Tag Archives: Apple
This holiday, consumers will have at least three strong new consumer electronics products from which to choose converging around a $299 entry price — the Nintendo Wii U (basic set), the Kindle Fire HD 8.9, and the iPod touch. The other product that comes close and which may give that all a strong run for their money is the $329 iPad mini.
While these products may come with different descriptions worthy of Breakfast Club-style stereotypes — the video game, the tablet and the media player — it’s a sign of the times is that all are platforms and converged devices. The main differences are the size of the screen they address and the maturity and the strength of the ecosystems they support.
(No, this post is not about a new protective cover that wraps around Apple’s second-generation tablet ever more tightly.)
Breaking a bit with tradition at the debut of the iPad mini, Apple did not keep the previous version of the iPad 3 in the lineup with the release of the fourth-generation iPad. Instead, it eliminated the third-generation iPad and instead left the slower, second-generation (iPad 2) product in the lineup. About the only possible explanation for this was that Apple couldn’t get the price of the third-gen iPad down to the $399 price point it was seeking to address competition in the 10″ Android tablet category. Costs have also likely come down more on the iPad 2 components so that that product can now be more profitable at $399.
However, it also puts the older iPad 2 closer to the new iPad mini that shares its processor and resolution. This begs the question, what is the case for the iPad 2 given that the iPad mini is 80 percent of its size and identical in most other respects. In fact, the iPad mini’s cellular models can connect to LTE networks whereas the iPad 2 is limited to 3G.
As smartphone trends clearly show, there is a large group of consumers that will flock to the larger screen. There’s also something to be said for having a product below a pricing milestone ($350) and another below $400. But, all things being equal, and most are in this case, the iPad mini just seems a bit too close to the 10″ iPad’s price and capabilities. The lineup would have been a bit cleaner with either the iPad mini at $299 or the third-gen iPad between Apple’s latest tablets.
Yesterday’a revamping of Apple’s MacBook product line resulted in a product portfolio curiosity. Apple’s notebook lineup now varies about as much by girth as it does by screen size. MacBooks remain available in three screen sizes but the 13″ model is also available in three thicknesses — the ultrathin MacBook Air, the slim MacBook Pro with Retina Display, and the classic MacBook Pro with SuperDrive (unbranded as such). Of course, there are other differences among these models such as storage options, ports and screen resolutions. Still, the MacBook line now can be thought of as having three sub-lines: Air, Pro and Pro with Retina Display.
Making them even more like product lines, they tend to have similarities across the screen sizes. While the Air and Retina lines both lack optical drives, the former is obviously engineered for the ultimate in portability and a cloud-friendly lifestyle while the latter is for the leading-edge power user, with the non-Retina Pros playing very much in the mainstream. As Phil Schiller noted, the 13″ MacBook Pro is Apple’s best-selling notebook and seems likely to remain so after its Retina-equipped sibling.
[Apple’s] co-founder went on to point out that once upon a time Apple released software on competing platforms, such as its release of iTunes on Windows. Something has recently changed, however: As Wozniak points out, iTunes isn’t available on Android.
In fact, very little has changed, at least regarding app support for competing operating systems. iTunes has been one of the few exceptions to Apple developing software for Windows or any other non-Apple platform; Steve Jobs famously described the port as akin to “giving a glass of ice water to someone in Hell.” Who can really say what beverages apps such as those in the iWork and iLife suites would have represented to the damned? It’s a moot question as Apple never ported any of them and likely never will. iTunes was ported primarily as an interface between the iPod and the PC. Windows didn’t really need another music management program.
There is now less need to create a hedge against Internet Explorer
Safari was another app that Apple had brought to Windows, but hasn’t updated to the latest version. There is now less need to create a hedge against Internet Explorer with the ascent of Webkit-based Chrome on Windows and iOS has provided a fertile enough base for Safari to ensure developer support. The other notable Apple app for Windows is FileMaker, which is managed out of an Apple subsidiary. It’s been a successful product, but I’ve always thought that Apple kept it in-house to ensure that the Mac had a viable database client app (since Microsoft never created a Mac version of Access (or Visual FoxPro for that matter)) and to keep tabs on what life was like for a commercial Windows developer.