OPINION: Will the mini become the iPad of choice?
Apple stores threw open their doors this week for iPad mini shoppers, with the queue at the flagship George Street store apparently running down the street and around the corner. Apple will sell a shedload of iPad minis, there isn't much doubt about that. The real question is how many of those sales will come at the expense of the full-sized iPad.
Looking over the history of Apple's iGadgets offers some clues as to what might be in store for the iPad. After the iPod music player was released in 2001, Apple waited around 27 months before releasing the iPod mini and then another 19 before unveiling the iPod nano. These smaller models eventually overshadowed the iPod Classic, perhaps in a sign that people valued size, price and convenience over raw capacity.
A decade later, the iPad mini has followed 30 months after the release of the iPad -- which could well go on to be dubbed the iPad Classic. Of course it's very unlikely we'll see an iPad nano, unless Apple wants to rename the iPod touch.
The big question now is, given the choice, will people favour the smaller and cheaper iPad mini over the original? Like I said last week, I don't think Apple has done enough to position the iPad mini as a companion to the iPad. Instead it will be seen as an alternative which will cannibalise iPad Classic sales.
For the first time Apple tablet shoppers are faced with a stark choice - stick with the fourth generation iPad Classic or opt for the little iPad mini which is a lot smaller and cheaper but packs less grunt. Do size and grunt matter, or are tablets all about convenience? Will people buy a new iPad mini to keep in their carry bag and keep their old iPad to live on the coffee table, or can the iPad Classic hold its own against its pint-sized competitor? The success of Google's Nexus 7 and other 7-inch Android tablets would suggest that the iPad mini could go on to become the dominant iPad.
What's your prefered tablet size? Is there room for both a 7 and 10-inch tablet in your life?