Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller believes the iPad Mini warrants a higher price over its rivals since it offers higher quality.
In an interview with Reuters, Schiller defended the price of the new 7.9-inch tablet, pointing out that customers have been willing to pay more for the 9.7-inch iPad over competing devices.
"The iPad is far and away the most successful product in its category. The most affordable product we've made so far was $399 and people were choosing that over those devices," Schiller told Reuters. "And now you can get a device that's even more affordable at $329 in this great new form, and I think a lot of customers are going to be very excited about that."
The iPad Mini starts at $329 for the 16GB W-Fi-only version, with higher prices for more storage and 4G LTE support. Rival 7-inch tablets, such as Google's Nexus 7, Amazon's Kindle Fire HD, and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2.0 start at $199, though the lowest-cost Nexus 7 and Galaxy Tab models come with only 8GB of memory.
Schiller staged his own comparison test at yesterday's iPad event, pitting an iPad Mini against the Nexus 7. The marketing exec naturally declared the iPad the winner, mostly due to its larger size. At 7.9 inches, the iPad Mini offers more screen real estate than the competition.
Schiller also touted the slick finish of the iPad Mini, as well as its thin and light design.
"Others have tried to make tablets smaller than the iPad and they've failed miserably," Schiller proclaimed at the event. "These are not great experiences."
Yes, the iPad Mini is bigger than its rivals. But is that truly an advantage? I like the size of my Nexus 7, both the entire tablet and the screen. The 7-inch display strikes me as ideal for reading e-books, but it also presents widescreen movies and TV shows quite nicely.
As Schiller said, consumers haven't shied away from paying more for Apple products. But Apple's dominant share of the tablet market has gradually declined as more low-cost Android devices have popped up. Price-conscious consumers may think twice about spending $329 on a small tablet with $199 rivals around to tempt them.