The Case For (and Against) a Smaller 'iPad Mini'
OK. Now, let’s take a look at some reasons Apple shouldn’t offer an iPad Mini:
It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
Apple’s iPad currently dominates the tablet market the way it is in now. Yes, the Amazon Kindle Fire has been relatively successful--the first “Android” tablet to achieve any sales worth talking about--but it is hardly a threat at this point.
Initial reviews of the Galaxy Nexus 7 indicate that it’s a compelling gadget…for those in the market for a smaller, cheaper tablet. The question is, “How big is that market, and is it worth chasing?”
Apple already offers a cheaper tablet by continuing to sell the older iPad 2 for $400--$100 less than the entry-level New iPad. It seems premature for Apple to bother developing and selling a device that might cannibalize sales of the full-sized iPad, and possibly cut into profits.
As it is, popular apps like Facebook and LinkedIn seemed to take forever to accommodate the iPad display. Google just announced an iPad version of the Google+ app will be coming soon, and other apps like Path and Pinterest sorely need an iPad version, but don’t yet offer one.
Developers would have to modify existing apps to accommodate the new screen size, or develop new apps specific to the iPad Mini display. Magnifying an app designed for the smaller iPhone display results in a poor, grainy experience, and users get frustrated waiting for apps to be developed for the iPad display.
Introducing a third size would complicate matters even further for both developers and users.
Too Many Devices
The iPad Mini concept is a solution for a problem that doesn’t really exist. It can’t actually replace the iPhone or the iPad--or a smartphone and larger tablet if you want to look at it from outside of the sphere of iOS products--which means you’d sort of need all three.
Nobody is going to give up their iPhone or smartphone in favor of a 7-inch tablet. If tablet sales to date are any indication, the vast majority of users would rather have a larger tablet than a 7-inch version. If users aren’t willing to give up the larger tablet in exchange for the smaller one, that means they’d end up with all three devices.
With all three devices at your disposal, there seem to be relatively few scenarios where the iPad Mini would be the best choice. That leaves an iPad Mini as an unnecessary, decadent addition to the mix.
It’s hard to ignore the constant, persistent rumors and speculation that a smaller iPad is imminent, but there are also a number of reasons it would be a bad idea for Apple to pander to that market. What do you think?