On October 23, Apple will announce yet another gadget on the heels of its recently botched iOS 6 operating system and its much anticipated iPhone 5.
iPad Mini, a smaller version of Apple's pioneering tablet, will likely hit the shelves in time for the holidays. And though the rumors and prototypes are not as pervasive as the iPhone 5 ones, it is assumed the new gadget will be smaller, thinner and probably with lower resolution and (hopefully) a lower price.
Far from being a game-changer product a la iPhone, iPad Mini will serve the purpose of expanding Apple's product line the way iPod Nano or iPod touch have done in the past. This, in turn, will help market the highly coveted brand among alternate (i.e. younger and lower income) consumers who otherwise would flock to cheaper alternatives.
However, while iPad Mini might not be a revolutionary gadget in itself, the upcoming Apple product could be very telling as to what's the Cupertino company's strategy during its post-Steve Jobs phase.
In my opinion, the iOS Maps fiasco highlighted the different kind of leadership style Apple is following during its post-Steve Jobs incarnation. The back and forth between Apple's hard stance against now competitor Google and the way Apple CEO Tim Cook ended up apologizing and suggesting users to download Google Maps was erratic.
Even more troubling is Apple's seemingly shift from pioneer to follower. While historically the Cupertino company has been known for its innovation, setting the pace in a market where competitors have come across as hopeless Apple wannabes, it is now they who are following their competitors' marketing steps -- as iPad Mini is a response to the positive feedback smaller tablets such as Kindle Fire are getting from the tablet market. Is this the end of Apple as we know it?