Most coverage that we’ve seen of the rumored iPad mini notes that it won’t have a Retina Display. There is, however, a counterargument. Clearly, Apple has been on a Retina tear (although hopefully without any actual torn retinae) as it has become a defining and increasingly anticipated feature crossing many product lines: MacBook, iPhone and iPod. If Apple was willing to put a Retina Display on the iPod touch, why wouldn’t it put one on the iPad mini? The technology is clearly available. The display on the imminent Barnes & Noble Nook HD is Retina-sharp. Adding credence to this is rumors that the iPad mini may start at $329, which would be relatively high for the sub-8″ tablet category even given that Apple is profitable (and quite) on hardware. Pulling off a Retina Display iPad mini at $299 would be a coup.
Like Apple, Amazon’s standing as a successful retailer has allowed it to drive the Kindle business beyond those of any other Android-based tablet maker. Both companies have succeeded in part because of their focus on the end-user or customer. The introduction of Whispercast, however, throws a wrinkle into that. This is the first “Whisper”-branded technology that caters to the needs of institutions, priming the pump for large-volume purchases.
It may also signal a continued move away from ads that are not enterprise-friendly; Amazon greatly reduced the price to remove ads in its latest round of Kindles. The move is timed well to take advantage of the larger, higher-end Kindle Fires on the way that can do a better job of displaying documents and other rich media as wel as the lower-end Kindle Paperwhites that are lean, mean text-reading machines. It also helps to shore up Amazon’s defenses now that its main competitor is partnering with enterprise software giant Microsoft, but also to further differentiate it from the signage-class e-readers that may soon start to aggregate in that unforgiving pool known as “the bottom.”