Call me not only disappointed but confused. Although one should never expect any wish, rumor, or hope to necessarily come true when it comes to Apple releasing products, one thing I felt reasonably certain, if not very certain, was that whatever Apple announced regarding new iPads at today’s announcement we would see the recently introduced Touch ID on those new Tablets. So much for my ability to reason, and as to certainty? There’s a reason I don’t count gambling as a vice.
Apple introduced Touch ID with its recent new iPhone 5s release heralding it as a major new security, and potentially a new convenience feature. After some trial and error with registering my fingerprints on the iPhone 5s, I have to admit I’ve grown quite fond of the feature for convenience sake. As a security feature, I think there is no question it is a step forward. But back to the convenience factor.
I’ve grown so accustomed to Touch ID on the iPhone 5s, I find myself getting annoyed that it doesn’t exist on the current version of the iPads. So much so, that I turn off security on both the iPad 4 and the iPad mini when I’m around the house. This increases the annoyance factor, as when I do turn security back on when I travel, I have to get used to entering a pass code all over again.
My hunch is that the product development cycle and new device goals had something to do with the exclusion of Touch ID on the new iPad Air and the new iPad mini. The development tracks for those devices and the iPhone 5s were obviously running in parallel. But the product goals were obviously different. From the sound of the announcement, Apple wanted to focus its efforts on the iPad Air on reducing the size of the device and keeping the same price point. On the iPad mini the big goal was obviously finding a way to include a Retina screen and keep the battery life up. Note that Apple had to increase the price of the new iPad mini from $349 to $399 already. What’s that old saying? You can’t please everybody?
This isn’t a killer or a deal breaker for me. I’ll most likely pick up both new iPads as soon as I can. But, I do wonder if Apple knew that the trade offs it was making along these product development cycles were going to create a feature on one of its iOS devices that some users would find sorely lacking on the next version of others. I bet we’ll hear more about this as the days go on.