Hurricane iPad Mini and 4th Gen iPad Crush Rivals, Apple Sells 3m iPads in 3 Days

For all those who thought the 7.9-inch iPad Mini was not good enough (one complaint – no HD display) or that rivals were stealing a march on the larger 9.7-inch iPads, consumers gave a fitting response by snapping up three million units of the new iPads in just three days.

Since tablet sales are a zero sum game, any iPad sales can only mean a big loss to the already struggling rivals.

The three million iPads sold over the weekend include both iPad Minis and the fourth generation 9.7-inch display iPads.

iPad Mini Sales Off to a Roaring Start

iPad minis and the fourth generation iPads are currently available only in 34 countries including the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and the UK.

No news on when the new iPads will ship in India.

Apple said Demand for iPad mini exceeded the initial supply and while many pre-orders have been shipped to customers, some are set to ship later this month.

iPad Mini with WiFi costs $329 (16GB), $429 (32GB) and $529 (64GB).

WiFi version of iPad (4th Gen) costs $499 (16GB), $599 (32GB) and $699 (64GB).

The WiFi + Cellular version for both iPad mini and the fourth generation iPad is scheduled to ship in a few weeks in the US.

As the wise SI has said time and again, the tablet game is Apple’s to lose, not for rivals to win.

Apple must make horrendous mistakes for it to lose tablet market share.

And given the glowing reviews for the latest iPads that is not going to happen any time soon.

Rival tablet vendors will have to write off massive losses running into hundreds of millions of dollars.

Now, don’t ask. I’m not buying the iPad Mini or the 4th Gen iPad.

SI is perfectly happy with the iPad 2 (32GB).

One Response to "Hurricane iPad Mini and 4th Gen iPad Crush Rivals, Apple Sells 3m iPads in 3 Days"

  1. kreacher   November 5, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    As the wise SI has said time and again, the tablet game is Apple’s to lose, not for rivals to win.

    IMO Apple has already started the downward journey.

    I used to be excited about Apple’s product releases in the past, but the last several iterations of the iPhone as well as the iPad (including the Mini) have hardly introduced anything interesting. More critically Apple has failed to make the big innovations stick. E.g. Siri, which was announced with iPhone 4S would have been big, but it got pilloried by most critics due to its limitations, and while Android users have been brandishing turn-by-turn navigation since 2010, Apple flubbed its lines with its Maps app. The iPhone 5 was truly an attempt to catch up and it rode the coattails of the brand-name more than anything else; the Nokia Lumia release from a few weeks prior to that announced some features like wireless charging and NFC, while Apple pretended that these didn’t exist.

    Fortunately for Apple what goes in its favour is that when it comes to phones people prefer pretty devices and there Apple definitely has the edge over others. The other company that used to make beautiful devices, Sony, is no more a big player, so that label is Apple’s to keep. More than 90% users use phones for basic stuff such as calling, texting, surfing and directions. Only the remaining 10% users have more esoteric expectations from a phone. So when faced with the choice of two phones of comparable prices, more people will pick the prettier phone. Given the subsidies offered by carriers in the US, Apple’s phones tend to have prices comparable to others. However, outside the US where the concept of phone contracts doesn’t sell, its competitors make inroads due to much lower prices.

    Apple has also been making some curious choices. Under Jobs they embraced Intel and made more easily upgradeable computers. But post-Jobs if you look at the new line of products, the Retina MacBooks cannot be upgraded without the manufacturer’s help. They have also been dogmatic in their phasing out of the DVD drive in its machines, and that is a big pain outside US and Europe, where internet speeds are still not there yet. Imagine having to upgrade to Mountain Lion in India – you would be charged for exceeding your bandwidth cap, and you still might not be able to get the download in one piece.

    Undoubtedly Apple is still the 800lb gorilla in the market. But where there were 100 8lb Windows Mobile monkeys earlier, you have 10 80lb Android chimpanzees now. When this comes down to something like 2 400lb orangutans, Apple will have a big problem to worry about, much like how the twin attack of Firefox and Chrome steadily eroded IE’s seemingly unbeatable market share. Responds:

    1. You write: IMO Apple has already started the downward journey….the last several iterations of the iPhone as well as the iPad (including the Mini) have hardly introduced anything interesting.

    My point/post was on the iPad and I will focus first on that (I’ll touch upon your iPhone and general Apple points toward the end of this response).

    It’s unrealistic to expect leapfrogging innovations with every iteration of the iPad tablet.

    Technology’s progress is mostly incremental. From Henry Ford’s Model T to the Ford Taurus you could argue there’s not much innovation because the car still has four wheels, a steering and seats. But we all know that under the hood things have changed and you have AC, CD player, a smoother ride etc.

    Likewise, from the first gen iPad to the 4th gen iPad – Apple has made considerable improvements like HD display, faster processors, better cameras, recently debuted a smaller form factor iPad Mini and, above all, built a extraordinary tablet-specific ecosystem comprising of a gazillion tablet apps and a gazillion accessories.

    What more do you want from a tablet? Name two features that are a must-have in a tablet but are missing in the iPad. It’d be hard.

    It’s to Apple’s credit that it took a form factor device (tablet) that had been tried and discarded by others because of poor market appeal and turned it into a remarkable success thanks to a fine, sleek, owner’s pride-neighbor’s envy device that works smoothly every time you switch it on. After nearly two years of using the iPad 2, even a congenitally querulous person like yours truly has few complaints with it. My Kindle e-book reader looks horribly clunky in comparison.

    Try reading an e-book via the Kindle App on the iPad versus reading the same e-book on the Kindle reader – OMG, the difference is like day and night.

    The iPad is not merely a pretty device. It’s a pretty device that works smoothly 99% of the time. The proof is in the dominant marketshare of the iPad vs rivals like Samsung, Motorola, Asus, Acer and Sony who have ‘sunk’ countless millions into their tablet misadventures and in futile desperation even tried discounting and Grouponing.

    I don’t own a non-iPad tablet but I’ve played with several of them at Best Buy, HH Gregg, Staples etc. None of them come anywhere near the iPad in slickness, ease of use or the breadth of apps.

    The downward journey you mention at the outset is unlikely to happen with the iPad any time in the near future unless the paint starts peeling off the new iPads in 3-months or the glass screen starts crumbling in your hand.

    2. Now for the other Apple products like iMac, MacBook and iPhone.

    Without doubt, Siri and Maps are disasters, not ready for prime time products. Unlikely Steve Jobs would have let that happen but he wouldn’t be turning in his grave because his bones have likely turned to dust by now.

    As for features like Turn-by-Turn, everyone I know in the U.S. has a GPS system, sometimes more than one. Often-times, it’s even integrated into the car depending on the model.

    I don’t see that as a big shortcoming despite the whining of the chattering classes.

    Like you, I too haven’t seen value in either the 4S or 5 to consider upgrading. I’m happy with the iPhone 4.

    3. Considering Nokia Lumia is coming from the Windows stable, I wouldn’t get too excited about the Wireless Charging or other touted features.

    My understanding is that you need to keep the phone on a pad that’s connected to the electric outlet in the wall AND you can’t use the phone during the ‘wireless’ charging process. Source:

    If Steve Jobs had announced wireless charging, I’ll bet that the phone would be charging while it was in his pocket and he’d have mischievously announced the feature at the end with his hallmark “one more thing” phrase. πŸ˜‰

    4. On removing the DVD in the Mac Mini (initially) and in the iMac and Retina MacBook (lately) I’m in two minds.

    I rarely, if ever, use the DVD player on my iMac. Few do in the U.S. these days. When Steve got rid of the floppy drive, there was a similar uproar but floppy drives quickly disappeared.

    But I’m glad my iMac (2011) includes the DVD player even if I don’t use it. You see, I still have the “just-in-case” Indian mentality. πŸ˜‰

    ON RAM upgradability, I’m disappointed that some of the newer Macs including the new 21-inch iMac can’t be upgraded.

    That’s a mighty shame because Apple prices for RAM purchase/installation are extortionist. I recently added 16GB RAM to my iMac (came with 4GB). It cost me just $70 at Amazon and about 10-minutes to do it myself. Apple would have charged $300 or more for the same.

    With or without DVD players, few outside the U.S. are buying the Mac computers. Far too expensive compared to Windows. Apple rightly doesn’t care a f*ck if broadband speeds in India are slow or if there’s a bandwidth cap because the size of the market there is insignificant.

    Apple can easily fix RAM upgradeability issues in MacBook Pro or iMac (21-inch) in the next iteration. But a hard-drive/Fusion Drive upgrade is going to be hard.

    5. Regarding Mac Mini, Steve got rid of the DVD player in the previous iteration itself. The base model in the new Mac Mini now comes with 4GB RAM, which is decent.

    But when you factor in the Magic Mouse, Wireless keyboard and the monitor you’re hitting close to $1,000. Not nice when you can get a full Windows PC for $500.

    But I’d still consider the Mac Mini a good introduction to the Mac environment, more so if you have a spare monitor lying around.

    6. More than anything else, when you talk of Apple starting the downward journey, you ignore the cult following Apple still enjoys (in the U.S.).

    Even during the dark days of the company in the 1990s when Sculley, Mike Spindler and Gil Amelio were at the helm, this group stuck with the company and with Steve’s return in 1997 it was like the coming of the Messiah.

    This cult following has only grown with the introduction of newer products like iPod, iMac, iPad etc.

    It’ll be a long while before this cult dissolves. But it pays to have charisma like Steve jobs did in oodles. Tim Cook looks and acts like he came out of a can! πŸ™

    7. When a company has over $100 billion in the bank and loyalty of thousands of application developers, the “downward journey” you speak of is going to be a long one because the company will adopt tactics that it hasn’t previously (large scale acquisitions for one, a strategy that Apple has hitherto eschewed).

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