Why Apple Really Needs The iPad mini and it makes sense

This is part two of my iPad mini rumor opinion piece. In part one I took the “Apple doesn’t need the iPad mini and shouldn’t make it” stance. In this post I’m taking the opposite stance. You might wonder how I can seriously do this and stand behind both posts.

Simple. This isn’t an easy, cut-and-dried issue. There are solid points for and against an iPad mini and it’s a good intellectual exercise to try to work and play off both sides equally well. So, here it is: Why the iPad mini is Going to be Awesome

I bought the first iPad, although I was skeptical at first, after trying a friend’s iPad at a local tweetup. I even convinced my wife to buy it for me in the U.S. before we could get them in Canada when she went down for a shopping trip. From the moment I started using it, I loved it. The iPad, actually, is what got me really hooked on iOS and later made the choice for me to switch to an iPhone a couple years ago easy.

When the iPad 3rd gen was rumored to be coming (by this time my wife had an iPad 2 and I was supremely jealous), I planned on buying one long, long before even the event was announced. Once it was announced, I kept hitting refresh until I could pre-order it from the Apple Store and have it the first day (which I did).

Since then I’ve been a champion of the iPad as a worthy alternative to a laptop. I’ve found that I can do 95–99% of my day to day tasks just fine on my iPad. The only snag comes when I need to upload or download files. I can live with that.

Oh and books? Yeah I don’t buy paper books any longer. Hey I write books (and I have a couple cases of books in my office from my publisher) and I prefer to read them digitally. Then thing is, sometimes I think the full-sized iPad might be over kill for folks. I don’t know about you, but for reading books, I don’t need that much screen. Not to mention having something a lot lighter would be cool.

Then there is the price point. I think my daughter would gladly switch up to an iPad mini (goes well with her Kobo I think) for email and writing and school research…and that fits the budget a lot better than a full on iPad.

Books and research brings up the question of apps. This is a tough one. App devs have just gone through an update process for the iPhone 5, which while I’ve heard wasn’t hard, wasn’t trivial either. Will an iPad mini cause more development headaches than use cases it fits…not if it’s positioned correctly. The iPad mini, I think, should be poised as a media consumption device first, Internet research tool (which I think includes email as well) second, and after that…games and other productivity apps. The smaller size (if the size rumors are close) will be great for books and movies (and music is a given). Even if Safari doesn’t have a lot of screen real estate, you can still look up and research. I’d wager that Evernote might be one of the first apps that would be “native” on an iPad mini.

Yes, Apple needs the iPad mini for media. Really Apple seems to be a media company with great gear to play it on. Movies, music, and books that you can buy once and then tap into across a range of devices from your TV to computer to tablet to phone. The iPad mini just solidifies Apple’s line up of media devices that are sleek and easy to carry. Maybe it’s not an iPad mini but an iPod maxi (yeah, yeah there are jokes being written about that right now I bet…).

Here’s another reason why Apple needs iPad mini. According to folks at Quartz.com, Apple’s share of the US tablet market has dropped from 81% in 2011 to 52% in 2012 and it doesn’t even take into account Google’s Nexus 7, or Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HD, or Noble’s new Nook or Microsoft’s Surface.

According to The Economist’s Leanback 2.0 blog, Kindle Fire grabbed 21% grabbed of the market share in 2012, which clearly shows that there is demand for 7-inch/cheaper tablets.

So even though Apple still dominates the tablet market, giving people a range of sizes and form factors to choose from at cheaper price points, thus giving them one less reason to buy a tablet from its rival, just makes good sense.

Thumb picture by Sarah Reid from Flickr.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/QueSwanson Que Swanson

    You do know this could of been one topic instead of two?

    • jim

      On a scale of 1-9 I give him a 6 at writing. Nothing spectacular but answers most or all important points.

  • http://profiles.google.com/faizan.amjad86 Faizan Amjad

    Apple is nonsense…. (:

    • surefire

      dont know why youre reading something bout apple though

  • jim

    delete some more posts that disagree with your point of view!

  • Kiwiholden

    Price is the number one point. It is just too hard to go past a $150-$250 tablet
    But if Apple had something closer you’d be crazy not to spend a little more

  • PasseBy

    Enjoyed both articles. A refreshing change to the norm. Appreciate the writing style as It makes an interesting read. Thank you.

  • elim

    Well, as you can see from the chart that Apple is losing out more of the tablet cake during 2012. Due to an increase in number of mid size tablets out in the market. Without these competitors, Apple would not be bothered to come out a mid size ipad, why waste time. It is the $$ and ¢¢ that triggers Apple. So, in the end, the more competitors, the better for consumers like you and me. Without them (competitors), Apple would just have one ipad for ages and we got to live with that. That is my opinion.

    ps – Apple got great products though.

  • Hashis

    The first Jim who commented on Que Swanson’s post is actually an AP Grader and friend of mine– although he can be critical. The second Jim, the one that iPhoneHacks responded to however, is an impostor. I just need to rhetorically ask, why do people pose as the same person?

  • Zach

    Of course Apple needs to SELL a 7 or 8 inch tablet. They would be stupid not to. There is obviously a market for that form factor. And the number one reason why people are buying them is convienience. The form factor is just so much more convienient to have on you close to all the time. A lot of that convienience is the lighter weight. An ipad can get heavy quick while laying in bed reading.
    Apple needs to be very concerned about price though. With the releases of ice cream sandwhich and jelly bean, Android has lost that toy like feeling it had. It now feels very business like and the customization options are awesome. So if it comes down to a $300 ipad mini or a $200 Nexus 7, a lot of entry level consumers are going to hit that Nexus 7. And as the chart above shows, apple can’t afford to keep losing market share that fast.

  • Ty

    If you don’t own an iPad then get the mini. It a waste of money if you have an iPad and get a mini too. Cause the os is the same. Why spend money on son thing you already have.