Apple’s Announcements Are Amazon’s Gain

Immediately after the iPad Mini was announced, one of my coworkers asked me what I thought. I told her it seemed like a neat device, but the price came in higher than I had expected. She was a bit surprised at the price as well, and she basically said at that level she was more inclined to look at the Kindle Fire.

Apparently she wasn’t the only one.

According to The Verge, the Kindle Fire had its best sales day ever after the iPad Mini was announced. This doesn’t surprise me too much, as I think the iPad Mini was so hyped, and so built up, that people began to believe it was everything to everyone. When it came in higher than the competition, all the people who had convinced themselves it was a “budget iPad” were disappointed, and they moved on to the more affordable Fire.

This really highlights how well Amazon has promoted the Kindle Fire. It may not offer everything the iPad Mini does, but it’s a decent 7 inch media tablet, and it comes in at a much lower price. Plus, with the addition of Bluetooth and a few other tweaks, it has the potential to offer extra productivity options as well. Most importantly, when people were disappointed in the price of the iPad Mini, the Kindle Fire was where they turned next.

Now, I’m sure the Nexus 7 and the NOOK HD had some bumps in sales too, but I can’t see someone who doesn’t follow tech circles immediately jumping on one of those over a Kindle. Amazon has been running Kindle ads like crazy throughout prime time, and they had a big, splashy event to announce their fall updates to the Kindle. Google is busy readying their new Nexus 10 (though that’s been delayed thanks to Hurricane Sandy), and Barnes and Noble apparently thinks consumers spend inordinate amounts of time reading press releases quietly emailed at midnight. Of the three major 7 inch tablets, the Kindle Fire most likely has the biggest mainstream recognition, and so it’s not surprising that buyers looking for a budget tablet jumped on the Fire when the iPad Mini didn’t fit the bill.

I think the iPad Mini is a bit too in-between for my tastes. It’s a bit pricey for a media tablet, and for just a bit more you can get a full size iPad with more power and a better screen; but to each his own. These supposed Kindle Fire sales make me very curious about something else, though: did Apple see a big uptick in regular iPad sales after the iPad Mini was announced? We’ll never know for sure…but I’m willing to bet a big segment who were holding off to see how the Mini turned out (and who didn’t buy a Fire) jumped on the new iPad 4 instead…


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7 replies

  1. I felt the same way, Carly; I found the price-point to be a bit high in the face of a similar nook or kindle device. Yes, I know that the iPad “does more”, but Amazon has already grabbed the 7″ market space, and now Apple is coming in at, what, $150 above the Fire? That seems really bizarre to me.

    • Why bizarre? Apple is placing a premium on their products and is looking to make money… Which they will. It was a strategic decision not to go head to head with the budget tablets.
      Anyone who is surprised is kidding themselves and doesn’t know Apple. There was NO WAY the iPad mini was coming in at less than the new iPod touch. No way!!
      Wait a few months and returns will be sub-$300.

  2. Apparently CNet is saying the same thing happened with the Galaxy S3 when the iPhone 5 came out! Interesting that at this point no other companies are coming up in discussion.

    • That actually makes sense if you think about brand recognition. Samsung gets the Galaxy name out constantly, and they hammered their too-cool-for-iPhone ads quite a bit ahead of the iPhone 5. Just like non-techies know the Fire and the iPad, they know Galaxy and iPhone.
      Samsung and Amazon aren’t afraid to promote the heck PI of their products even if it means being overshadowed by a perceived juggernaut like Apple…and clearly it’s paying off for them.

  3. I do think that Amazon dropped the ball in one area, though: I cancelled my 32GB Fire HD order. I ordered it forever ago (over a month), and it still hadn’t shipped — delivery was expected this week. I cancelled because of the iPad mini — and because I was so tired of waiting for it that I forgot what had excited me about it in the first place. =P

    IF I had had the Fire HD in hand before the mini was announced, I think I might have kept it.

  4. We are thinking about iPad minis as gifts for our kids this year. They are both at university, and both this semester purchased e-book versions of one of their textbooks in order to save money. They are currently reading on their Macbooks, I believe using the Kindle app.

    I like the idea of the iPad mini over a Kindle or Nook device precisely because it gives them the flexibility of buying ebooks from either Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Apple. I looked at the “real” textbooks that they bought this semester and Amazon seemed to have them over the iBookstore – a surprise, considering that Apple I thought was pushing iPads for this precise use. Still, I think that the iPad mini gives them a lot more flexibility, and a lot more power for other uses, such as great third party apps, and WiFi tethering for their laptops if they are away from WiFi (one of my kids is an athlete who travels to events about half of the weekends during the school year.)