The iPad Mini Event: Why The Experts Are Blind (by Mark St.Cyr)

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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

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 else?
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

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 of 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.

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 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. I need not remind you that before its debut, doing
the same with a laptop sucked. But if you needed the power – 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
morphing 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 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.
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

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
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

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?

For many there should have never been a choice. Only the obvious.
Which is exactly my point. As to what a share of Apple stock might be
worth – I haven’t a clue.

© 2012 Mark St.Cyr