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February 23, 2013 • Rants and Raves

iPad mini Size vs Price – Which Drove Its Success?

iPad mini

The rumor mill is flying with word that a so-called ‘iPhone mini’ is on the way. Most suggestions have the new offering from Apple being mini in price but not necessarily mini in size. That’s too bad, since a smaller, lighter iPhone would actually make sense for someone like me who never leaves home without his iPad mini. All the arguments for the iPhone mini seem to hinge on Apple shifting from offering older models of iPhones at steep discounts to the company actually releasing a phone with less costly components — this might include anything from a return to a plastic case to offering a more limited degree of storage.

We usually don’t give credence to the latest Apple rumors du jour, but one of the more absurd rationales for the rumored arrival of the iPhone mini really struck me, and I want your help to determine if my position on this is accurate.

The rationale in question is the premise put forth in an iPhone Alley post, that one of the biggest drivers pushing Apple to release a less expensive iPhone is the success of the less costly iPad mini. The post notes that “…there’s no reason why the iPhone couldn’t follow suit”.

There is no arguing that the iPad mini is a runaway success for Apple; it is a terrific device. And there is no arguing the fact that at $329 it is a less expensive option for those looking to buy into Apple’s tablet experience. Still, the iPad mini is $329 and won’t be sub-$300 until Apple allows refurbished models into the market. (The lower price of refurbs, I have argued, one of the reasons Apple wanted a price of $329. Refurbs will let the company drop below the psychological barrier of $300.)

Even at $329 however, budget shoppers will still opt for the Kindle Fire or Nexus 7; the iPad mini is still a premium-priced item. No, I would argue, it is not the lower price that makes the iPad mini the success that it is; rather it is the smaller size and lighter weight that has made it a star. The iPad mini is small and light enough to take just about everywhere, but it still offers an uncompromised tablet experience (save the lack of a retina display) that includes all the iTunes App Store Apps, Siri, an HD FaceTime camera and a rear camera that is actually usable for pictures.

My point of view is that the argument that says that the success of the lower-priced iPad opens the door to a lower priced iPhone is rubbish. Or so I believe. But I need your help to try to test my position.

If you own an iPad mini did you…

A. Buy it because it was cheaper than the $499 entry price of the full-sized iPad

B. Buy it because it is smaller and lighter but still gives the full iPad experience

C. Other

Let us know in the comments below. And how is this for incentive … one of the people who comments will win a Speck CandyShell for iPad mini, and we will announce the winner in the March 3rd GD Newsletter.

13 Responses to " iPad mini Size vs Price – Which Drove Its Success? "

  1. Carly Z says:

    I don’t have an iPad mini, but I think it is a case of size over price. Consumers definitely want a portable tablet device…the successes of the iPad mini, the Kindle Fire, and the Galaxy Note series show there’s a wide range of buyers who love the idea of a small tablet-type device.

  2. I agree with you and Carly – it is the size. The pricing is just right to keep it affordable, but not an impulse grab. I have constantly tried every 7″ tablet that came around, and with the exception of the Kindle Fire HD had no regrets when they went bye-bye. But with the iPad Mini, it was a revelation – such great capabilities in a small device that was every bit an iPad, yet more portable than other small tablets because of being so thin and light.

    The iPad Mini is my only tablet now, and I don’t miss the others … including my iPad 3!

    • dancohen says:

      That’s what I was thinking and why the arguement that one can draw any conclusion about the iPhone mini from the success of the iPad mini is nonsense.
      Still, you and I aren’t exactly the “norm” Mike and I would love to know what our iPad mini-loving readers think.

  3. tz says:

    Both A & B.

    The 9.7″ iPad never had my interest, whereas the Mini does. The 9.7″ is way too close in size to my powerful full blown computer, the 11″ MacBook Air, and therefore made little sense to me. The lower price for the 7.9 ” Mini is icing on the optimal size cake.

  4. Definitely the size for me. Dan, how long did we say we’d buy one if Apple ever made a smaller iPad?

  5. DeniTako says:

    The iPad mini is on my wishlist for the moment. For me, the size and the cost are evenly split. Id’ probably never get a top of the line iPad again, as long as Windows keeps evolving in the tablet space. That’s what’s going to work for me the majority of the time for work and mostly for play, but I do miss my iPad. Not to mention hundreds of apps I bought over the last 3 years that it would be nice to be able to use again. But, mostly I want it for iBooks – the mini size is going to make it easy and light to hold for reading. (My Win8 tablet is great for a lot of things, but it will never make it as an eReader!) So, I don’t want to have to pay a lot to get a small device that is going to function 90% of the time as an eReader.

  6. tamaracks says:

    It was all about the size for me. I sold my ipad 3 to buy a mini because it is smaller, lighter, and easier to carry.

  7. haesslich says:

    If I was going by price alone, I’d get a 32 GB iPad… but the size and construction (thin but solid) are what makes the Mini attractive. I can’t carry my iPad 9.7″ everywhere comfortably (tried that twice now on trips), but the 7.9 is a much easier fit. The screen isn’t as sharp as I want, but its weight and solidity (battery life and construction) are why I jumped ship from a Nexus 7.

  8. Doug Miller says:

    We bought Minis for both of my kids, and my wife and her siblings bought one for their Mom. In each case it was because of the size. In fact, for my mother-in-law, we waited patiently for the rumored Mini to come out. For my kids, were were thinking about Kindles (both bought e-textbooks last semester, which they read on their laptops) but decided that Minis were more flexible and worth the extra cost.

  9. Erin524 says:

    I wanted it for the size. It’s lighter than my iPad3.

    I have MS and had a flare last summer that hit my hands. My hands were weak, and numb and I could barely use them. Hands are stronger now, but they’re still numb. Carrying my iPad3 around gets tiring after awhile. The Mini is just perfect. I HAVE to have it inside a case, because when your fingers are numb, things get really slippery for some reason. It’s the right size to fit into my purse, and it’s more than just an e-reader.

  10. Eva Kiser says:

    I don’t have an ipad mini, I opted for the kindle fire due to price and investment in the the Amazon ecosystem. I would definitely say it’s the size. I have been saying since the original ipad was released that I wish there was a smaller one. My kids have an ipad2 and I just find it too bulky to be portable.

  11. thsu says:

    I would love to buy an iPhone mini, something the size of the current iPod nano 7, even if it were twice as thick.
    During the era of dumb phones, there was a large market segment of phones about the size of a thick iPod nano 7. As a member of that target audience, I miss my small phone.

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