|iPad mini (front and rear)|
Long, long ago in 2010, on an earnings call for Apple, Steve Jobs had some (now very famous) comments on how he felt about the 7 inch tablet market. An excerpt from this call is below:
These comments have been picked apart ad nauseum, but the salient point is this - at the time, Jobs did not envision his company making a smaller iPad product because he felt that they were ahead of the curve, and other OEMs would be forced to compete on Apple's terms. Until, lo and behold, Apple has in fact now made a 7 inch product - they now are competing on someone else's terms. Tim Cook, Apple's current CEO, begs to differ however:
"Let me be clear: we would not make one of the 7-inch tablets," Cook said in response to a question about why the company seemingly changed its mind. "We don't think they're good products, and we would never make one. […] One reason is size—the difference in just the real-estate size in 7.9-inches versus 7-inches is 35 percent. When you look at the usable area, it's much greater than that: it's from 50 to 67 percent."
|Right to Left - Kindle Fire HD, Nexus 7|
The Apple brand has been as much about innovation and forward thinking as it has been the "cool" factor of their products. The last truly innovative product released by Apple was the original iPad, more than 2 years ago. Apple has been all but forced into moving into the 7 inch tablet space by the success of their competitors. And what they did was release a product that isn't as good one of their own, similar products released earlier in the same year (iPad 3) and is priced in such a way that it doesn't really give anyone who's not already a loyal Apple fanboy a compelling reason to rush out and get one.
By not innovating and moving first to dominate this smaller tablet space, they have allowed Google (and their partners) as well as Amazon to take money out of their pockets. Without innovation - all you're left with is cool. And cool comes with a hefty price tag these days.