Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Speculation: If the iPad mini and the iPod touch Both Cost $200, Which Will You Get?


iPod touch Versus iPad mini – If Both Comes In At $200, What Will You Get?

I love speculating and I hope you like it too because this particular one rocks.  If Apple refreshes the iPod touch like we expect, since they didn’t do it last year, and keep it at $199, and they also released the unicornesque iPad mini and price it at $199 to compete with the Fire and Nexus 7, as an Apple fan, what will you buy?

On face value, one might simply consider the iPad mini with its 7 or 8” screen to be a better value.  On face value, I’d have to agree with you.  But I’m not sure it’ll be so simple and Apple will make the choice a difficult to make.

iPod touch.  To call the iPod touch a phoneless iPhone is really disrespecting what the iPhone represents as a mobile platform that upended the mobile market and really put a lot of innovative juice into a number of markets that had grown stagnant.  The touch was released in the same year as the original iPhone in 2007 but much later.

I went out and instantly bought one and gave my iPhone to my mom.  I thought the iPhone would be a decent replacement for the iPhone.  It wasn't.  And when the current touch gained the cameras in the 4th gen touch, I was happy but disappointed that the rear camer was pretty lame.

However, as a mobile device perfect for gaming and entertainment, it was a perfect device and there has been zero competition.  And folks justified the rear-camera only being having 1MP because the kids who will be buying it don't need anything more sophisticated than that.  Bull.  Apple had its reasons and I'll leave it at that.

I'm hoping the next touch will gain at least the A5 chip that powered the iPhone 4S but with a smaller package so the CPU would be more efficient and fast with generating too much heat and requiring a lot of power.  That's likely to happen.

The screen should mirror anything the next iPhone should have.  When the iPhone 4 shipped with Retina Display, so did the touch.  There's talk that the iPhone screen will be bigger.  If that is the case, the touch will gain the same aspect screen as well.

The next main feature is the rear camera.  It's very possible that Apple could upgrade the camera this time around.  Frankly, I'm surprised last year's touch did not get an upgrade.  It made very little sense.  Even a slight improvement to 3MP or all the way up to 5MP would make sense since the iPhone 4S got an 8MP upgrade.  I'm going to believe the 2012 touch will definitely come a camera upgrade.  After two years of no change, it would be nice to see a 5MP camera.  Whatever the upgrade will be, we should see the see 1080p video recording come to the touch this year.

Also, the white touch last year, was a nice touch.  Could we see a new color?  Don't put it past Apple to introduce a new color or two.

iPad mini. Keep in mind that there is no iPad mini or iPod 7 or 8.  Steve Jobs was not in favor of this.  But then again, Steve Jobs and Apple has a history of saying one thing and doing another.  So, let's assume there is a smaller iPad coming.  What can we expect Apple to release?

The screen is likely going to sport a 1024x768 resolution, the same as the original iPad and the iPad 2.  We're not likely going to see a Retina display resolution of 2048x1536 found in the new iPad.  It'll be expensive.

We'll probably see the same A5 chip found in the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2.

The mini will be light and thin.

We'll have a Facetime camera.  For the rear-camera, it'll be hard to know for sure.  Just like Apple will keep the resolution at 1024x768, which is not that bad at all, Apple could try to keep the cost down so don't expect a great camera.  It would be nice to have a 5MP camera.  My mom recently took her new iPad to Japan and it was her "camcorder".

I reckon it looked awkward shooting pics with a 10" tablet but it should look less conspicuous with a smaller form tablet.

I guess the picture I'm painting you is the mini will be a smaller iPad 2.  And it could be enough for Apple to keep the cost low enough to compete with the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire priced at $200 each.  Neither the Nexus or the Fire have rear cameras.  The Fire has no camera at all (when I searched to confirm about the Fire lacking camera, there were many users who asked how to operate the camera.  I feel bad for them.  And I wonder how many Nexus users will realize there is no rear camera).

Cost.  By now, Apple knows just how much they will charge for the 2012 touch and the iPad mini.  I think they're gonna try to keep it around the $200 price point to keep the competition at bay.  This is why I don't think we should expect too much in terms of hardware specs.

There has been a lot of debate about this and whether Apple will go for margin or will not "leave a price umbrella for competitors".  I'm gonna go with the latter.

And with two key products, the touch and mini both at $200, it'll be hard for some folks to decide.  With the touch, we get a newer screen along with a potentially better camera.  And you can put the touch inside your pockets.

On the other hand, the iPad is already very portable and, with the mini, you have an even more portable device.  The Galaxy Tab 7 weighs in at 345 grams or 12.2 oz, the 7.7 version weighs 340 grams or 12 oz.  Those are two sizes that the mini will closely resembles.  Compared to the iPad, the mini could weigh about 50% less.

The mini will be vastly more portable but not by no means will it fit inside anyone's pockets.  If you're lying down and you doze off, the mini will still hurt your face when you drop it on yourself.

Outside of portability, there is also productivity.  When it comes to productivity, I would have said the mini would be more productive before iOS 6. With both devices sporting iOS 6, Siri and dictation could have a huge difference in equalizing how productive an user can be on either devices.

It's something that you have to get used to. However, once you start using dictation on a regular basis, you don't really want to go back to anything else.  In fact, much of this post was done via dictation.  It has saved me a lot of time, allow me to think, and visualize ahead of time what I want to convey.

Over all, the mini with its larger screen would be ideal.

So what portability, the touch has an advantage. However when it comes to productivity, the mini has the edge.

And the touch will have a Retina Display while the mini will have a pretty good screen but it won't be Retina at all.

So, what will it be for you?  I'm leaning towards the mini at the moment.  Who knows?  Maybe Apple will blow us away with a new innovative iPod touch.  Anyway, this is all just fun speculation now.  We'll know this fall exactly what Apple mean to grace us with.