RSS
Why the iPad Mini is getting its own October launch event: 4 theories
The Apple rumor mill is convinced we'll get a new iPhone in September, and a new, smaller iPad in October. Why not just have one event?
 
An unofficial conceptual design for the iPad Mini: Apple will reportedly debut a smaller tablet (with a rumored 7.85-inch display) in October.
An unofficial conceptual design for the iPad Mini: Apple will reportedly debut a smaller tablet (with a rumored 7.85-inch display) in October.

In the Steve Jobs era, Apple product launches were must-attend events in the tech world, partly because Jobs would reliably unveil revolutionary gadgets, and partly because the events were fairly rare: One a year, maybe two. But now, according to All Things D, Apple is hosting two events in the coming two months: The release of the iPhone 5 on Sept. 12, and another big product rollout sometime in October. The latter event, swears All Things D, will unveil the much-rumored (but never officially confirmed) iPad Mini, a shrunken version of the immensely popular tablet. If so, why is Apple going to the trouble of holding two big launch parties a few weeks apart? Here, four theories:

1. Apple wants to rain on Microsoft's parade
These twin events are a sign that, after vanquishing Samsung in a high-profile patent case, "Apple has now shifted focus toward Microsoft," says Valli Meenakshi Ramanathan at International Business Times. Apple's old arch-rival is launching its own tablet, the Surface, on Oct. 26, and after months of "dignified silence," Apple is apparently hitting Microsoft with actions, not words. And the Surface isn't Apple's only target, says Ryan Kim at GigaOm. An October unveiling of the iPad Mini could also "steal some of the thunder from Microsoft's Windows 8," the company's biggest launch in years.

2. For marketing purposes, two is better than one
"The iPhone is the single most profitable product in the world today, and without question, it is the most important single product in Apple's lineup," says John Gruber at Daring Fireball. It wouldn't make sense to roll out the new iPhone alongside another product. "Why share the spotlight," or the news coverage and reviews? That's right, says John Paczkowski at All Things D. "Apple has two opportunities to commandeer the tech news cycle ahead of the annual holiday shopping binge, and it's going to take them both," even though it puts its "two biggest hardware announcements of the year" so close together.

3. This is a byproduct of Apple's success
Apple used to have relatively few events because it had a smaller selection of top-tier gadgets to roll out, says GigaOm's Kim. "With Apple's product lineup getting more crowded, it just means a busier calendar of Apple events."

4. If the rumor is wrong, Apple will take the hit
Since "Apple — per usual — hasn't confirmed anything," we're treating this two-event story as what it really is: A rumor, says Rebecca Greenfield at The Atlantic Wire. Remember, in the past, Apple "has had no problem talking up two products at the same time." Last year, for example, we got the iPhone 4S and several spruced-up iPods at the same event. In fact, "we don't even know for sure if Apple will release an iPhone or an iPad this fall." But we do know that Apple has "a vested interest in ensuring the rumors don't get too far off from the truth." Once analysts, investors, and fanboys latch onto "reliable rumors," they get baked into expectations — and share price. "If Apple doesn't deliver two products" now, on two separate days, its stock will take a hit.

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week