Apple’s new iPad mini with Retina Display is unquestionably one of the most desirable pieces of kit Cupertino has revealed in recent weeks. And that includes it slick new iPhone 5S and stunning Mac Pro.
Users have been crying out for the smaller iPad to come packing a better resolution display and the iPad mini delivers.
With 326 pixels per inch (beating Google’s Nexus 7 by just 3 ppi) and the same 2048x1536 resolution as the new iPad Air, it promises to bring eyeball-stroking smarts to an already impressive package.
With an A7 chip and 64-bit ‘desktop class’ architecture, there’s almost every reason to believe this will every bit as much of a success as the 2012 model.
We say almost, because there’s one major caveat. That's the price.
Now, price is always an issue with some people when it comes to Apple.
The iPhone 5C feels expensive for what it is, but then Cupertino has never been shy about admitting that it’s committed to the premium end of the market.
There’s a reason it has so much cash in the bank and remains one of the world’s most valuable companies.
But at an entry-level price of £319, the new iPad mini feels absurdly expensive for what it is.
That’s up £50 from the previous model. And while we are getting a better display and a beefed up processor, it’s hard to see why users should plump for this over a Nexus 7.
The latter, while a touch smaller, has a screen that is nearly every bit as sharp (no one will really notice those three pixels) and benefits from being one of the first devices to get new Google software.
Plus there’s the very obvious plus that it only costs £199 for the cheapest version.
Apple will counter this by saying it’s offering the old iPad mini at a cheaper price. That now costs £249, a drop from £269 but still way more costly than Google’s tablet.
Apple of course will justify this in saying that it has a more stable and broader app offering, something it’s hard to argue with.
The long and short of it is that Apple wants to make money. That’s understandable; it’s a business after all.
But in the 7-inch tablet space (the larger tablet arena is a different beast), pricing is surely key.
We can’t expect Apple to offer its kit at the same price as its rivals. That’s just not how it rolls.
But surely the component parts were not so expensive that it had to price its new iPad mini so highly?
Keeping it at £269 would have made it a decent proposition and one that many would willingly have paid.
The new iPad mini will of course do well. But it’ll be instructive to see how it performs compared to last year’s model.
The tablet space is becoming increasingly competitive, maybe Apple could have been a touch more generous and ensured its position as top dog remained unassailable for that bit longer.