The $329 iPad mini may be selling like hotcakes, but that isn't fazing one of Apple's biggest competitors in the tablet market. According to Amazon, the Kindle Fire HD has not only survived the launch of a smaller, cheaper iPad, it's actually thriving.
That may suggest that the iPad mini and Kindle Fire HD aren't really competing with each other, but don't tell that to Amazon. The online retail giant thinks that the iPad mini is a juicy target and is using its homepage to prove the point.
Currently, visitors to Amazon are being greeted with a homepage promo with the tagline, "Much More for Much Less." Highlighted are some of the key differences between the iPad mini and Kindle Fire HD, such as the fact that Amazon's device sports an HD display with 30% more pixels than the iPad mini.
Adding insult to injury: Amazon is headlining its promo with a scathing quote from Gizmodo. It reads:
...your [Apple's] 7.9-inch tablet has far fewer pixels than the competing 7-inch tablets! You're cramming a worse screen in there, charging more, and accusing others of compromise? Ballsy.
Did Apple just walk into an uppercut?
With the iPad mini following in the footsteps of other Apple products (read: selling out), Amazon's attack on Apple's latest device could be brushed off as a savvy piece of marketing, but nothing more.
But is that really the case?
The iPad mini may be a great device, and one that produces revenue most companies would kill for. Is it the perfect device? No. To make a smaller, cheaper iPad, there is little doubt that compromises were required. Amazon is capitalizing on the iPad mini's imperfections and is using them to make the argument that the Kindle Fire HD provides more value. That's not surprising.
But what should be concerning Apple: it seems to be increasingly offering the competition great opportunities to create comparisons that make Apple products look more ordinary than extraordinary.
As Computerworld's Jonny Evans suggests, "It's not about Apple versus [the competition], it's about creating new product families that do things we don't even know we want to do yet."
By focusing too much on the competition, and, perhaps more importantly, directing our attention to the competition, Apple is arguably fighting the fight it doesn't want -- or need -- to fight. And even if it's still winning the fight, Apple's defense isn't what it used to be, giving Amazon the opportunity to strike and land blows that may not immediately damage Apple's top line, but over time, could damage its aura.