Mid-Week RE:geek (October 24)

Posted on October 24, 2012

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So I probably should’ve waited until after the Apple announcement before writing the Mid Week Geek Out because a response is nearly demanded, in this case. I don’t mind setting the precedent for a needed REgeek every now and again.

First, the big announcement was the expected iPad mini, a 7″ little brother to the almighty iPad. What was not expected was the steep price of $329… not what I was hoping for; in fact, the masses who were hoping for a competitively priced Apple entry were wailing bitterly and gnashing their teeth. Even the fanboys were like “… do what?” Not only does it cost more than other tablets in its size class, the specs are weaker than the Google Nexus 7 in terms of processing speed and screen resolution.

Speaking of the Nexus 7, in an announcement that may have been overlooked in all the Apple hooplah, it is rumored (nearly all but confirmed) that, not only will a 32 GB version be announced soon, but the existing 16 GB version will drop to a cool $199 while the 32 GB version will be taking over the $249 slot. This is most likely in response to Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, which is priced similarly.

However, if I may play devil’s advocate, when has Apple ever emphasized competitive pricing? They have relied on their slick branding and well engineered products (at a premium cost), and in the world of mobile phones and tablets (arguably the only arenas in mass consumer computing that matter anymore), they are king. What good would it do to start a precedent of engineering an inferior product for the sake of mass producing at low prices? The newest generation of ipod Touch currently starts at $300, and that’s for a 4 inch screen. Releasing a 7 inch mini iPad under $300 would mean they would have to adjust the pricing for their entire line.

If I was an elitest snob and my only competition was a low budget entry for people that don’t want to use a tablet for anything more than an e-reader and web browser, why would I bother releasing a product similar to what the “plebians” already own? Let Google, Samsung and Amazon jockey over a distant second place in the tablet market (Apple holds 70% of the tablet market, last time I checked); I’ll just release a 7″ version of my tablet for those who prefer the size over the current 10″ and maintain my status as the premium option.

And, as much as I hate to admit it… you really can’t compare a Droid tablet to an Apple. I am a reluctant Apple user; my phone is a Samsung Galaxy S2 and both of my computers (laptop and a homebuilt HTPC) are PC. Forget specs; a tablet is meant for utility and it is hard to compete with the utility that is the Apple app store. If anything, blame Droid / Google for not being a more competive entry into this fray; Apple is clearly under no pressure to compete on the basis of price.

All that said… if I do decide to make a 7″ tablet purchase or if anyone asked me what they should get for a budget tablet, the Nexus 7 presently gets my vote. At least now, if someone really wants an iPad, a cheaper option exists now.

So, other products were also announced, though they were largely overlooked by the uproar over the iPad mini price. The 4th gen iPad is being released before the holidays, making the lifecycle of the current “new” iPad about half a year. Maybe now I can start calling it an iPad 3 without an elitest hipster reminding me it’s the “new iPad”. Not anymore, it isn’t. Neener neener.

Also, there was a new Mac with a thin screen and other things I could genuinely not care less about. You are more than welcome to pay the premium for the high end computer; in this case, the price has not been justified, in my eyes, although I admit I said that once about the iPad.

How do you folks feel about the new pricing scheme? Mad? Angry? Shedding tears of joy? Let me know!

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