Dispatches from the Digital Revolution

Stuck in the middle: Tablets for low-income consumers

The new iPad mini projected on a screen at an Apple event in San Jose


Apple’s launch of the iPad mini revealed what some might call a nod to the competition with its lower price point—though, granted, not that much of a nod to the competition. Though the iPad mini is still a good $130 more expensive than the Kindle Fire, it marks the lowest overall price for Apple iPad products (the next-lowest price is $499).

Could it be a move to try and capture more of the market of consumers in lower income brackets—i.e., the target demographic of the Kindle family? Possibly. According to a recent CNNMoney article, JPMorgan analysts note that the mini will appeal to “more price-sensitive users and the e-reader crowd.”

The trend toward tablets for the common man isn’t limited to the United States, however. Entrepreneur Paulo Xu released a 300-reais (about $160) tablet last year in his home country of Brazil through his company Digital Life. According to the Guardian‘s coverage of his Brazilian tablet, Digital Life’s low price points have “brought the internet into hundreds of thousands of low-income homes for the first time.”

And as mobile becomes increasingly important, perhaps this is just where tech companies should be focusing: getting the Internet into as many hands as possible—especially in giant, developing markets like Brazil and China. Because as we see Google, Apple, and Amazon all entering the content game, it’s clear that this is no longer a question of profiting from hardware only. Devices have become a gateway to the wonderful world of content—specifically, the purchasing thereof.

So while the price tag on the iPad Mini may still be a bit high for low-income consumers, perhaps we’re seeing the first step in a shift toward Amazon’s much-criticized strategy: Give them the devices, and the money will come.

About Leah Thompson

Writing and publishing professional in the Boston area.


This entry was posted on November 7, 2012 by in Technology and tagged , , , , .

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