (yes, on a smaller screen so it looks ok), a slower and older processor (now two generations old), at a price that makes zero sense.

This is what Apple should have said. “We have reduced the iPad into a smaller device optimized for portability and one hand use, which includes long battery life, a stunning display optimized for the smaller screen (but if a small screen doesn’t need Retina, how do you explain Retina on iPhone and iPod Touch?), and it is priced accordingly. You can buy the iPad Mini for $199 ($249 would have been forgivable).” But $329? Are you kidding me?

As I read the summary of the iPad Mini announcement, my initial reaction was this:

After I tweeted that, Apple fanboys attacked. “How is it stripped down? Android tablets stink compared to this device!” Or “What other tablet has 7.9″ displays as opposed to just 7″?” Or “What other tablet has a 64GB version?” Along with many more completely irrelevant and misleading questions.

Fine, I’ll take the bait. Forget the fact that it is a stripped down iPad, you want to compare it to the competition in the Android camp? Let’s do that, shall we?

The two most important things in any mobile device, ecosystem aside, are the performance and the display. So let’s take the Nexus 7, the tablet that Apple so subtly (sarcasm there) included in its presentation of the iPad Mini. Yes, the bezel is bigger and the screen is smaller. Wonderful. It also has the same battery life as the iPad Mini, a quad core processor, as opposed to the iPad Mini’s dual core and a 1280×800 screen resolution as opposed to the Mini’s 1024×768. But but the Mini is so thin and light! Manipulation number two.

Take a look at the iPad Mini against the competition below.

iPad Mini
The iPad mini vs the competition fight!
Nexus 7The iPad mini vs the competition fight! 7-Inch Kindle Fire HDThe iPad mini vs the competition fight! Nook HDThe iPad mini vs the competition fight!


OS iOS 6.0 Android 4.1 Android 4.0 Android 4.0
Display 7.9-inch
LED-backlit IPS, 163 PPI
IPS display, 216 PPI
7-inch LCD IPS, 216 PPI 7-inch LCD IPS, 243 PPI
Resolution 1,024 x 768 1,280 x 800 1,280 x 800 1,440 x 900
Processor Dual-core A5 1.2GHz quad-core
NVIDIA Tegra 3
Dual-core 1.2GHz TI OMAP4 4460 Dual-Core 1.3GHz TI OMAP 4470
Memory 512MB (unc) 1GB 1GB 1GB
Storage 16GB / 32GB /64GB 8GB / 16GB 16GB / 32GB 8GB / 16GB + microSD
Ports Lightning connector, 3.5mm audio micro USB,
3.5mm audio
microSD, micro HDMI, 3.5mm audio 30-pin connector,
3.5mm audio
Front camera FaceTime HD 1.2-megapixel HD None
Rear camera 5-megapixel
1080p video
None None None
Cellular radio Optional LTE None None None
WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0 3.0 3.0 3.0
Accelerometer Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gyroscope Yes Yes Yes Yes
Battery 10 hours 4,325mAh 4,400mAh 4,050mAh
Thickness 7.2mm 10.45mm 10.3mm 11mm
Weight 308g
(0.68 pounds)
(0.75 pounds)
(0.87 pounds)
(0.69 pounds)
Pricing $329 (16GB WiFi)
$459 (16GB LTE)
$429 (32GB)
$559 (32GB LTE)
$519 (64GB)
$659 (64GB LTE)
$199 (8GB)
$249 (16GB)
$199 (16GB)
$249 (32GB)(w/special offers)
$199 (8GB)
$229 (16GB)
Availability November 2nd
(WiFi version)
Available now Available Now Available now

The bottom line is this. As I tweeted, Apple had two reasonable options with the iPad Mini. It could have played the price game and gone head to head with Android by stripping out the Retina display, the A6 processor and other things in order to charge less and offer users an alternative to the Nexus 7. Or it could have introduced a truly different product with unique advantages and charged accordingly. Let’s say something along the lines of $329.

Instead what Apple ended up doing was offering a smaller and inferior product to the full blown iPad AND to the Android competitors, but forgot to reduce the price along with the product.

So how did it get passed this blatant disadvantage? Simple. Cheap marketing. Bring the Nexus on stage, compare the bezel size and the way three apps look on the two devices. What do the way apps that are not optimized for the Nexus have to do with the device or Android as a whole? Nothing. Apple has many apps that are not optimized for iPad and need to be scaled up. But does that matter? Nope, after all, Apple’s goal in the iPad Mini launch was to hypnotize and manipulate the crowd.

Did they succeed?

Does Apple ever fail at marketing their products to the point that people are blind to the facts? It is what they do best.

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.
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  1. rababk October 24, 2012

    Ugh. I hear ya. I'm glad I didn't wait for the iPad mini to be released. You're right about the number of disappointments getting higher each time there's an Apple product launched and even longer line of potential buyers. Connection? Are we getting dumber by the day?

    Also, whatever happened to upholding Jobs' vehement opposition to small iPads?

  2. Flaneur October 24, 2012

    Thought something similar about the iphone 5. Apple will suddenly find its sales dropping as consumers wise up to the manipulation.

  3. @undefined October 24, 2012

    Spot on – in the past Apple have been able to claim the premium they charge results in a better device. This was marginal at best with the iPhone5 but, in the case of the iPad mini, there is no way it can be considered a premium device compared with the Kindle Fire HD or Nexus 7. And bringing the latter on stage was a break with Apple tradition (which is to ignore competitors) and a sign of desperation.

  4. Richard October 24, 2012

    I pondered for a while over waiting for the iPad mini or buying a Nexus 7. I'm glad I didn't wait and got the Nexus 7.

    The price point is perfect for 7" device and you know what I actually tend to use my Nexus PORTRAIT when viewing web pages so technically I see more of the page than with an iPad mini.

    Oh by the way I've owned every iPhone up until (incl) iPhone 4s and the first 2 generations of iPad.

    I've got bored of new case, same iOS with barely any changes.

  5. steevo October 24, 2012

    Glad that you wrote this piece – its a good perspective, and you raise some good points. I don’t entirely agree with you though.
    I don’t think Apple try to manipulate – I DO think they try to romanticise.

    I think they got that price-point wrong. Even $299 would have been more tempting, and it will make people think about what they really want.
    I like what I see of the iPad mini so far. And i like the Nexus 7 too.
    Haven’t touched or used either.
    Like many other people who seem to have expert opinions on them… Strange.
    I happily have Apple stuff and an Android phone. I dont rave about one and hate the other. Everything works for me nicely thankyou very much.
    I do expect to see better Android tablet hardware in the future – matched with decent OS advances. I’m going to look very seriously at the iPad mini too. Not in a dumb way.

  6. @undefined October 24, 2012

    If Apple got their iPad strategy right remains to be seen. And yes, it is an iPad strategy and not just about the iPad Mini. This launch is about protecting the overall tablet marketshare, where the iPad Mini is primary there to dilute the smaller tablet category, confusing end users, and protecting the sales of the more profitable standard iPad. Hence Apple has not made it 7-inch, but 7.9-inch, and making it slightly more expensive. They have made it different enough to confuse customers about what screensize they should get. Get them to ask the quiestion; is 7-inch screen enough?

    The ball is now back in the Android/Windows 8 side of the court. Lets see what response they come back with.

  7. Ryan October 24, 2012

    Wel,, while I agree with some of the opinions of the article, there is one point that was neglected to be made:

    Does the device do what YOU, as the end customer, what or need it to do at a price point you're willing to pay?

    I have a Nexus 7 that my kids call the "Playskool Tablet" because of the cheap quality of the build materials. As they say, you get what you pay for. I have found, in the case of media, that the Google Play market is severely gimped in comparison to iTunes. With no music artists from Warner Bros Records like Metallica, Van Halen, Disturbed, Korn, etc or Warner Bros movies like LotR, Harry Potter or The Matrix the value of my Nexus 7 is much less by comparison to my ipad, even though it cost less.

    This "value", of course, is highly subjective as people have different needs, wants, requirements in the devices they purchase.

    For me, the iPad mini would be a great value. As I am invested in the iTunes Store and have been quite happy with it, I, for certain, would appreciate the value of a smaller lightweight designed ipad. I originally bought the Nexus 7 with this purpose in mind, but found the trade off, in my case, to not be worth the price I paid for it. The Nexus 7 has been repurposed as just a test/beater device.

  8. james dean October 24, 2012

    macbook pro vs macbook air.

    you’re missing the point, bro.

    with apple, style IS the substance

  9. Mark October 24, 2012

    You could have written this post on Monday. On Monday, the lowest end iPad had a non-retina display, was 8.8mm thick, had rudimentary cameras, had no LTE, and no dual-band WiFi. And it sold for $399!

    On Tuesday, the lowest end iPad has no retina display, is 7.2mm thick, is smaller with a 1.8" smaller display, has better cameras, capability for LTE, and a dual-band WiFi. And it sells for $329.

    I think Apple adequately explained why they chose the display they did for the iPad mini. There are not many choices they can make while keeping the ecosystem as clean as it is. The ideal display size would have been 1536×1152 or so. But the only good choices were 1024×768 or 2048×1536 to enable apps to run without adding all new screen images and rebuilding AND having the app store maintain yet another group of apps for the new device. I would have preferred the 2048×1536, but that would have made the device substantially more expensive. So, had they chose the middle choice, people would complain about app fragmentation based on supported display size, and if they chose the retina display, people would complain about the price. Either way, a problem.

    That said, if I can help it, I won't be buying ANYTHING without a retina display in the future. My eyes prefer the retina display, so far I have the retina display on my iPhone 4 which is great, and I have the retina display on my MacBook Pro which is superb. I even want a retina display for my next external monitor (but I doubt that will happen anytime soon because it would require about 6000×4000 for a 24 inch monitor!). I won't be buying the iPad mini, not at $329, and not at $249, and not at $199.

  10. Alvaro October 25, 2012

    Hi Hillel: I definitely agree with you and many others in that Apple could have easily charged less for the iPad mini, as we will surely find out once the device is released, torn apart an the cost of its parts calculated.

    However, while I like all kinds of commentary, it is really hard for me to read and swallow it when it is both hateful and most of all, misinformed. You clearly and purposely tweak certain facts to suit your argument. Examples: You say that the argument of J. Ive of the iPad mini being a concentration and not a reduction is manipulative because the iPad mini (among other things) does not have a retina display and sports older processors. Yet at no moment during the conference Apple said the iPad mini was a smaller iPad 3, what it said CLEARLY and more than once is that it was a reduction of the iPad 2. But you didn't bother watching the event of course, but still you write an opinion piece knowing that you lack all the facts. Another example: At no point you mention anything about the many uses of the iPad mini. Education market and countries with people with smaller hands come to mind here. Some people actually want a smaller iPad, and if you offer them a small iPad 2 that even in some aspects is better than the large one (Siri and better cameras) but at a cheaper price, then you got plenty of happy customers, which you don't hesitate to call "dumb".

    Then you write about the screen and performance as being the most important parts of a tablet, yet you make the same mistake thousands of tech people makes: You compare screen resolution and processing power. Retina displays are amazing, but the iPad mini screen is far more than decent to look upon. On top of that, as Apple showed in the event, by adding just 0.9 inches to its screen and using the same 4:3 ratio, the iPad mini offers 35% and 60%+ of viewing area both vertically and horizontally. It's all about the experience, which I feel you completely miss. As for processing power, you say the Nexus 7 has double the cores than the iPad mini, yet you fail to mention that the N7 NEEDS all those cores to be able to run as smoothly as the iPad. Hardware and software integration have always been a strength of Apple, and this advantage is pretty obvious when you compare it with sluggish Android devices. Again, it is all about the experience. A lot of Apple fans (I have always found the use of the word "fanboy" deprecative) will of course buy Apple products regardless of price and specs, but millions of regular people are not "dumb", they actually can tell when a product offers great experience.

    All of that without even mentioning that the iPad mini will be "updateable" for at least a couple of years as all iOS devices are, whereas the Nexus 7…. we will se about that. Again, better experience.

    Then we have the price, which even if I would have liked it to be lower, is still not prohibitive for the quality of the device and the experience its apps offer. Also, in a year or 18 months from now, Apple will release the iPad mini retina and the current iPad mini will sell for at least a $100 less, completely eliminating the price umbrella that still exists now. And of course, there is always the fact that Apple is the brand behind the most successful tablet in the worldwide market, with nothing coming even close to it in experience and design, so they can afford to charge a premium price if they want to.

    You as many others, have always framed Apple's success as simply "good marketing", yet you, me and millions of people know that marketing can only take you so far if you really don't deliver on your words. If marketing were the key to Apple's success, companies with big budgets like Sony would not be floundering and most certainly all major oil companies would not be among the top 10 most valuable in the world as they are right?

    For now, critics will keep whining and saying words like "processor", "dumb" and "fanboys" all the while complaining at the brand and devices they would love if they could afford to buy. In the meantime, the entire world will move on and keep adopting technologies like the iPad that are easy to use and deliver better experiences.

    • TJJJ October 29, 2012

      Didn't know a "Decent" screen cut it these days.

      Also didn't know you had access to the ipad mini to know that a dual core would allow it to run so smoothly.

      You dispute the fact Apple's success is solely based on good marketing– answer me this.. where's the innovation Apple's known for with the iphone 5 and the ipad mini? What's different? NOTHING. There's nothing special about the products other than the brand name (Hence, dumb mindless Apple fan boys continue to buy their products.) You can keep shooting that b.s. from your mouth about apple always delivers and they will have updates.. but what relevance is that to a product that's coming out right now?

      You can argue it whichever way you want. Their success is based solely on good marketing. The innovation they had with their early iPods, iTouchs, and iPhones that made their products must-haves is minimal in their current products. That's something you can't argue (particularly when you claim decent screens cut it.)

  11. sdf October 26, 2012

    I could care less about google, ms or apple, but your "article" tells me you're a hack troll piece of shit.

  12. That Guy October 28, 2012

    Your style of writing leads one to assume that you have never taken an actual writing class in your life. Even if your article did have any substance or valuable points to bring up, which it does not, the article would still remain almost impossible to get through. This seems like something a sixth grader has written, what with its numerous fallacies and poor use of sarcasm (you're not supposed to point it out by the way), not to mention its poor structure, like the expertly thought out sentence, "That statement is the first manipulative part of this product launch." There's absolutely no transition in this writing. If this article had been the least bit thought out, it might have actually been tolerable to read.

  13. @undefined October 29, 2012

    Why would Apple price the iPad Mini less than the iPod Touch? That would have been stupid.

  14. Frostbite October 30, 2012

    Consumers should have "wised up" ages ago. What a shoddy piece of equipment.

  15. Zamphyr November 2, 2012

    There's nothing more pathetic and amusing than watching angry Apple fanboys defending their beloved overlords. These people are such hopeless losers that they try to attach themselves to the success of a corporation. Unfortunately for them these corporations don't stay successful forever.

  16. Tony December 28, 2012

    Apple was foolish to release an iPad mini without Retina Display. Instead of marching forward with the latest technology they decided to take a step backwards. First they spoil us with Retina display and then try to present a new product with old technology , like going back to VHS after watching Bluray quality picture. I and many of my friends and relatives refuse to buy anything from Apple unless it's Retina display.

  17. benroger60 February 1, 2013

    Thank you so much for represent the awesome information about iPad Mini. Apple provide the latest technology Digital publishing. Great !

  18. Ricardo February 15, 2013

    I agree. You have to be really dumb to buy a iPad mini. Slow processor and low-resolution display for $350 whereas you can get a faster and cutting-edge Tegra 3 quad-core processor with high-resolution display for less.

  19. free ipad mini March 14, 2013

    I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I’m no longer certain whether this submit is written by means of him as nobody else understand such detailed approximately my difficulty. You are wonderful! Thank you!

  20. @basieswings March 27, 2013

    I have an iPhone 5 which I love. I will admit, it is the best phone that I have ever had and I've had many, even many smart phones dating back quite a ways, and on nearly every operating system. I have an Acer A500 and I like it but the most recent updates (which came some time ago) substantially decreased its performance. Since then, I've been eyeballing the iPad line. I cannot fathom paying the premium price that they want for the iPad mini when by all accounts it is substandard for them. I would still consider puchasing the iPad 4, or a 2nd gen iPad mini if they brought the quality up, but I agree wholeheartedly- for what it is, it's overpriced. My iphone has better specs and why carry around a tablet that's a downgrade from that?


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