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How Will Amazon, Barnes & Noble Survive the iPad Mini? 354

Posted by timothy
from the add-rear-facing-cameras-dammit dept.
redletterdave writes "For about a year, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble were almost completely alone in the 7-inch tablet market. It was nice while it lasted. The past few months have seen Google and Microsoft unveil their 7-inch tablet offerings — the Nexus 7 and Microsoft Surface, respectively — and it looks like Apple is about ready to get into the mini tablet game, too. If Apple releases its first 'iPad Mini' next month, what can Amazon and Barnes & Noble do to keep the Cupertino colossus at bay, as well as the other new competitors in the 7-inch tablet game?"
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How Will Amazon, Barnes & Noble Survive the iPad Mini?

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  • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Sunday August 12, 2012 @12:39PM (#40964715)

    I get really tired of this frame of stories that assume Apple is the alpha and the omega.

    Who cares about a possible iPad Mini that isn't drinking the Kool-Aid already? Just another iOS device, they already come with a range of displays, connectivity, etc. If you have already bought into the iOS ecosystem you might want one, otherwise not so much. What other OEM adding a new screen size would be a major story on /.? Newsflash! Dell adds new display option to their laptop line, discuss.

    And for that matter, I don't really care about the Amazon or Nook tablets because they are trying to run the same Apple game plan, poorly. I don't want to semi-buy a tethered device that is more a tethered window into it's owner's cloud than a computer that [I] control. And to a great extent I toss the new Google Nexus 7 (by Asus) into the same pile.

    Look around and you can buy tablets in any size, build quality and price that can be unlocked, accept removable media, even boot from that external media. Want one with a keyboard? Yup. Good cameras, sensors, etc. How much ya willing to pay? In other words, tablet computers instead of iPad clones. You can keep your subsidized[1] media players; I'm a nerd and I buy computers.

    Just don't expect to buy a computer from a media company and get anything useful. Which is what B&N and Amazon are, Apple is in the process of becoming and Google is greatly desiring to be.

    [1] Well not subsidized from Apple of course, there you pay more for the chains... but they are just so stylish!

    • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 12, 2012 @12:49PM (#40964791)

      People care about what Apple is doing because Apple has historically set the trend for pretty much every market that they have entered

    • First of all I do agree that not every single Apple story needs to be posted especially this one which has been a rumor every year since the iPad was launched. Until Apple announces it, it's a rumor. Just like the iPhone mini. However when Apple does launch it, it will be newsworthy more so than Dell releasing a new display. For the very simple reason Apple is a big player in tablets. Just like I expect that AMD or Intel introducing a new class of processors gets news.
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bogtha (906264) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @01:12PM (#40964951)

      Who cares about a possible iPad Mini that isn't drinking the Kool-Aid already?

      Pretty much everybody, because whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, Apple defined this market with the iPad. You say it yourself, all the major competitors are basically following Apple's lead. Every tablet from every competitor is compared to the iPad in reviews. The tablet market was practically non-existent before the iPad was released. It's not so much a tablet market as an iPad market with a few hangers on.

      • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by bazorg (911295) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @01:53PM (#40965335) Homepage

        I would only add that it's a new market with lots of margin for growth, therefore I do expect a lot of people to be interested, regardless of kool-aid drinking history. I'd expect the Windows tablet market share to grow a lot when they get MS Office to run on it, and I'm sure there's other players like Nintendo who will get a slice. Apple will probably remain the leader in the high end, Android the overall leader and who knows what follows.For me, the mini iPad is more meaningful if thought in terms of price rather than screen size. If they sell it for just above the Nexus or Kindle price, it will be yet another awesome success for them.

      • I can't understand why people go full retard over buying the iPad. It costs almost double what a laptop does and does not have a keyboard. It has no means of expandable storage (besides SD card), its too big to fit into a pocket and does everything a cell phone does except make calls. Why are these so popular?

    • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by bhunachchicken (834243) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @01:13PM (#40964961) Homepage

      "Who cares about a possible iPad Mini that isn't drinking the Kool-Aid already? Just another iOS device, they already come with a range of displays, connectivity, etc. If you have already bought into the iOS ecosystem you might want one, otherwise not so much"

      And this is where a lot of people (no offence) fail to understand how Apple really operates. Apple will make it their job to ensure that you must have one, that you cannot live without one, that you are a social outcast without one.

      They want people to say "Oh, look! A smaller iPad! I didn't want one before, but now that it's smaller, fits in my handbag, and is cute, I want one!"

      What will they use it for? Nothing that they can't already do on a computer or a standard iPad, that's for sure. But the fact that it's yet another Apple Fashion Accessory[1], they will buy buy buy buy buy! Because if you don't have one, you're weird.

      I don't have an iPhone or an iPod. I have an HTC Desire and a Sandisk Sansa (with Rockbox). What do people say to me?

      "Why do you use that? Why don't you get an iPhone/iPod? Everyone else has one."

      And when the iPad Mini comes out, it will be like no 7" tablet existed before it, and that Apple has reinvented the market again. Everything else will be a copy (like those copycat Asians at Samsung). We all know it to be true - this is what the general public will believe.

      [1] - I don't believe there actually is a tablet market. Just an iPad market. No one wants tablets, just something that makes them look cool and hip. Like everyone else.

      • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Sunday August 12, 2012 @03:30PM (#40965987) Homepage Journal

        I don't have an iPhone or an iPod. I have an HTC Desire and a Sandisk Sansa (with Rockbox). What do people say to me?

        "Hipster." I have a Sansa with Rockbox, too, but stopped using it approximately the first time I ever saw an iPod Touch.

        I don't believe there actually is a tablet market. Just an iPad market. No one wants tablets, just something that makes them look cool and hip. Like everyone else.

        Well, that's just precious! In the real world, people love tablets. There are a lot of people who want portable, Internet-capable devices without lugging around laptops. I'm sure there's some tiny portion of the tablet market who likes being seen with them, but the owners I've seen tend to use them while lounging around their houses watching Netflix or playing games.

        Note: I don't have an iPad and I'm not defending my own purchasing decisions. I have a Nook Simple Touch that I use purely as an ebook reader because I don't really have a need for anything else between my phone and laptop. But it's sheer ignorance to claim that tablets are a fad just because you don't like them. Lots of people do, and manufacturers have made a few billion dollars selling them without an end in sight.

      • by Omestes (471991)

        [1] - I don't believe there actually is a tablet market. Just an iPad market. No one wants tablets, just something that makes them look cool and hip. Like everyone else.

        I doubt this. I own a tablet, and I have very rarely actually taken it outside of my house. It replaced my laptop for my "morning coffee on the patio" computer. I was very much in the market for a tablet, meaning there is a tablet market. I would have bought an iPad, but for the price it had less stats (i.e. future-proofing), and didn't really fit my sense of values or aesthetics.

        Though amusingly earlier this weekend I drove a friend to get an Android tablet (he had an iPad, but sold it since it wasn't

        • by jensen404 (717086)
          There is an x86 Surface that runs full Windows and has a digitizer for pen input. I have a New iPad, but the (ideal) x86 Surface is closer to what I want.
          • by toriver (11308)

            I think you use the word "is" in a different sense than most people. It indicates "present tense", but you apply it to a non-existing product. The verb form you are looking for looks like this:

            There will be an x86 Surface (next year) ...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pubwvj (1045960)

        "What will they use it for? Nothing that they can't already do on a computer or a standard iPad, that's for sure. But the fact that it's yet another Apple Fashion Accessory[1], they will buy buy buy buy buy! Because if you don't have one, you're weird."

        There are people who will want the smaller, more easily carried form factor. Fine for makers to offer it. Our family has an iPad (v1.0) which is great for reading documents. I have to read a lot of government regulations and I can get them all on-line as PDFs

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          No one is still using a 10 (let alone 15) year old laptop for anything. Certainly no one I'd listen to regarding my technology choices.

        • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by thegarbz (1787294) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @07:56PM (#40967971)

          Apple's laptops last ten to 15 years and can be passed down in the family.

          Oh wow! People are still using PowerBook G3s?

          The only person using a 10-15 year old Mac laptop are the poor people in Ethiopia who were gifted them as some part of charity program, or some kids children being mentally abused by their anti-nerd father. I don't think I've even seen one of those fluro coloured Macbooks in 3 years and they were all the rage before the aluminium look era.

          Incidentally I also have a fully working Dell Inspiron 4100 here. It was a cheap laptop when I bought it and still works as good as it did that day. I use it every so often as a science experiment (literally data collection since it has a serial port). This works very well because unlike any Apple portable product which becomes essentially useless after a few years without a power cord I bought two Inspiron 4100 batteries about 4 months ago and the laptop happily hums away for 8-10 hours at a time unsupervised (dual battery slots).

          You can keep justifying your expensive habit anyway you want.

      • I don't believe there actually is a tablet market. Just an iPad market. No one wants tablets, just something that makes them look cool and hip. Like everyone else.

        What the hell are you talking about? As someone else said, I rarely take mine outside. When I do it's as an ebook reader for inter-city journeys, and I don't care who sees it or not.

        At home I leave my tablet on my coffee table, and it's notification light flashes when I get mail or other notifications that I want to see. Handy. I can leave it there for days without charging it, yet it's ready to use immediately at the press of a button. Laptops can't match that convenience. Nor can they match the comfort o

    • I get really tired of this frame of stories that assume Apple is the alpha and the omega.

      When you start out like that you just look uninformed [thenextweb.com].

      The fact is you should care if Apple is entering a niche because it means that other options may well dry up.

      I don't really care about the Amazon or Nook tablets because they are trying to run the same Apple game plan, poorly

      Poorly? Both seem to have done really well. Amazon has a tablet that lets people easily hook into the benefits of the media Amazon provides, a

    • both Barnes and Noble and Amazon were shifting those tablets, pretty much exclusively to get you to buy stuff from them. I'm not even too sure they were even that important - given an ipad and no legacy tie-in, I'd use kindle over apple's in-house offering.
      My take on the Nexus 7 was a little bit different - this was prove that Android tablets didn't have to be crap or expensive. In our swoop they've pretty much decimated the market for so-so 3rd party manufacturers - any new tablet has either got to be sig
    • Who cares about a possible iPad Mini that isn't drinking the Kool-Aid already

      The people who are already drinking the Kool-Aid represent a huge untapped market. We have an iPad - It would be nice to have another tablet but we're not going to drop that much coin again on a second tablet - A smaller, cheaper one? Maybe. A smaller tablet could be used by the kids, could be used in the car... All that good stuff.

    • because it comes in at 299 or less I won't flinch every time the seven year runs to show me her latest effort on the iPad

      A small size means I can shove it my dress pants pocket, something the Kindle does well but the iPad does not (I have the kindle touch, kindle fire, and an iPad)

    • by Mista2 (1093071)

      Now an interesting idea, but here in the world outside the USA it actually difficult to get the latest Android tabs. The phones are easy to get, but no so much on the tablets.
      Want a legitimate source for DRM free content, shock, actually ONLY the iTunes store offers DRM free music here in NZ. I have bought quite a bit of music from Apple because of this. Movies and music videos however, are still DRM restricted. I havn't bought any of that.
      But then my locked and chained devices can easily hook up to Amazon

    • I, too, tire of Applesauce spread thickly over every gadget discussion, however, the relevance of a 7" iPad will be shown in the price. With iPad2 at $299 refurbished, I'm guessing that if an iPad 7 comes out at all, it will have to hit a price point of $249 or less.

      With lower price points comes wider market penetration, so, there are your people who will buy the iPad 7, the ones who have a iPod nano, but never scraped together enough mad money to pop for an iPad.

      Personally, I'm skeptical that Apple will l

  • Surface is 10 inch. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 12, 2012 @12:44PM (#40964753)

    "The past few months have seen Google and Microsoft unveil their 7-inch tablet offerings — the Nexus 7 and Microsoft Surface, respectively"

    Nope. Surface is a 10 inch tablet.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Surface

    And besides, I'm sure Apple will sell a bunch, make money. A half year after that I'm sure stories will appear about a new Samsung, Kindle, or Google tab (or the combination of the three) that will offer something new or just enough of something new to move interest back away from Apple for a while.

  • Eink (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sehryan (412731) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @12:45PM (#40964763)

    Put the focus back where it belongs for their particular devices - Eink.

    There are a ton of people who don't want to look at yet another computer screen when they are reading, which is why those people (me included) go for the Eink devices instead of the 7" tablets.

    That is the space that made them popular, and that is the space they need to put the focus back on as a differentiating - and positive selling - factor.

    • Re:Eink (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wvmarle (1070040) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @01:06PM (#40964915)

      And battery life.

      These Kindles may not continue forever, they do last very very long on a charge - Amazon claims up to two months, based on half an hour reading a day, so about 30 hours of constant use.

      The iPad 3 is reported to last only around six hours.

      • Believe what reports you want, but my iPad 3 lasts 10-12 hours. Maybe an hour less with LTE turned on. I charge mine only at night, use it all day, and I've yet to run out of battery when I need it. (I have gotten low a few times.)
    • Bingo. The size matters not at all, its the screen that makes the difference. I like Pearl technology, but the contrast still isn't as good as paper in less than optimal light conditions. When they improve that, I'll sell all of my books.

      • Re:Eink (Score:4, Interesting)

        by tibman (623933) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @02:58PM (#40965775) Homepage

        Might as well hold onto your books. I've been trying to sell mine and it's a waste of time. The used-book store offers a quarter a book (about 3% of the price i paid). Online sales are better but you have to factor in packaging costs and fuel. Sounds silly that packaging costs would matter but if it costs 20cents for packaging and 60cents in fuel then that 2$ book sale only made you 1.20$ (15% of original price). If you add up all the hours you'll spend managing them and shipping them one by one.. total waste.

        My suggestion is to donate them someplace that really needs them. A school, a prison, or a deployed unit in Afghanistan.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      They need to bring out color ink. .*now*. And be a tad bigger than 6" too please.. Not huge, but a little bit..

      But as far as their 'tablet-readers' they are pretty much toast once apple gets in the game, as i don't think their multimedia ecosystem will keep them afloat enough to make it worth while. Sure they could survive, but that isn't the point of a business unit.

      Their book ecosystem will keep the ink-readers alive forever, however my biggest fear is they get out of the reader market completely, and jus

  • by Ami Ganguli (921) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @12:50PM (#40964801) Homepage

    The Kindle hardware is just a channel to sell e-books. If Kindle hardware sales dry up due to competition from other tables, it's not a problem as long as the other devices that people buy support the Kindle App.

    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @01:32PM (#40965123) Journal

      If Kindle hardware sales dry up due to competition from other tables, it's not a problem as long as the other devices that people buy support the Kindle App.

      The problem is that Apple has slowly been making it harder to make its devices sale channels (unless you're willing to pay the Apple tax). Not only they forced Amazon to remove in-app book purchasing, they even made them to remove the button that would take the user to Amazon's Kindle web store in the browser. Right now Kindle app on iOS is a plain reader only, and you have to know where to buy the books on your own.

      On the other hand, there's iBooks, which is more prominently there (every iOS device bugs you to install iBooks as soon as you open the app store), and lets you browse the books and buy them, not just read them. I suspect Apple is diverting quite a few iOS users who'd otherwise go to Amazon that way.

      • by macs4all (973270)

        (unless you're willing to pay the Apple tax).

        2001 called and wants its meme back...

        Seriously.

        If there is an "Apple Tax" on tablets, then how come NO ONE has been able to even MEET, let alone BEAT the iPad's price-performance metric?

        And it ain't all "Apple has sewn-up the components". That affects someone like Samsung (for example) NOT AT ALL.

        In fact, Samsung SHOULD be able to sell Galaxy tablets for $200 ALL DAY LONG, since THEY can actually fabricate every single component of a Tablet themselves, and THEY don't have to pay ANYTHING over raw m

        • by Cederic (9623)

          If there is an "Apple Tax" on tablets, then how come NO ONE has been able to even MEET, let alone BEAT the iPad's price-performance metric?

          You mean, someone like Asus? Who sell a tablet better than the ipad for a lower price? Who sell a 7" tablet for the same price as an ipod?

          Shit, that's just one manufacturer and I haven't even done any research.

          Apple do have great control over their supply chain but try and take the blinkers off.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Depends on which kindle. Ink,yes its about books. Fire, its about multimedia. ( same for nook varieties ).

  • by mveloso (325617) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @12:53PM (#40964823)

    There is no tablet market per se. There's an iPad market, an e-reader market, and a grab bag of every other manufacturer.

    The Samsung Tab? Apparently it sold 37k units in the US last quarter, which makes it a total non-competitor to the iPad.

    http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/08/10/apple-sold-5-7-million-tablets-in-the-u-s-last-quarter-court-documents-show-samsung-sold-37000/ [cnn.com]
    http://fortunebrainstormtech.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/screen-shot-2012-08-10-at-7-33-07-am.png [wordpress.com]

    So anyway, what does it matter? There are Nook and Kindle readers on iOS - that revenue stream should be fine. By not selling the hardware both companies save money, but lose on lock-in. The impact will probably be marginal, or possibly a small plus as more people move to nook/kindle and away from books.

    Of course, it depends on the price. If the iPad mini comes out at $199 it's game over for everyone else. I doubt that price point because Apple generally doesn't sell its hardware at a loss or close to a loss. They just need to make it close. $300 sounds more realistic - that's $100 less than the Ipad 2 and overlaps well with the iPad touch pricing.

  • by HTMLSpinnr (531389) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @12:55PM (#40964835) Homepage
    Amazon and Nook are all about consuming content. Initial tear-downs of the Kindle Fire purported them to be built at a loss, or at the very least, sold "at-cost". The profits are in App sales, Kindle books, Newsstand subscriptions, and Music/Video content.

    Thus, if their consumers are running iPad minis, Amazon already has most of that taken care of. There's a Kindle app for iPhone and iPad, and they've recently released the Cloud Player (music) for iPhone and Amazon Instant Video app for iPad. Those loyal to their content will still be consuming it, regardless of the device. Amazon doesn't have a foothold in all facets of iPad like they do in Kindle Fire or other Android devices (i.e. Appstore), but it's "good enough", right?

    To a lesser extent, same applies for B&N. NOOK apps are available for both.

    Now the risk for both of these companies is those who aren't loyal to a content provider and the default presence of iTunes.
    • The problem is that iOS makes Apple services - and specifically iBooks - preferential to users compared to everything else. Sure, people who already own Kindle books and/or the device will find out how to install the app, and will probably keep buying from Amazon, but that doesn't help them grow, only keeps them where they already are. And, of course, every now and then you might see people "defecting" just because iBooks offers a better experience on their iPad (with integrated store etc - things that Amaz

  • Slightly off-topic... But I haven't been able to find good answers.

    Anybody has a link to an authoritative source about what happens to e-books if the publisher/seller goes out of business?

    Are there any safeguards that will prevent the publisher/seller from pulling out an e-book already sold and installed in my reader?

    Finally, are the e-books complete editions or are they abbreviated?

    Thanks

  • E-ink (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @01:27PM (#40965073) Homepage

    Amazon, B&N and all the others will survive because they have E-ink screens, which are far superior (and, sadly, more expensive) for their specialized purpose.
    If people wanted a color 7" tablet to do more than just reading, e-readers would have been gone from the market already. The only benefit a dedicated e-reader has over one of those cheap 7" no-name Android tablets is the screen. Even the cheapest Android tablet outperforms an e-reader in every way... except the screen.

  • They'll survive it the way they've survived the iPod Touch all this time.

    I honestly don't understand the 7" tablet market. If I want small, I've got my smartphone. If I want big, I can use a 10" tablet. WTF am I supposed to do with something that's too big to fit comfortably in my pocket but so small it's still hard to read?

    • I'll probably buy it to replace both my phone and my current iPad in one device. I use Google Voice + Talkatone on my iPad already when I'm stationary, but a 10" tablet is just too big to carry around—for example—to the grocery store. But at 7" I'd make the leap and do away with the phone form factor altogether.

  • "For about a year, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble were almost completely alone in the 7-inch tablet market. It was nice while it lasted."

    The Blackberry Playbook is a 7" tablet and has been on the market for over a year now. How come it is never mentioned? I mean, it had it's flaws when first released but has been patched up for the most part now. When the playbook was first released everybody was saying 7" was too small for a tablet. Amazon, Google have each released their 7" and now Apple has been

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @01:46PM (#40965257) Homepage

    Tablet computers are becoming a commodity. A 7" tablet from China is only $70. [alibaba.com] On Amazon, you can now get Android tablets from $60. [amazon.com] Since the Allwinner ARM system on a chip came out for $7, with no US intellectual property to run up the price, the compute power in low-end tablets has been quite impressive. Tablet computers are going to be something you buy in a blister pack at the convenience store.

    How will Apple, with all their expensive stores on expensive real estate, and a business built on huge markups, deal with that? Their pricing is around $400, over five times the price of the competition. They can't maintain that margin.

    There's a market for luxury items. The CEO of Rolex says "We are not in the watch business, we are in the luxury business. The volumes are small. Apple is too big a company to take that route. Apple may have to try coming out with lower-priced lines to compete.

    • by assertation (1255714) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @03:10PM (#40965823)

      People have been saying that about Apple since Apple existed. They have come out with a few lower priced things over the years, but those products came and went while the expensive stuff remained.

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @03:10PM (#40965831) Journal

      There's a market for luxury items. The CEO of Rolex says "We are not in the watch business, we are in the luxury business. The volumes are small. Apple is too big a company to take that route. Apple may have to try coming out with lower-priced lines to compete.

      You have a good point, and I used to think the same, but consider that Apple has been selling high-priced laptops for over a decade, despite the emergence of $350 laptops, they still manage to sell them for $2000+. Not only do they sell them, their marketshare is increasing. I don't claim to understand HOW they do this, but they do. And so far, they've managed to keep selling iPads for some reason, too.

    • by sootman (158191) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @04:23PM (#40966345) Homepage Journal

      And there are cheaper music players than iPods, and cheaper laptops than MacBooks, and yet somehow Apple has turned into the biggest company on the planet than isn't a bank or oil concern. Apple is selling more and more computers, phones, and tablets year over year, every year. (The only thing that's going down is their iPod sales because everyone's buying iPhones instead.) The whole market is growing--people are buying tablets who never bought computers, and cell phones are literally going to hit the points where 99% of the PLANET owns one. (Did you know their iPhone business--something that didn't even exist five years ago--is bigger than the entirety of Microsoft?)

      Apple is not a niche, small-volume luxury company like Rolex. You're comparing a multi-hundred dollar, multi-feature device to a multi-thousand dollar, single-function device--of course Rolex is going to have orders of magnitude less volume.

      I always laugh when posts like yours get high "Insightful" mods. You're cherry-picking all these little facts here and there while ignoring the hundred-billion-dollar elephant in the room.

      > How will Apple, with all their expensive stores on
      > expensive real estate, and a business built on
      > huge markups, deal with that?

      LOL. Have you ever heard "you've got to spend money to make money"? Apple retail stores have the highest profit per square foot ratio of any retail chain [tuaw.com] by a HUGE margin. (Almost 2x higher than #2, Tiffany.) And it's been like that for five years. [cnn.com]

      Also: you really think all these companies with razor-thin margins are going to thrive in Apple's place? You can ask Dell how well that strategy worked for them long-term. And have you ever used a generic tablet? I have, and they all suck in every way you can imagine. Apple's resources give them the ability to make things people actually want.

      I'm not saying Apple will reign forever, but it will take them a LONG time to fall.

    • by toriver (11308)

      It's like asking how BMW stays in business in a world where you can buy a cheap Fiat that can get you anywhere the BMW can go. In other words, it is missing the point.

  • by dnaumov (453672) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @02:03PM (#40965407)

    Microsoft Surface is not a 7" device...

  • The ipad mini will have to be a *lot* lighter.
    If they are to compete with kindle they will have to sacrifice much
    of the ipad experience unless they have some slam dunk
    power consumption strategies/hardware that allow for a much lighter battery.

  • by drolli (522659) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @02:21PM (#40965535) Journal

    e.g. by putting out reader applicaitons for all platforms and making money on sellign the books, as they already do now. I would never buy the kindle (since dont like to pay somebody money for playing the gatekeeper to what i can watch on *my* device), but since Amazon makes my purchases available on my android via the kindle app, my xp machine, and (even for offline reading) in the web browser, i am not exacltly sure *why* amazon should be worried about the 7 inch ipad. I spend more for ebooks in the last year (since i use the kindle app) than for books in the 5 years before.

    The ipad 7 inch is an device which apple hestitated to produce and enters the market as one of the last big players (the same for the surface thing). Pocket-compatible ebook reader have been arund a long time, and the load of android devices in all different shapes, formats and price ranges makes the 7 inch ipad appear like a drop of water in the sea.

    The more relevant question is: Is apple navigating itself in a position of "we against the rest" with a high fence around the garden? Again? A little lesson in the History of Apple should teach that they made this mistake one time before. In the 90s they were had the monopoly in the DTP and creative market. Until they managed to annoy their customers a few years too long by keeping the same feature set and relying on the market monopoly. At that time the logics was: If you do DTP, you need an Apple, sicne the print shops only guarantee the result if you deliver your product as a mac format. If you open a print shop, you need a Apple because the customer has Apple. Bot have an Apple, so the colour calibration chain (which indeed worked better in the beginning on the Apples than on Windows) will guarantee that you know what you print. Nowadays the logics is: Apple controls a significant share of mp3 sales, media sales, so if you want to read a digital newspaper, you need an ipad. Since people reading digital newspapers own ipads, if you make a newspaper you need to publish for the ipad.

    What happened in the 90s: Windows go better and betetr and chraper and cheaper and a so big overall market share that it put apple under pressure

    What happens now: Android gets better and betetr and cheaper and cheaper and Apple has no monoply on the ebook, mp3 market or anything close. So the customers are essentially people who baought an ipod, upgraded to iphone and asrrive at the ipad now. I dont know many people who bought ipad which did not own iphones before.

    So that leaves the question: Will Apple show an innovation (besides putting out an ipod in another size) which attract new cistomers or did they corner themself already?

  • Obvious ... (Score:2, Funny)

    by jc42 (318812)

    Wait; Apple doesn't have a 7-inch tablet yet? The strategy of the others is obvious: They sue Apple for infringing their "innovative" format. If they can find a friendly judge, they can block sales of Apple's gadget of the same size for a year or two, and by then people will be galloping off after the latest hot thing (maybe a 7.5-inch tablet?), and it won't matter. If Amazon, B&N and a few others pool their resources, they should be able to drag this out for a few years, even against Apple.

    Of co

  • by edremy (36408) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @03:25PM (#40965941) Journal
    I spent the last week with a Nexus 7- it simply blows the Fire and Nook away. It's not even close.

    For that matter, it blows away the iPad as well. After using it for a week, going back to iOS feels like going back in time. The Nexus is easier to use, more flexible, more responsive and it just plain feels slicker. I suspect an honest comparison between an iPad mini and the Nexus won't come up too well for the iPad. I'm sure it will still be bought in droves by the faithful, but Apple's been passed by Google.

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @03:50PM (#40966109)
    The medium of eInk is completely different than an LED type display. eInk is damn good for a page turning book, as in a novel or something where you read the pages slowly and in order. eInk is terrible for skimming where you flick back and fourth or where the data is highly formatted such as a textbook.

    LED is awesome for stuff you read quickly such as video (many frames per second) a web page, twitter, facebook, etc. But even then the size determines what you will read. A larger screen (iPad or bigger) is good for skimming a textbook, or a magazine. I don't want to read a magazine or textbook on a 7 inch screen. Even though the screen is book size and the weight will be more book like I suspect that people will not want to read 50 shades of stupid on a smaller iPad. So that basically leaves it to be used for games, video, and other things that you would do with a really big phone.

    I would say that the revolutionary size would be to bump up the normal iPad so that it doesn't have that huge bezel and a genuine 10+ inch screen; at least the size of a National Geographic. Then I can really do the textbook/magazine thing really well.

    The revolutionary thing to do with eInk would be to make it way tougher (2 dead kindles in this house) and keep making it crisper. I am not sure that colour is even that important. Colour might make it easier to sell in Staples but only if it doesn't come at the expense of lightness/crispness/cost/ or battery. I wouldn't mind the screen being a notch bigger but at most another inch.
  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @03:56PM (#40966159)

    Assuming they actually do release it (has anything official been announced yet?), Apple is going to have a hard time setting a good price for the iPad Mini.

    The Nook Tablet, Kindle Fire, and Nexus 7 all start at $199. Therefore, Apple won't be able to price the iPad Mini much more than $250 unless they want to be seriously beat out on price by A-list competitors. It's one thing to be beaten on price by bottom-of-the-barrel crap like Archos, but until now, the iPad has been quite competitive on price with equivalently powerful systems from A-list vendors such as Samsung. No other 10-inch tablet provides equal performance to the iPad at a substantially cheaper price. In fact, no consumer tablet at any price can beat the iPad 3's display resolution. Apple's success comes not only from providing a slicker product, but also from the fact that they've pretty much abolished the "Apple tax" on portable hardware, and used their supply chain dominance to leverage prices way down.

    At the same time, Apple can't sell the iPad Mini for much cheaper than the iPad 2 ($399), because if they do, it will cost them a substantial number of sales on the better hardware. A lot of tablet users would gladly drop from 10 inches to 7 inches to save $150, if the user experience is otherwise the same. Apple doesn't want to cannibalize its own profit margins on their high-end tablets.

    I'm sure their marketers have crunched all the numbers. My prediction: if the iPad Mini does see production, it will start at $249 or $299 for the cheapest model. Just low enough to lure over a decent number of Nexus/Kindle/Nook users, just high enough to keep the iPad 2 competitive. Also, the screen resolution will be 1024x768.

  • I don't see how it's really a threat to Amazon and B&N at all-- they both have apps that let you read their content on iThings, and they're primarily content companies not hardware companies. The bigger issue might be whether it cuts into iPhone sales.

    And depending on what you want it for, it may not be a major competitor at all. I've got a collection of various e-readers and tablets, and the iPad isn't that great of an e-reader. It's big (making it less convenient to read in bed), and the backlighti

  • by rklrkl (554527) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @05:48PM (#40967013) Homepage

    Another US-centric story I see. Here in the UK, the story reads to me as "unreleased Kindle Fire and unreleased Nook Color vs. rumoured unreleased iPad Mini and unreleased MS Surface and - shock horror - released Nexus 7". In other words, a pretty useless story for non-US citizens - please try harder next time. Oh, and yes, I have a Nexus 7 because that *has* been released outside the US and is therefore the default 7" tablet winner in my books.

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