The iPad Mini Event: And Why The Experts Are Blind

This week Apple® announced the much-anticipated iPad® Mini. Almost from the get-go grumblings were everywhere. Everyone had some remark why they believe Apple missed the boat on this device. Or why Apple for the first time looked like they were playing catch up offering a “me too” device in the 7″ inch category.

I believe if you focused only on the “Mini” – you along with everyone else missed what was really transpiring. It’s not about that particular device. It’s about the future of everything we interact with that’s technological. And I’m not trying to use hyperbole – I mean it. Let me explain.

Although the event was primarily focused as some form of debutant ball of the iPad family. I believe the coming out party was more of a sideshow to the bigger picture for Apple.

In my mind it was the dichotomy that hit me. The launching of a product Job’s himself was opposed to, while simultaneously you could see in stunning detail the manifestation of Job’s mantra “Dent the Universe.” I could see the world of technology changing once again.

Personally I don’t think it was intentional by Apple. I’m just relating why I believe the roll out was bigger (and more eye-opening) than most others saw – or realized.

First things first. You can’t discuss anything about the new launch without the overhang of “Well, Steve was against such a device.” Well, that’s not entirely true from my view.

If you listened carefully when he discussed such things, it wasn’t really about size. It was about the technology not having the ability to allow use of your finger as the end all-be all interface with such a sized device.

At the time of iPad 1st gen. such a device would require a stylus to fully operate. It’s the stylus that Job’s was adamantly against – not the size. In just 2 years time that hurdle is now gone. And Job’s is well-known for changing his mind on anything if a prior technological barrier was broken.

With that said I believe the implications for the Mini’s is not about you or me.
It’s about kids.

The original iPad is relatively big in a kids hand. The Mini is not. I believe you put this device into an adolescents hands – and you’ll never get it back. None of the other sized devices will come close in my opinion. They’re all made (including interface and programing) with you or me as the user. The Mini is the only one that can serve all generations at this time.

Put every 7″ device made today on a table and give a kid the choice of keeping any one they want, and I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts the Mini gets picked 100 to 1. Besides, what parent isn’t going to buy their 10-year-old a Mini at $329 if it keeps them from asking (or taking) their $500 or $800+ iPad with all the data from work and elsewhere? Let alone realizing for $329 – the child will get more use, be far happier, while less likely to break it than any cheap laptop.

Cheap laptops get expensive when no matter how many times you tell a kid not to use it or leave it on a pillow or bed because the fans can’t work, and will kill the laptop or worse – start a fire. Only to find that’s exactly what they’ll do. Over, and over, and over again.

It doesn’t take long where one changes their opinion from “No. they’re too expensive, and your just not old enough.” into “I am so sick and tired of repeating myself. Wait – $329 an I’m done? Merry Christmas Honey!”

At the event were the products most should have really paid attention to. The new Mac’s®. I personally found the overtones of criticism similar in tone to the snickers when the iPad debuted.

All the jokes about how thin it was were reminiscent on the naming of iPad. Again here is where I believe everyone missed it. The new Mac Pro® is about us.
Us – the ones with the money to spend , and who will spend it.

The teachers, doctors, lawyers, musicians, traders, writers, and more. All of whom currently have an iPad and use one constantly as their primary desktop/laptop alternative.

Anyone that currently has one wishes they did “just a little bit more” in ways more akin to their laptops or desktops with full software capabilities and such. Sometimes I just need the full use of a program, not the iOS abbreviated edition, and or need a real keyboard. But I want the feel and freedom the iPad delivers at the same time. The new Pro is going to fill that void while simultaneously closing the door on any PC based alternative.

If you’re a person that works on the road (or like so many – the couch or bed) and currently has an iPad. You’re already quite aware of the versatility using it while laying in a hotel bed, or behind the wheel of your car. (parked I would hope) I need not remind you that before its debut, doing the same with a laptop su_ked. But there was no alternative.

The new MacPro I believe closes that need for settling or having to go without. It’s the true morphing hybrid for this new evolving tablet – laptop world. More than it’s just a new version or upgraded laptop in my view. I think this is the device that changes the game once again.

If anything will be dropped from the product lines I think it will be the Mac Air®, and the iPad 2. The Air was the laptop bridge between power and convenience, but now the new Pro does both. Again, unattainable in power and design just a few years ago. It’s a true melding of the iPad with a fold down keyboard in shape, scale, and with all the power longed for.

Will it cannibalize iPad as the “smart crowd” warns? Maybe. But it will far more make up for any with new customer integration from the PC world in my opinion. If a PC customer now needs to learn a new operating system such as Windows 8®. What will they get for all that imposed disruption?
Does the PC world offer something viewed as “cool” as anything compared to Apple?

Some will say: ” Yeah, but what about Microsoft’s new Surface®?”
My answer: “Yeah, what about it?”

One glaringly obvious flaw in the design from my view which shows their understanding or use of design is way off base is evident in the very thing they’re heralding as some game changer: The keyboard.

When I want or need a full-sized keyboard I don’t want to move, or feel the need for some table or other flat surface in order to use it if I’m laying in some hotel bed, or behind the wheel of my car, or sitting on my couch or chair, etc, etc.
So exactly how exactly does that keyboard help me? It’s about as flimsy as the rubber cover its intended to replace.

The whole point is not just about having a full keyboard and power. It’s about having it with the ease, and ability to use it anywhere, everywhere, seamlessly. The Surface is the equivalent of the Zune®. I can hear many now saying what’s a Zune? Which is exactly my point. It was Microsoft’s answer to the iPod®.

I have no idea what will happen with Windows 8®. All I can tell you is this. I made the switch away from everything PC 2 years ago out of utter frustration with PC’s. I had it up to my eyeballs with needing a degree in software coding to use programs that were showcased as “User friendly.”

Although many are die-hard PC. I feel there are many more like me, and they are growing in numbers. The new Windows won’t keep them or give them reasons to stay and learn a new operating system if the devices currently offered are still challenged. If they have to learn or start again from new. They’ll be more inclined to go where the better devices currently are also. This point alone should cause the most concern for Microsoft, and the others.

As for the workhorse of any home or office it’s the desktop. And once again the iMac® itself was updated. Was there something special here also? Well, maybe the only way to make this point is with a question:

If you were to hire an interior designer to redecorate your home or office with an unlimited budget. How would you feel when you viewed the finished project and found they chose to put a brand new Dell® or HP® desktop running Windows 8 on your desk. When for the same money they could have put the new iMac?

As to what a share of Apple stock might be worth. I haven’t got a clue.

© 2012 Mark St.Cyr