Explaining Southern California's economy

3 reasons the Apple iPad Mini won't fail

Apple Introduces Latest iPad

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SAN JOSE, CA - OCTOBER 23: Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller announces the new iPad Mini. It's smaller and lighter and $329 for a 16GB WiFi-only version. And it arrives just in time for the holidays!

Apple is currently rolling out some new products in San Francisco. So far, we've seen a new MacBook Pro and a thinner and sexier iteration of the iMac, which is just another word for "planned obsolescence" in Apple-land. 

But the main event is yet to come: A smaller iPad, about 8 inches in size, called "iPad Mini."

Unlike the iPhone 5, which prior to launch I argued was doomed — DOOMED! — the iPad Mini/Air/Junior/Deuce/Whatever could succeed wildly. Here's why...

Apple owns the tablet market, so it's no big deal to steal share from itself. Apple has sold 100 million iPads in the two years since its introduction. As I and others have pointed out, there is no tablet market. There's an iPad market. However, since the arrival of the Kindle Fire and now the Microsoft Surface, there is some pressure on Cupertino. iPad Mini naysayers argue that a smaller, cheaper tablet will cannibalize the Big Boy. Probably true. But the thing is, Apple can afford to cannibalize the iPad, with a base iPad Mini that's $329 in the 16 GB WiFi-only version. And if it steals some lower-end market share from Amazon ... well, there's nothing wrong with that.

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UPDATE: Apple announces new iPad mini

Apple Introduces Latest iPad

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller announces the new iPad mini during a special event at the historic California Theater Tuesday morning. The iPad mini is Apple's smaller version of the popular iPad tablet.

UPDATE: $329, for the 16GB WiFi-only version. Shipping early November. Pre-orders October 26. And it will have cellular capability.

UPDATE: It's the iPad mini. Apple has spoken. It's going to be 7.9 inches (the ipad Maxi is 9.7 inches — neat, huh?). Apple has also rolled out a new MacBook Pro, a new Mac mini, something about textbooks that seemed to greatly excite CEO Tim Cook, and a new iMac.

PREVIOUSLY: Apple is live-streaming today's much-anticipated but not exactly all that secretive reveal of the iPad mini. BUT the company is only livestreaming it through Apple's Safari browser! So switch now, Chrome and Firefox people! I'm not even sure what you Opera and Rockmelt folks are supposed to do. Explorer? Yeah...

If there is a big surprise in store, it could be that the iPad mini won't be called the iPad mini, but rather something like the "iPad Air," to ally it with the MacBook of the same name.

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September housing starts, more on Pandit, Microsoft prices Surface

Microsoft Surface

Microsoft

The new Microsoft Surface tablet. Microsoft will price it a levels competitive with the Apple iPad.

Builders haven't been building this fast since July 2008: "Construction activity rose in three of the nation's four regions. The biggest increases came in the West and South. Housing starts increased by nearly 20 percent in both regions." (Commerce Dept.)

Maybe buying Merrill Lynch wasn't such a great idea. Bank of America suffers an expensive quarter: "Overall, Bank of America reported a profit $340 million versus a profit of $6.23 billion a year earlier." (WSJ)

North American energy boom continues: "Exxon Mobil agreed on Wednesday to buy Celtic Exploration for about $3.1 billion in cash and stock, as it sought to expand its presence in the energy-rich shale formations of western Canada." (DealBook)

The beginning of the end for the PC? Intel takes a hit in the quarter: "The big chip maker, whose microprocessors power most desktop PCs and laptops, said it is significantly scaling back production in the fourth quarter in response to weaker than expected demand." (WSJ)

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Q&A: What is Amazon unveiling tomorrow in Santa Monica?

Amazon Introduces New Tablet At News Conference In New York

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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos introduces Kindle Fire last September. What new forms will the device take? We'll probably find out tomorrow in L.A.

All Amazon has done is invite the media to an event at a hanger at the Santa Monica airport tomorrow morning. But chances are pretty good that we're going to be seeing some tablets. This won't be like the similarly mysterious Microsoft event in June at which we were introduced to the technology giant's first-ever ready-for-market tablet, Surface. Amazon already has Kindles and Kindle Fires. So what are we likely to see?

Q: Will we get a bigger Kindle Fire?

A: Nope. CNET already reported that a Kindle Fire Big isn't in Amazon's immediate future. Rather, the company will be updating the current Kindle Fire with a new model and introducing a second model. Both will be 7-inch tablets. 

Q: Does it really make sense for Amazon to treat this as a media event?

A: Apple has an iPad Mini and the new iPhone 5 coming soon. The iPad Mini will hit in October and the iPhone arrives this month. Microsoft just planted its stake with Surface and then there are all the Android tablets that aren't Kindle Fires (which is built on Android but customized for Amazon). Amazon needs to stay in the game here. 

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Dell buys Quest for $2.4 billion, and the enterprise market gets hotter

Dell Opens New R&D Center In Silicon Valley And Holds Career Fair

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The new Dell research and development facility in Santa Clara, California. The Texas-based tech firm announced that's it's buying Orange County's Quest Software for $2.4 billion.

Texas-based Dell Computer just announced that it's buying Orange County's Quest Software, for a very respectable $2.4 billion, roughly a $422-million premium on what the company was considered to be worth a few months back, when Dell offered $23 a share and kicked off a bidding war that pushed Quest's value to $28 a share.

The consensus view is that Dell is buying future growth. The so-called "enterprise" market is getting hot, as the consumer Web space has become a lot more crowded, both for desktop software and new mobile applications. Businesses have more complex needs, however, and often seek out custom solutions — and they do it often enough to make this a roughly $250-billion market, according to Gartner, an IT advisory company.

Oracle, IBM, and SAP are well-known in this field. But Microsoft is actually the biggest player. Dell, on the other hand, made its name for building PCs to order. And with the advent of smartphones and tablets, that market is fading. It may take a while to completely vanish, but established PC makers are eyeing other lines of business and spending aggressively to acquire them. Dell alone has been buying at a decent clip, spending down $15 billion in cash last year to around $13 billion in the first quarter of this year.

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