The Apple iPad mini is available for the public to buy ( in certain markets it is on preorder). In the US Apple claim they sold 3 million of the devices in the opening weekend. It almost reads like a movie opening night, never mind a consumer electronics device launch. The point is that the mini is the big dark horse in Apple’s future. Why? Well, we all know that the 9.7” iPad is super popular and that the iPhone is the revenue driver for Apple. How does the iPad mini fit into the larger picture?
I think Apple has just unveiled the device that will be more widely adopted than any other form factor that they have. Consider this: When the iPad was announced the tablet industry did not exist. Now it is arguably the biggest long term market that manufacturers have to be in. Microsoft realised this and entered their own tablet into the market. So Apple created a market and sold millions of 9.7” iPads (first, second, third generation) and are now going after the part of the market that they don’t compete in. This is classic Apple: create a market and then cannibalize the created market.
A fact that needs to be mentioned is that the iPad mini is available in exactly the same sizes (16GB, 32GB and 64GB) and functionality (Wifi & 4G and WiFi only). That for me is a big deal as prospective owners now have a larger choice to buy an Apple tablet. More selection leads to more potential sales for the Cupertino behemoth.
It is clear that Apple is making sure that their tablet strategy is evolving over time. Whether Steve Jobs would have signed off on a 7.9” tablet is a question that will never be answered. The iPad mini is in my mind the tablet that is going to drive Apple’s competitor’s nuts. It just fits nicely in your hands. Once you have it your hands, your next move is to look for your wallet and a cash register or a shopping cart..