The Verge reviews the iPad mini.

Joshua Topolsky in wraping up his review:

The iPad mini is an excellent tablet — but it’s not a very cheap one. Whether that’s by design, or due to market forces beyond Apple’s control, I can’t say for sure. I can’t think of another company that cares as much about how its products are designed and built — or one that knows how to maximize a supply chain as skillfully — so something tells me it’s no accident that this tablet isn’t selling for $200. It doesn’t feel like Apple is racing to some lowest-price bottom — rather it seems to be trying to raise the floor.

And it does raise the floor here. There’s no tablet in this size range that’s as beautifully constructed, works as flawlessly, or has such an incredible software selection. Would I prefer a higher-res display? Certainly. Would I trade it for the app selection or hardware design? For the consistency and smoothness of its software, or reliability of its battery? Absolutely not. And as someone who’s been living with (and loving) Google’s Nexus 7 tablet for a few months, I don’t say that lightly.

The iPad mini hasn’t wrapped up the “cheapest tablet” market by any stretch of the imagination. But the “best small tablet” market? Consider it captured.

Score: 9.0

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I knew it! Ballmer is smoking something!

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Crazy Ballmer said the following:

“In every category Apple competes, it’s the low-volume player, except in tablets,” Ballmer said. “In the PC market, obviously the advantage of diversity has mattered since 90-something percent of PCs that get sold are Windows PCs. We’ll see what winds up mattering in tablets.”

Yeah, those millions and millions of iPhones, and the millions of iPods are “low volume”. Totally not dominating their respective markets – with unreal profits.

It’s not like the iPhone business alone is worth more than all of Microsoft either.

I understand business talk, and talking to “your” audience, but come on dude…wake up.

Steve Ballmer on tablets…

This guy is seriously crazy, or delusional, or both.

“I don’t think anybody has done a product that is the product that I see customers wanting. You can go through the products from all those guys … and none of them has a product that you can really use. Not Apple. Not Google. Not Amazon. Nobody has a product that lets you work and play that can be your tablet and your PC. Not at any price point.”

100+ million iPads sold. To customers.

Scott Forstall and John Browett are out.

Apple’s statement:

Apple® today announced executive management changes that will encourage even more collaboration between the Company’s world-class hardware, software and services teams. As part of these changes, Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi will add more responsibilities to their roles. Apple also announced that Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple next year and will serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim.

“We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history”

“We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The amazing products that we’ve introduced in September and October, iPhone 5, iOS 6, iPad mini, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod touch, iPod nano and many of our applications, could only have been created at Apple and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services.”

Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design. His incredible design aesthetic has been the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple’s products for more than a decade.

Eddy Cue will take on the additional responsibility of Siri® and Maps, placing all of our online services in one group. This organization has overseen major successes such as the iTunes Store®, the App Store℠, the iBookstore℠ and iCloud®. This group has an excellent track record of building and strengthening Apple’s online services to meet and exceed the high expectations of our customers.

Craig Federighi will lead both iOS and OS X®. Apple has the most advanced mobile and desktop operating systems, and this move brings together the OS teams to make it even easier to deliver the best technology and user experience innovations to both platforms.

Bob Mansfield will lead a new group, Technologies, which combines all of Apple’s wireless teams across the company in one organization, fostering innovation in this area at an even higher level. This organization will also include the semiconductor teams, who have ambitious plans for the future.

Additionally, John Browett is leaving Apple. A search for a new head of Retail is underway and in the interim, the Retail team will report directly to Tim Cook. Apple’s Retail organization has an incredibly strong network of leaders at the store and regional level who will continue the excellent work that has been done over the past decade to revolutionize retailing with unique, innovative services for customers.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

I’m sure that removing Browett will be seen as a move forward, correcting a mistake made almost a year ago by hiring the former CEO of Dixon’s. Many have said that he was not the right guy for Apple, and I believed them then, and it looks like Apple believes it now.

Scott Forstall is an entirely different matter. He’s been with Apple for a long time, and before that at Next with Steve Jobs. Him leaving is a much bigger blow to Apple.
It has been said today that it was mainly “his” screw-up with Maps, and his subsequent refusal to sign an apology letter that got him on the wrong side of Tim Cook, but I don’t think that’s the whole story.
I don’t like to speculate, but it has been a pretty open secret that Scott was, in some ways, very much like Steve Jobs – hard to work with, but brilliant.
Many have called him the “heir” to Steves’ empire. I know that Tim Cook, much like all C-level executives at Apple have a very positive image, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that they got there because they are nice guys.
I think this is a move by Tim Cook to cement his reign, and that’s not a bad idea.