How will the iPad mini affect Social media use?
Apple announced the launch of the new iPad mini last week, joining the 7 to 8 inch tablet devices already made by Amazon and Google. With growth expected in this area of mobile devices, how will this affect how Social media developers prioritise which platforms they code for and are users more likely to use the mobile products for connecting with their friends? Let’s explore the factors that influence mobile Social use.
iPad mini vs thecompetition (16GB equivalents)
Cheapest iPad mini at £269 vs Kindle Fire HD £159 vs Google Nexus 7 £199
Apple purposely priced their new mini iPad with a premium of £70 over their nearest rival Google, which was a bold move and one that investors did not agree with as Apple’s share price instantly dropped. Investors believe that people will still buy in the millions but not as many as they would like to justify the market cap for the largest company in the world. That being said, there are 2things that really make the iPad mini stand out from the rest.
iPad mini is well built
The first reason is the exceptional build quality that Apple fans simply adore. The simplicity of design combined with premium Aluminium finish help justify the price hike from it’s plastic competitors. It’s worth remembering that both Amazon and Google are both making their devices at cost (as they sell apps, books and movies to make it worth the effort) whilst Apple has to make a profit from its devices.
Apple iTunes is better than Google Play
The second reason why Apple can justify the price tag is the iTunes ecosystem. As a neutral user of the different ecosystems of several devices, it is clear that iTunes has no parallel when it comes to apps built for Apple iPads and not just blown up versions of the iPhone equivalent. What many app developers have done is to merge iPad and iPhone apps into one which makes – a better value solution for users with multiple Apple mobile devices as they can buy an app once and install on several devices. Users don’t have to pay for an iPad app after they have already shelled out for the iPhone equivalent.
Google Play does something similar, but the main difference is that developers have to make their programs compatible with many more devices in many sizes from many manufacturers including Samsung, HTC, LG and Sony. As a result of the added complexity, there are very few apps that get developed for tablet devices specifically on Google’s Android platform.
Social media platforms on ios6 vs Android
There are only a few different sizes to code for on Apple’s ios6 platform making it the first choice for almost all developers. This rings true for Social media platform development (with the exception of Google+ which definitely works better on Android devices).
I have 4 Facebook apps (Facebook, Messenger, Camera and Pages) on my iPhone but only 2 on my Android based Samsung Galaxy SII. Because the Apple hardware is standardised, developers can create new social networks much quicker. There are several iterations of Instagram style apps available on my iPhone and iPad yet there are very few to pick from on the Google Play store. Vyclone allows several iPhone users to record video in one place, let’s say a small concert. The users can then find everyone else’s footage from the event to cut their own version of the event from multiple camera angles. This complex technology would take a long time to standardise across the hundreds of differently spec’d Android devices out there.
Amazon use the Android platform with their own Kindle makeover and app store. Both Google and Amazon try hard to offer incentives to download their apps— they may make certain apps free for a limited time or they might allow developers to offer their apps for free in return for mobile ads in the program. Even so, the fact that Apple have so many more developers increases competition and drives down prices for launch free apps to promote their other offerings. Apple ios Developers can also charge for in app purchases.
Many socially connected functions are available on Android devices, however Facebook and Twitter are completely integrated into the Apple ios6 platform making it easy for people to sign up to new apps via Facebook connect instead of the fiddly set up of a new username and password with fat thumbs on a small device. Take a photo with your new Apple iPad mini and you can instantly tweet it out to all your followers with your GPS location attached.
A report from Flurry earlier this year suggests that Social network usage is increasing on mobile devices coming second only to gaming. All of the top Social networking sites recognise this and are trying hard to find ways to monitise through their mobile apps and mobile browsers. Many games developers began with digital banner ads in game but they have not proved popular with users as it takes users out of the game they are playing and sometimes they did not intentionally mean to click on the ads (normally due to fat thumb syndrome). Some games developers have moved on to incentivised in game shortcuts where users can view a video (usually of another for another game) in a resting area of the game to earn credit toward speeding up progression in the game they are playing. Thinking outside the box will be the key for the major Social networks to develop their mobile advertising strategy as we yet to see any mobile only solutions. From desktop to mobile, Twitter have simply ported their promoted trends and posts, YouTube have ported video pre rolls and promoted videos and Facebook have ported sponsored posts & pages. Foursquare have probably innovated the most as they are predominantly mobile based through partnerships like the American Express check in rebate where Amex users would receive a £10 rebate in return for a combination of a Foursquare check in and a minimum £10 spend from selected restaurants and stores. With the iPad mini coming in a size that can more easily be transported out and about, I expect that we will see more people opting for the more expensive cellular versions to take advantage of location based services like Foursquare.
More Apple iPad mini sales = better Social media apps
The trend of developers preferring to code first for Apple devices is likely to continue as developers happily see money rolling in and will simply port their Apple ios version over to Android as part of a growth strategy. This self-fulfilling cycle means that, unless they do something extremely stupid, Apple will still enjoy domination in the tablet market through the iPad mini and it’s bigger brothers. The competition will continue to push and innovate their larger mobile tablet devices as well as their smaller mobile phones which will in turn push for more innovation from Social apps and socially connected games. With 4G coming soon with blisteringly fast internet connection speeds, this can only be a good thing for Social media users in our mobile age.