Apple trashes Google's star tablet

The company took the unusual step of comparing its new iPad Mini with tablets from rivals in its announcement Tuesday.

By Kim Peterson Oct 23, 2012 3:55PM
How worried is Apple (AAPL) about the competition? Plenty.

The company knows that tablets based on Google's (GOOG) Android platform are compelling. They're pretty darn affordable, too, especially when compared with the $499 iPad and even the $329 iPad Mini announced Tuesday.

So in a rare acknowledgement of a competitive threat, Apple featured Google's Nexus 7 Android tablet on stage in its iPad Mini presentation -- and then proceeded to assault the tablet as inferior in every way.
"Others have tried to make tablets smaller than the iPad," marketing chief Phil Schiller said at the event in San Jose, Calif. "And they've failed miserably."

Schiller focused on the screen size of both tablets, pointing out that the way the iPad Mini was designed -- with fewer buttons and no black edging around the screen -- gave the Mini a 35% larger display area. For Web surfing alone, he said, the Mini's display area is 50% larger in its portrait configuration and 67% larger in its landscape configuration.Credit: 2012 Apple Inc
Caption: iPadMini

"There is a gigantic difference between these products," he said. One area he did not choose to highlight, however, was maps -- a good idea given the hubbub over Apple's inferior maps on the new iPhone 5.

The side-by-side comparison shows that Apple is clearly aware of the threat that smaller, cheaper tablets present. The Nexus 7 has won critical praise, and it starts at only $199. The new Kindle Fire HD tablet from Amazon (AMZN) also starts at $199, and more than 1,300 customer reviews on Amazon's site give the tablet an average rating of four out of five stars.

"It was kind of remarkable to see Apple taking what some would call the 'low road,' and actually comparing their product to that of the competition in such unkind terms," wrote TechCrunch's Sarah Perez. "It's the first time that Apple has really taken the trash-talking to this level -- at least in recent years."

So does the iPad Mini have what it takes to beat back the competition? Apple certainly did a nice job with the device. It's about as thin as a pencil and weighs .68 pounds, or about as much as a pad of paper, the company said.

Its screen measures 7.9 inches diagonally, larger than the 7-inch tablets from Google and Amazon. It comes with a 5-megapixel camera and has about 10 hours of battery life. It's a well-designed, good-looking product.

But Apple boldly decided to give it a $329 starting price for 16GB of storage space -- a full $130 more than the 16GB Kindle Fire from Amazon and $80 more than the 16GB Google Nexus 7.

Will tablet buyers pony up the extra cash for an iPad Mini? Apple's already got a huge start on the competition. It has sold 100 million iPads in two-and-a-half years. It sold more iPads in the second quarter of this year than any PCs sold by any computer manufacturer.

"We know we are just getting started," CEO Tim Cook said in Tuesday's presentation, adding later that "we're not taking our foot off the gas."

Investors might need a little more convincing. Apple shares dropped more than 3% in afternoon trading Tuesday to $613.80. Google shares were up less than 1% to $680.89, and Amazon shares rose less than 1% to $235.03.

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9Comments
Oct 23, 2012 5:08PM
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I was intending on buying the iPad mini until I heard its specs and price. There is only two things the iPad mini has on the Nexus 7 and that is a 0.9" larger screen and 32 grams less in weight. Aside from that, all the specs look in favor of the Nexus 7.
Better overall screen (iPad mini has 163ppi, Nexus 7 has 216ppi)
Better processor (iPad mini has a dual core A5 processor, Nexus 7 has a quad core nVidia processor)
Better battery performance (iPad mini has an estimated 10 hour batter life, the Nexus 7 has a tested 10 hour battery life....while playing video!)
Better price (iPad mini starts at $330 for 16GB. Nexus 7 has an 8GB model for $200 and a 16GB model for $250. Rumor has it that the 8GB is about to be dropped and the 16GB will be priced at $200 while a 32GB one will be released at $250).
Comparing Apples to apples (no pun intended), the iPad mini seems kinda like a "me too" product priced at a premium with nothing special to offer aside from an Apple logo on the back.
 
Oct 23, 2012 4:34PM
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Apple iPad mini only has one problem, it's overpriced at $330 by about 40%. However, the Apple logo has proven to be worth about $130 on other products so maybe the suckers will buy it again. 
Oct 23, 2012 5:09PM
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I have windows, droid, and apple products.  This iPad mini is way over priced, no go for me!
Oct 23, 2012 4:58PM
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As long as Apple has its hard core fans, no matter whatever the price is, people still go and buy it. But atleast now it should make people think when there is a tablet in market which is doing better and the mini ones are priced 40% more

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I will stay with the Kindle ... I will upgrade to the Kindle Fire HD.  This is one fine piece of equipment.
Oct 23, 2012 6:01PM
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It seems people are either Apple users or non-Apple users, and never the twain shall meet.
Oct 23, 2012 5:41PM
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Seems like most I know will pony up for the extra given it is an apple product.  They trust them and  they all seem to feel the get a better product from Apple.
Oct 24, 2012 11:36AM
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There is room for both...but apple icloud is better right now. Stay with the leader not 2nd best...ie

 

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For War against War, for women against women, for middleclass against middleclass, for coal against coal, for medical reform against medical reform.

A real shape shifter, a chameleon. America wake up to this guy he been an opportunist all his life !

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