iPad Mini Dominates Larger Tablet Brothers

by Matt Klassen on November 5, 2012

In March of this year a maelstrom of rumours swirled through the blogosphere regarding Apple’s production of a smaller iPad, one that would compete in the then burgeoning 7-inch affordable tablet space. Analyzing the pros and cons of such an endeavour, I concluded that Apple may want to think twice before releasing an iPad Mini, given that for many of its customers choosing between a cheaper Mini and a more expensive regular iPad would be a no-brainer, and lost revenue for Apple.

Instead of heeding my advice, however, Apple did something I still can’t fathom, it not only released the expected iPad Mini, but tried to combat the extra competition it created for its original iPad line by releasing the new iPad 4 as well.

While no hard sales numbers have been released yet, anecdotal evidence suggests that, as I anticipated, customers are flocking to the smaller, cheaper iPad, and while that’s undoubtedly directing revenues to Apple that would have otherwise gone to Google or Amazon, it has also taken the thunder out of its larger iPad 4 brother, leaving the latest iteration of the company’s larger (and more lucrative) tablet collecting dust on the shelves.

There’s no question in my mind that some of the hype surrounding the iPad Mini is simply due to the fact that it’s new. I mean, for a company like Apple, who has never been known to change the form factor of a successful product, having a miniature iPad is like a dream come true for many Apple fans.

Conversely, the apparent initial struggles of the iPad 4 aren’t really a huge surprise either, given the fact that it’s little more than an iPad 3 Plus (or S, or whatever Apple might call it). With little in the way of upgrades from the larger tablet, its no surprise that units remain all but attached to store shelves.

As mentioned, several months ago in a Nostradamian moment of foresight I noted that the market speculation at the time might be “as unsubstantiated as the rest, given that Apple would be undercutting its own market dominance by offering another version of its wildly successful iPad. For many customers, being able to purchase a $250 iPad instead of a $500 version would be a no-brainer, and lost revenue for Apple.” My thought process, of course, was that the savvy marketers at Apple would never allow such internal competition to come to fruition.

While it looks like my prediction was wildly off in regards to the pricing of iPad Mini, initially it seems like my forecast was bang on. In fact, in a trip to my local Apple store I was amazed at how many iPad 4 units remained, compared to the dearth of iPad Mini’s available. Although speaking to one of the resident ‘geniuses,’ it became readily apparent as well the iPad Mini was clearly the marketing push de jure, with several knowing little about the upgrades to the company’s original tablet line.

Not only ill-timed and sporting lackluster improvements, the iPad 4 will soon be pitted against several worthy 10-inch foes, as Google’s Nexus 10 and Microsoft’s Surface tablet are poised to hit the market. Given both that these new tablet entries will been cutting edge and that no one even knows the iPad 4 exists, perhaps we might be seeing Apple finally losing its grip on the market it created, having shifted its dominance to the 7-inch tablet space.

That would be some delicious irony, though, if Apple truly started to fade in the 10-inch tablet market, given that its initial plan was to invade the 7-inch space while upholding its dominance in the tablet market build on the back of its original iPad lineup.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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