Global tech giant Apple unveiled the iPad mini on Tuesday, marking its foray into the smaller tablet market. The device has a 7.9-inch screen, boasts the same resolution as the iPad2, and is thin and light, measuring 7.2mm and weighing 308g.
The company also launched the next generation of its popular tablet, the iPad 4, which comes packed with a new A6X processor, and improved CPU and graphic performance.
Both the products should hit the UAE shelves by the end of this year, say retailers, following roll out in the US on November 2.
“Apple has spoken of a fairly rapid roll-out this time around with a whole host of countries coming into the first wave of launch of the iPads announced last night,” said Ashish Panjabi, the COO of Jacky’s.
“The time to market has gradually been reducing and while we don’t have an exact date from Apple yet, I’m fairly optimistic it will be here before the year-end.
“As always, there may be grey goods imported into the country earlier but we’d advise customers to wait for the official launch as prices are normally exorbitant initially but once the official launch happens, we can expect prices to be much more closely aligned to those in other countries,” he added.
The iPad mini comes in black and white an includes a powerful A5 chip, FaceTime HD camera, iSight camera with 1080p HD video recording, fast wireless and 10 hours of battery life.
But the light-weight tablet is heavy on the pocket; Apple announced that pricing for the iPad mini will start from $329 for the 16 GB, increasing to $429 for 32GB. In comparison, iPad mini’s rivals – Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Barnes & Noble’s Nook HD and Google’s Nexus 7 – all cost between $160 and $199.
While several online commentators have expressed concern over the pricing, Panjabi feels the cost is justified.
“Apple probably quite rightfully feels they can charge a premium for the product,” he said. The iPad mini looks unique and a lot of thought has gone into designing the product, he said.
“The problem with many of the 7-inch Android tablets today is that they vary largely in terms of engineering quality, finish, screen resolution and user experience. Most of them are black slabs and if you were to cover the brand names on most tablets, you couldn’t tell the difference between one and the other,” he added.
According to him, Apple has also never played to mass market pricing.
“Their Macbooks are often more expensive than that of most PC vendors. Their smartphones have also always been priced at a premium. Apple for example never entered the netbook race when it started a few years ago and decided to launch products like the Macbook Air or iPad instead at a premium. There is an aspirational value that Apple has managed to derive from consumers and this was somewhat expected to continue with the new iPad Mini as well,” he stated.
Despite the steep pricing, the iPad mini should do well in the UAE, said Panjabi, and so should the fourth generation of the iPad.
“As a retailer, I know I’m excited. The buzz around the iPad’s has been immense, especially for the smaller factor device,” he added.