Unintended Consequences of the iPad mini

| Particle Debris

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

Today, on the first anniversary of the passing of Steve Jobs, many of us honored the man. If you’d like to explore more of the life of Mr. Jobs, here’s a great list of books and videos you may want to acquire.

Even though Bing only has 16 percent of the searches compared to Google’s 66 percent, Bing accounts for about 60-65 percent of the redirects to malicious sites. Bing isn’t doing a great job of filtering here, according to TechCrunch,”Bing Users Disproportionately Affected By Malware Redirects. Also, it’s noteworthy that attackers are getting the most success from poisoned images rather than embedded website code. So the next time you see a security note that relates to a “maliciously crafted image,” don’t dimiss it. Those images can cause buffer overflows in your OS, insert code, and then seize control of your smartphone. For example....

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Do you sleep with your iPad? The headline below is meant to be humorous, but according to the Pew Research Center, there are people who are using their iPads, during non-work hours, early morning or late at night, to access more news than they ever did before. And while the article doesn’t go into it, we already know that many users read, in bed, before going to sleep. Here’s the report on how people are using iPads: “Let me guess: You sleep with your iPad, don’t you?”

I am not fond of articles that purport to tell Tim Cook how to live up to Steve Jobs. However, this article is just charming enough and has just enough truth to it to warrant your attention. The fact that I wish I had written it should tell you all you need to know. “What Apple's Tim Cook Needs To Learn From Commander Riker.”

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Let’s talk about some real unintended consequences.  What if people decided that the 7 inch form factor is perfect for all of their data needs and dump their iPhones for a dumbphone?  This isn’t an Apple exclusive risk as pads get smaller and better able to do things we’re use to seeing a little bit smaller.

As for booting the Kindle, Nexus 7, and other 7 inch pads out of the market, Apple would have to stoop to competitively pricing the iPad mini, which will never happen.


It needs to have voice from day one. I want a phablet. I recent sold my iPad, though I must say that I’m doing really well with using just the iPhone 5. I’d still prefer a 7” device.

OK, if this EVER goes through, fix your fn form. The captcha isn’t working. I have tried submitting this now about 100 times.

Perry Clease

“What if people decided that the 7 inch form factor is perfect for all of their data needs and dump their iPhones for a dumbphone? “

They won’t. Do you remember what pain it was to manage address books in dumb phones. Furthermore my iPhone is an iPad Mini.


I have actually considered dumping my smartphone for a cheap ass dumphone depending on how the 8” iPad turns out, considering how little I use my nexus as an actual phone and how sick I am of my monthly $100 bill to use it for surfing the net at work.

Its not quite big enough to be used as a tablet conveniently, but I’ll still feel awfully silly paying for and carrying around two devices so similar in function.



Let’s revisit that piece by Alex Knapp on what Tim Cook needs to learn from Commander Riker.

As much as I like Star Trek (you mightn’t have noticed), and as apposite as are some of the points that Mr Knapp make regarding the need for Tim Cook ‘to boldly go’, or in this case, ‘to boldly lead’, the analogy is not exact enough for the lessons to be taken without caveat and substantial modification, or in some cases, to be taken at all.

To begin with, let’s start with perhaps the most important differentiator. The Enterprise exists within a wider entity called the Federation, with its own set of rules and standards, culture and ethos. In this sense, the Enterprise is a piece, a product if you will, of a larger ‘enterprise’. Whatever the fate of the Enterprise - and this is the key point - the Federation will continue to exist and, indeed, can make another Enterprise (remember the fate of the Defiant in ST DS9) without skipping a beat. Riker, in other words, the success of the Federation, the umbrella entity, is not critically dependent on the success or failure of its flagship (I know, this episode made it appear so, but in reality - not the case). Apple, on the other hand, is more akin to the Federation than it is to the Enterprise. This places a yet heavier burden on Tim Cook, or any CEO, as the fate of the larger entity, Apple itself, is lashed to the perception (not necessarily the reality) of the success or failure of Apple’s activities, products and services, all of which reflect on the leadership, which ultimately is Tim Cook. Just as the Federation defines the context within which the Enterprise operates,  Apple defines the context within which all of its products and output operate.

Therein is the conundrum. People expect certain behaviours and practices from the Federation (e.g. The Prime Directive); the Enterprise captaincy permits latitude for unorthodoxy. People have come to expect certain things from Apple (e.g. A commitment to product detail that defines excellence; the best in class user experience), without necessarily understanding the interplay between systematic product upgrade (iPhone is a disappointment because it’s not novel enough) and introduction of the next big thing (a new product or a break from the older version of an existing product or the combination of products that trump the market - e.g. iPod, iTunes and the online music store). All of these contribute to ‘best’ user experience, but in different ways. When people inappropriately conflate product upgrades and the next big thing, and don’t get what they expected, they may question their user experience - which has a subjective component. Apple discontinuing a product or changing something fundamental is less like Riker adopting unorthodox battle tactics, and more like the Federation dropping the Prime Directive. The orthodox faithful (who should collectively slap themselves for being ‘orthodox’ in the first place) will, in shock and horror, apostatise.

Second, that ‘book’ that Riker should throw out is all about battle strategy and tactics - for the Enterprise. The book that SJ wrote is the founding document, if you will, of the Federation - its raison d’être and the rules by which it prosecutes its mission. This is Apple’s DNA. Cook can no more throw that out than can Riker (or Picard or anyone) throw the Federation’s guiding principles, what define it. For Apple specifically, this means its commitment to producing goods that the people at Apple themselves would want to use, and being committed to the best product, irrespective of specs, features and cost (within reason). If something doesn’t contribute to the best user experience because its performance is too variable, or it is not yet mainstream, then don’t use it, whatever the competition do.

Rather, it is by applying these principles, I believe, that Cook and Apple can out-innovate and out-compete their rivals because, at the end of the day, it is what the consumers, Apple’s clients, feel about that user experience that will win and sustain loyalty and mindshare, let alone sales.

Tim Cook needs to keep that book.

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