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Did Apple Just Inadvertently Boost Nexus 7 Sales?

Steven Blum
11

In Apple's iPad Mini presentation yesterday, the company was ruthless when comparing the iPad to its Android rivals. "Others have tried to make tablets smaller than the iPad and they've failed miserably," said Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller. The presentation then focused on how the iPad Mini compares to the Nexus 7. Apple put a few plain looking Android tablet apps on the big screen and then showed them side-by-side with the same apps on the iPad. Predictably, the apps looked better on the iPad than the Android tablet. The crowd "oooed" and Apple made themselves look like the kings of the tablet market.

But now that the presentation is over, some are wondering whether Apple may have shot themselves in the foot by comparing their newest member of the iPad family to the Nexus 7. Haven't they inadvertently handed the limelight to Android, highlighting a device that costs less, offers a better resolution display and a faster processor?  Come Christmas, shoppers will see the Nexus 7 sitting next to the iPad Mini on Wal Mart's shelves and wonder whether or not they should purchase one. After all, it's $130-180 less.

The Nexus 7's screen – the number one factor all rational shoppers consider when purchasing a tablet – is 1200 x 800p, with a PPI density of 216. Apple's iPad Mini, meanwhile, has a 1024 x 768p resolution, which seems retrograde for a tablet released in late 2012. You better believe shoppers will notice just by picking up the device. And now, thanks to Apple, they may actually try out an Android tablets.

I'm not saying I'm positive that the Nexus 7 has a better screen than the iPad Mini — we'll have to test it to see for sure – but at least on paper, it looks superior.

Moving on to the processor, the Nexus 7 is certainly no slouch. I'm not sure how the A5 will compare but I'm pretty sure it'll be a relatively similarly smooth UI experience. If the average consumer didn't know about the Nexus 7, you better believe they do now.

When it comes to apps, Android owners have responded that there are plenty which look great on tablets. Bloomberg, Evernote, Fancy, Field Trip, Google Chrome, Google Maps, HuluPlus, Pocket, Zagat, and – of course – just about any game out there will look great on an Android tablet. Eric McBride profiled 10 of the best Android tablet apps here and here. You should check out the posts if you get the chance. But of course, we can see Apple's point. There are plenty of apps that look better on the iPad than on Android tablets. That's just the truth. Android's tablet app ecosystem is growing, but its a long way to being able to compete with Apple.

But the most compelling reason of all to go with a Nexus tablet over an iPad Mini is the price. We're pretty sure right now that Google is about to release a 32GB version of the Neuxs 7 for $250 and drop the price of the 16GB version of $200. That means, it will cost $130 less than the iPad Mini. Oh, and if consumers are looking for a tablet with 32GB of storage, they're going to have to spend $430 to buy the iPad Mini. That's over $180 more than a comparable Nexus 7 device. That's insane.

I know I may have said that Apple had presented a serious threat to Android budget tablets last night and I still believe that's true. But at such a low price point, and with such a big head start, I think Android tablets are going to be just fine. And who knows, maybe some people are even going to recognize the Nexus 7 from Apple's presentation and buy one instead of the iPad Mini. They'll find that the device offers a customizable experience for a whole lot less money. And then maybe (when hell freezes over, perhaps) Google will write Apple a check, thanking them for the free marketing. Hey, crazier things have happened, right?

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Comments

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  • Dvoraak Oct 24, 2012 Link

    I don't know if it's possible for Apple to shoot themselves in the foot. Everyone already knows there's plenty of quality competition out there and after completely dropping the ball in multiple ways with the iPhone 5..... they set another sales record. This one will fly off the shelves like everything else they've released and Google's OEMs will play their usual roles, shouting from the sidelines, BUT WE'RE OBVIOUSLY BETTER!'. The problem is it's not better in ways that matter to 30 percent of the market. Make something demonstrably better (and demonstrably different from all the other Androids), then market the hell out of your differences. Half the OEMs haven't figured out how to compete with each other, let alone competing with Apple. I haven't used a nexus but, from a marketing point of view, only a complete techie will see vanilla Android as a big selling point. What's left is price and features.... and that hasn't dented Apple sales yet.

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  • Rutger Oct 24, 2012 Link

    Suddenly the PPI isn't interesting anymore for Apple, but the screen size is. *facepalm*

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  • SimonC Oct 24, 2012 Link

    Half the problem when you have too similar looking devices competing regardless of price or spec is that there is a large proportion of consumers out there with the mindset that Apple is the 'end and be all' when it comes to tablets and phones hence the common branding iSheep. Until these alternatives really really push out the message by TV or public demonstrations in store that Apple isn't always the best device then these people will continue buying these shiny simplistic toys.

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  • ljhaye Oct 24, 2012 Link

    Lets not underestimate the importance of cellular data when discussing a mobile tablet. Nexus 7 needs to have a cellualr data option especially since the new Kindle Fire HD 8.9" will be sporting it. Apple makes premium products and it shows. Consumers don't care about processor X vs. Y, but you already know that. The apps are what drive the iPad and it will be the same for the iPad Mini. Don't forget that next year iPad Mini will allow Apple to offer this current generation of mini at $229-$279 price range. We've seen it with both the iPad and iPhione already. These tablets from kindle, nook, and google are like the modern day HP, Dell, and Lenovo fighting over scraps while apple continues to mint money.

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  • SimonC Oct 24, 2012 Link

    I wouldn't say its Apps thats responsible for Apples current position in the market, its brand awareness via clever marketing. We've all seen the slick adverts on TV highlighting that it's fun and cool to own.

    Samsung's recent GS3 adverts have to some degree proven that if you make something look cool using well known celebs people will buy them regardless.

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  • ljhaye Oct 24, 2012 Link

    @SimonC I agree but my point is in regards to the appeal of the iPad to the average consumer. The iPad's key differentiator is its app selection. Many people buy the iPad because of the quality of games.

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    Nick N. Oct 25, 2012 Link

    Four of the ten headlines currently on the AndroidPIT homepage mention Apple or the iPad Mini. Please tell me again how Apple have "inadvertently handed the limelight to Android".

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  • Patrick R. Oct 25, 2012 Link

    I doubt apple did ansroid any favors in that comparison, simply because I think anyone who watched that event already had a decision as to what tablet to get. Apple fans waiting for the latest device and Android fans checking out the competition. At this point in time, the market segment composed of those "sitting on the proverbial fence" is rapidly shrinking as people invest in their ecosystems more and more and neither Apple nor Google can basically "make a mistake" that will trigger a significant exodus of users to the other camp - as evidenced by Apple Maps and iOS 5. Only a game changing feature or an epic blunder in software and hardware will do that.

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  • CJ Brown Oct 29, 2012 Link

    Factors consumers need to ask themselves -

    1) is thinner more important then what a device can (or can't) do?
    2) connection and speed (@ least wifi - 4G lte enabled)?
    3) audio output (with, or without, headphones - ear buds) quality"
    4) cost?
    5) resolution?
    6) storage of content (internal, external sd card)?


    I can't turn an Apple Cult Consumer into an Android fan, but I can take the time to appreciate what Amazon has done with Kindle & what Google has done with Android Nexus (& to be fair, what Microsoft has done with Windows 8) ...

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  • Wayne McGinn Nov 1, 2012 Link

    I own a Asus tablet and have many hours using my grown daughter's I pad and I have to say that they do the same things, operate alot similar but that is it. I personally would not buy the I pad knowing what I know. The Asus is faster, just as good of resolution, and I think it runs a lot of apps better. That said people still buy Apple because they seen it on TV and have no idea what they are buying or why they are buying it. It is all HYPE.

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