Apple did some things I definitely wasn't expecting today. First, they live-streamed the 'A little more...' event. Then they went way beyond the expected iPad news to introduce a new Retina-display thirteen-inch MacBook Pro, a newly-redesigned iMac and an updated Mac mini.
The big news story of the day, though, was the introduction of the iPad mini to be sold alongside the current iPhone, iPod, and updated iPad (with Retina Display) lineup. I made some predictions in the latest episode of Irrational Confidence and some I was right about. Some I was quite wrong about.
I was right—or close enough to not matter—about the screen size: 7.87 inches diagonal. I didn't mention, but it was virtually common knowledge, that it would have a Lightning connector (it does) and run all current iPad apps (it does). And I was also right about it not being equipped with a retina display. As Mr. Gruber describes the iPad mini screen:
Screen resolution-wise, it’s exactly what I expected for a 163 PPI display in 2012: noticeably nicer than the 133 PPI iPad 1/2, noticeably worse than the 266 PPI iPad 3/4. The iPad Mini display seems brighter and to have better contrast than the iPhone 3GS display, but unsurprisingly, rendered text looks exactly like it does on the 3GS.
But the most important prediction I made—at least the most important to me—was the one I was most wrong about. I stated that Horace Dediu at Asymco called for a base model, 8GB wifi-only, version at $250. I predicted (read: hoped for) that model to be $200. He was right and wrong. His prediction for the 16GB wifi model was $350 (it's $329) and there is no 8GB model. That made me just plain wrong about the prices of the iPad mini.
I have to admit that this is the first Apple product in a while, maybe since the early iPods, that really seemed over-priced to me. If that model, the 16GB, were $250 or if the $329 price tag brought a retina display then I would definitely see the value. As it is, I just can't pull the trigger on $329—minus whatever I could get for a now-three-generations-old iPad 2—device that for me only brings Siri and a lighter, smaller form factor.
That isn't to say that the iPad mini isn't worth the money. As an iPad user I can appreciate the usefulness of this handful of computing power. And if I had that knowledge in my head but still had the $499 I paid for my current iPad it would absolutely be a no-brainer to get a new mini. As it is, though, I don't have an extra $329 laying around just to hold a smaller, lighter iPad. Sorry, Apple. Put a retina-display on it—or drop the price a bit—next year and I'll be on board.