Apple’s Not Saying How Many iPad Minis It Sold


Apple's Not Saying How Many iPad Minis It SoldApple doesn’t hesitate to trumpet its successes, but its first public acknowledgement of iPad mini sales is mostly notable for how much it doesn’t say.

The company’s crowing this morning focused on total iPad opening weekend sales of three million; that’s iPad mini and fourth-generation iPads combined. And, for all we know, still-available iPad 2 sales as well. It’s a healthy number, no doubt, and one that would be the envy of Amazon and Google and Microsoft no matter what the breakdown. Still, the fact that Apple’s chosen not to be more granular—and that it didn’t sell out of what was widely believed to be a supply-constrained product—might give some pause. From the press release:

Apple® today announced it has sold three million iPads in just three days since the launch of its new iPad® mini and fourth generation iPad-double the previous first weekend milestone of 1.5 million Wi-Fi only models sold for the third generation iPad in March.

Apple sold three million total retina iPads its opening weekend in March, but was available in only 12 countries. The iPad mini and iPad 4 were available in 34 countries at launch (and are two products, not one), so it’s not exactly an apples to apples comparison.

Again, three million tablets in three days is a lot of tablets, no question about that. But there’s enough spin here to a top up for days, which makes you wonder if the iPad mini didn’t live up to someone’s—or everyone’s—expectations. [Apple]

Update: Apple has confirmed with AllThingsD that the three million number includes only the current-generation iPad and iPad mini.

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Monday, November 5th, 2012 news No Comments


The Single Biggest Question About the iPad MiniLike the iPhone 5 before it, the unannounced iPad Mini has—through leaks and logic—made itself essentially a known quantity. Let’s assume for a second that we know what it looks like, how big it is, and what guts will power it. It’s a safe assumption.

With just a few weeks until a rumored launch, we have a jigsaw puzzle device that’s missing just one piece: price. And how Apple fills that in will have huge repercussions for the iPad Mini—and the company itself.

This is what we can say with some certainty about Apple’s tiny tablet: It will look somewhere between a large iPhone and a small iPad, will have a 7.85-inch display that’s not quite retina, will share guts with the iPad 2 and iPod touch, and will be announced sometime in the next several weeks. It will likely come in black, anodized aluminum, and possibly white. There could very well be a 3G version.

That makes price the only real question left. It’s also the one Apple’s going to have the hardest time answering.

A Premium Blend

This should be easy. After all, unlike the iPad—which established the 10-inch tablet market to Apple’s devastating advantage—there are already a host of 7-inchers in the world. There have been for some time; long enough, at least, to cement consumer expectations of what a 7-inch tablet should cost. And that amount is between $200 and $250.

So, no problem! Let’s say the iPad Mini starts at 16GB (reasonable, since all the other iPads do). That would put it up against the equivalent $200 Kindle Fire HD, the $230 Nook HD, and the $250 Nexus 7. Assuming Apple doesn’t mind sitting on top of the pricing totem pole, $300 makes perfect sense. Done.

But let’s take one more look at those devices. The Nook HD has the best display of any 7-inch tablet, and an OMAP processor that outclocks the Kindle Fire, and the Nexus 7 (and iPad Mini’s rumored A5). In fact, at that $300 price point you could score a 32GB, 9-inch Nook HD+. Similarly, the Nexus 7 can match any tablet on design, has a blazing Tegra 3 processor and 1GB of RAM muscling a silky Android Jelly Bean platform, a near-retina display, and the full might of the Google Play store behind it. In both cases, at $300 Apple would be asking people to pay significantly more for a product that offers, on many fronts, less.

Then there’s the Kindle Fire HD, from a company with nearly as much brand recognition as Apple, a content ecosystem that beats the crap out of iTunes, a retina display. All for—again, hypothetically—a hundred bucks cheaper. In fact, for $300 you can get 9-inch, retina display Kindle Fire HD, a free month of Amazon Prime, and (in most places, still) not pay taxes on any of it. Buying that over a smaller, less equipped iPad Mini may not be a no-brainer. But it’s closer to one than Apple should be comfortable with.

So why not go cheaper? It’s not that Apple can’t afford to. It’s that it doesn’t appear to want to.

The iPod Precedent

One of the not-so-secrets to Apple’s retail success is that it keeps things like pricing so simple you don’t have to give it much thought. Nearly every product in the Apple Store—the Shuffle, the nano, and the 3G iPads being the exceptions—costs a multiple of $100. Want the slightly better version of something? That’ll be a Benjamin.

It’s such an established system, in fact, that Apple may have priced itself into a corner. An iPad Mini would fall squarely between two devices: the iPod touch and the iPad. It’s expected to share the same processor with both, and will roughly split the difference in size. The 32GB iPod touch—the smallest available model—costs $300. The entry-level 16GB iPad 2 costs $400. It’s nearly impossible to imagine the iPad Mini costing less than the former and more than the latter. It would be confusing, and Apple hates confusion.

The Single Biggest Question About the iPad MiniBut $300 for a 16GB iPad Mini would be the sweet spot, wouldn’t it? Especially given that $100 increment fetish. Start with the $300 32GB iPod touch, add size (+$100), subtract storage (-$100), end up at $300. Start with the $400 iPad 2, subtract size (-$100), keep everything else the same, end up at $300. It also happens to fill in the pricing pattern every iProduct has marched to since forever (left, via Ryan Jones).

When Apple refreshed its iPod touch line-up just last month, it could’ve easily set a lower price in anticipation of the incoming iPad Mini. But it didn’t. And that’s worrisome.

Regression to the Mean

Not too long ago, people happily paid an Apple premium. You’d spend more for the same basic product because you trusted the brand and appreciated the aesthetic. Apple made a lot less money back then.

Now, though? Look around. Intel had to pay out $300 million to ultrabook OEMs to keep up with MacBook Air pricing. It’s commonplace for top-shelf Android handsets to start at $300 on contract; the iPhone still comes in at (a heavily subsidized) $200.

And then there’s the iPad. It’s easy to forget now, but one of the most remarkable things about the original Apple tablet was its price. It was cheap, for what it was, a budget Adonis forged by Tim Cook’s supply chain heroics and Apple Store retail efficiency. It took a year for Apple’s competitors to produce a reasonably decent 10-inch tablet at $500, and another to drive the price down to $400. And still no one buys them.

People buy the Kindle Fire, though. By the millions. The small tablet market is mature and competitive in a way that the 10-inch market—outside of the iPad itself—has never been. The Toshiba Thrive is Glass Joe; the Nexus 7 is Mr. Sandman. And it’s way cheaper than $300.

How Apple prices the iPad Mini matters beyond just the number of units it sells. If it’s less than $300, CEO Tim Cook has keyed into the threat that Amazon and Google pose to its handheld computing empire. And he’ll crush them. If not? Then it’s another sign—along with Maps, along with that $30 dock connector adapter—that the old Apple hubris might be sneaking back in. The kind that dominated back when Apple was cool and niche, not the most successful business in the world.

So maybe the biggest question about the iPad Mini isn’t really price after all. Maybe it’s: What kind of company does Apple want to be?

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Friday, October 5th, 2012 news No Comments


The Only Way to Lock Your New Retina MacBook Pro Is to Make It Fatter, Uglier and Heavier with PlasticThat svelte, pixel-dense MacBook Pro with Retina Display sure is a beaut, ain’t she? Yep, that’s what everyone thinks. Especially thieves. But without a Kensington Security Slot, how oh how will you be able to lock your more than two thousand dollar investment? With ugly, horrible plastic.

It’s the only way. Well, it’s the only way right now as MacLock is the first company to introduce a laptop lock for the new MBP that’s… an inelegant solution, to say the least. The way the lock works is you have to add “an extremely lightweight security skin” to the base of your MBP which if you don’t understand Marketingspeak means “a horrifying plastic layer gets permanently plastered on your beautiful MacBook”. MacLock says the bottom piece, made of polymer, actually improves the cooling of your laptop. Again, Marketingspeak translation: we know this is awful but at least it won’t burn your nuts off. Then a security cable is attached to the plastic laptop condom and then you can pretend you’re safe (when you’re really not) by attaching it to your coffee cup or something.

Yeah, it sucks that Apple didn’t include a Kensington Security Slot with the new MBP (or MBAs, for that matter) but you don’t want to compound that problem by making the new MBP more awful. That’s like solving a problem by creating another one. [MacLocks via 9to5Mac]

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Monday, July 2nd, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

The iPhone five years after launch


Visualized The iPhone five years after launch

In case you somehow missed it, today is an important milestone in technology nostalgia: it’s the fifth anniversary of the original iPhone’s launch. We’ll let you explore the memories of that insane day on your own terms, but ComScore has produced a visual breakdown of just how ownership has grown and shifted over the years. It’s not hard to see that adoption has been on an accelerating curve, especially after the 2010 launch of the Retina display-toting iPhone 4: as of this past May, about three quarters of owners have either the iPhone 4 or the iPhone 4S. And the 2007 edition? Only two percent of all iPhone owners are still actively holding on to the aluminum-clad debut model, which suggests most would rather have Siri than reminisce. Whether you’re a fan or have since moved on to a competitor, the chart is a reminder of just how far one of Steve Jobs’ biggest projects has come.

Visualized: The iPhone five years after launch originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 29 Jun 2012 18:00:00 EDT. Please see our ter ms for use of feeds.

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Saturday, June 30th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

If You Love Your Retina Display, This Will Be Your New Favorite App (AAPL)


movie trailer

The iTunes Movie Trailer app has been updated to support the new iPad’s Retina display.

Users can watch a pretty extensive collection of movie trailers in HD and with the new display, it’s never looked better.

The app is available for free right here.

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Friday, March 23rd, 2012 news No Comments

The New iPad is Hot Because Its Processor is 310 Percent Huger


Maybe the New iPad Is Hot Because Its Processor Is 310% HugerApple’s unapologetically selling a new iPad that’ll go up to 116 degrees in your hands while playing a game. Maybe they should have done something about that, yeah. But the tablet’s new processor is so massive, we shouldn’t be surprised.

Chipworks, which compared the new hotness (am I right?) on the right to the first iPad’s A4 processor on left, has a pretty striking comparison on its hands:

The Apple A4, which by all accounts is still commercially viable given the price of used Apple products on craigslist, measured in at 53.3 mm². Only two (and a half?) generations later, we have the Apple A5X weighing in at 165 mm² – a whopping 310% larger.

It’s worth noting that the A5X is still built using a 45 nm fabrication process—which in human English refers to the size of the tiniest parts each chip is made out of. The smaller the number, the more transistors can be packed onto a processor, which generally translates into a more efficient, cooler chip. Apple didn’t make its CPU more sophisticated in order to crank out more retina display-filling power—it just made it humungous. [Chipworks via Cult of Mac]

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Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 digital No Comments

Made-Up Word Advertising — “Retina Display” — is how Apple Launches New Products

A made-up word “retina display” had every major blog and news outlet scrambling to help explain what it was. Nearly 1.1 Million search results in 19 hours. It was covered on every evening news; look closely at the thousands of related news articles, etc.  And all the major, powerful sites like Gizmodo, MacRumors, Engadget, etc. covered the event.  Similarly 1.2 million search results on the “one more thing” feature — video calling on the iPhone called FaceTime. All entirely free primetime coverage — talk about the tens of millions of impressions achieved with NO media cost — they can definitely used the money saved to ensure Steve Job’s next keynote will have sufficient WiFi bandwidth for all those live blogging the event.

Look at the following graph of relative search volume. The spike in search volume for All-You-Can-Jet (in red) is about 4X higher than the orange line (Footlongs). And the blue line for “retina display”  is 8X. Consider the cost of the paid TV media campaign supporting Subway’s Footlongs compared to the cost savings of the social media launch of JetBlue’s All-You-Can-Jet Pass and the no cost media for Apple.

Of course, not all companies will achieve the same mass coverage, but the techniques for product launches can be the same. Footlongs is an expensive paid media campaign by Subway and note how low the orange line is compared to the TWO no-cost launches.

And one more graph that shows Drobo plus 2 social media success stories — Groupon and FourSquare that even blow away Apple’s retina display — all for FREE.

Other notable examples of using made-up word advertising include JetBlue’s All-you-Can-Jet Pass and Subway’s Footlongs. Further details about JetBlue’s launch of the All-You-Can-Jet Pass is here –

Earlier unfiltered results on Google within 10 hours of launch — there are 3.9 Million results which will be de-duped overnight.

Day 1 Stats – page 1 position 3 in 44.6 million results

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Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 Branding, integrated marketing 1 Comment

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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