Is Apple becoming predictable? These days when we watch an Apple keynote it feels a bit like we’re already seen the script. Weeks, in fact months, of rumours meant that we knew that Apple was about to unveil a mini iPad.
We also fully expected the company to update the original-sized iPad.
We were also fairly confident that Apple would update the iMac. It’s been over a year since the last update to the all-in-one Mac, it was getting embarrassing.
The 13in MacBook with Retina display had also been rumoured ever since the 15in model launched. As for the Mac mini, if the iMac gets an update the Mac mini usually gets one too, although it’s rarely anything to get too excited about.
So if we’d placed a bet at the bookies we’d have won a couple of dollars, maybe.
Unfortunately not every rumour comes true, of course. The iPad mini isn’t priced at under $300 – it starts at $369 for the 16GB WiFi version. That’s not far of the iPad 2 at $429 and it’s more than the competition (the 7in Galaxy Tab is $299, for example, although it only has 8GB memory). The general consensus is that the price is a little high, but it’s typical of Apple to price their products as a premium offering. There is no doubt that they will sell truckloads in the run up to Christmas.
Just to prove that it doesn’t have to follow the competition, however, Apple’s iPad mini isn’t 7in. It’s 7.9in (or 20cm, rather than 17.78cm). Perhaps this is so that people using it won’t need to file their fingers down with sandpaper as late Apple CEO Steve Jobs suggested when explaining why Apple wouldn’t sell a 7in iPad.
One interesting comment we’ve seen suggested that when Apple created the tablet market it made a device with specifications and pricing that the other venders couldn’t match. As a result the competition reduced the size so that they could make cheaper devices. Now 2.5 years and 100 million iPads later Apple is reducing the size of its tablet, but charging more than the competition. Apple wrong to dismiss the 7in form-factor? Would things have been different if it had introduced the iPad mini sooner? We think that the 10in iPad was well suited to the first round of early adopters (as the marketers call them). Now is the time for a mini iPad that’s perfect for the next round of adopters, people who are coming round to the idea of a tablet but had been put off by price, and specifically weight.
Another new iPad
Some of those early adopters will be fuming right now. We’re looking at you: Apple fans who bought the last New iPad. Apple is no longer tied to a yearly upgrade cycle. In these competitive times Apple is more than happy to reinvent its products just six months after the last one launched. There will be a fair few disgruntled iPad 3 owners wondering whether to cash in their tablet.
Speaking of disappointment, there are always a few Mac users who are distraught when Apple whips away the optical drive, and of course an iMac that is 45 percent skinner has no space for an old-fashioned CD/DVD combo. We’ve consigned CDs and DVDs to Room 101, maybe it’s time they do too?
It’s not all bad news of course. Apple claims that the new iMacs aren’t just amazingly thin, the displays have 75 percent less reflection than previous models. We know a few designers who will be cheering at that news. Especially given that they have to wait until next year for a new Mac Pro.
There was one piece of news that we hadn’t been expecting. The new Fusion Drive that is a build-to-order option for the iMac and Mac mini that combines an 128 SSD (flash) drive with a standard hard drive. What really impressed us is the fact that it knows what software you use most and moves it to the Flash side so you can benefit from faster apps as well as the extra hard drive space (up to 3TB).
All-in-all it shaped up to be a pretty impressive keynote, despite being predictable.