Unintended Consequences of the iPad mini

There has been plenty of exploration of the (rumored) iPad mini, what it might look like, the bezel, the screen resolution, and so on. There have also been some analyses possible pricing and the competition with 7-inch tablets from Google and Amazon. But what about unintended consequences? There may be more that we thought.

If Apple does release an iPad mini, (or as I like to call it, the iPad 7), what will be the impact on the rest of the industry? Here’s a list from Don Reisinger: “iPad Mini: 10 Ways It Will Change the Tablet Market.” While the list is not surprising in its content, it does have food for thought. After all, sometimes the most unexpected events arise from a combination of two low-level, innocent looking events.

So when I see a list like that, I pick two or three and try to estimate what the combined effect will be.

What if Apple’s 7-inch iPad ultimately drives the small Kindle Fire and the Nook out of the market? Might that open the door to book publishers to finally deliver their own tablets, designed specifically for schools? Or might the 7-inch iPad itself, with the right price, be the trigger that ignites a more widespread use of tablets in K-12?

What if Apple so fully succeeds in legitimizing and popularizing the 7-inch market that the 9-10-inch tablets slowly fall out of favor? What effect would that have on Microsoft? Here’s a company desperate to hedge its bets in the Post-PC era with the Surface tablets.

What if Apple, in keen competition with less capable 7-inch tablets adds 3G and voice? How will that affect the carriers, and in turn, affect AT&T and FaceTime over cellular? Will every tablet, then, be required to have 3G voice capability in order to compete?

I don’t think it’s just a matter of Apple shutting the door, one that the company left wide open last Christmas, on the 7-inch tablet competitors. I think there may be a raft of unintended consequences any time Apple jumps into a new market space. It’ll be interesting to see what happens as we go along.

Tech News Debris

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