The Greatest Threat to the iPad is its Little Brother

Written by: on November 7, 2012

There are currently lots of articles out there about Steve Jobs and his predictions about smaller-size tablets.  It’s no secret that Jobs was a long-time opponent of a smaller tablet, adamantly refusing to consider a miniature version of the iPad through his final days.

While many of the stories are now focusing on Jobs and his predictions, obsessed to find out if the visionary Apple leader was, in fact, human and prone to error, I think there is a bigger issue at play. Those involved in mobile need to be aware that as the tablet market builds a larger and larger foundation, the 7-to-8 inch screen might emerge as the tablet standard, with the Mini becoming the industry’s staple product.

Many mobile experts are predicting that, in one to two years, the iPad Mini will become Apple’s #1 tablet, and their #2 mobile product behind the iPhone. Consumer adoption of the iPad was already happening at 3x the pace of the iPhone, and this was before the Mini hit the scene.   Now that Apple has an “entry-level tablet”, it is a safe bet that we will see tablet ownership explode and become part of the majority in the next couple of years.

This graph shows how the iPad’s adoption, from initial launch, eclipsed iPhone adoption by over 300%, even before the Mini’s unveiling. Data provided by KPCB via Apple, as of CQ1:12 (8 quarters post iPad launch)

What’s Wrong with the iPad?

So what exactly is wrong with the larger iPad?  Nothing at all in my book, but users out there have chimed in with some consistent feedback:

  1. It is too heavy and bulky compared to the iPad Mini
  2. It is too expensive
  3. It is not as comfortable to use long-term as an iPad Mini
  4. The iPad product refresh after six months has caused some to question the larger model

Even with the lack of a retina screen, many feel the iPad Mini is superior to the iPad, not in its hardware so much, but in its UX. More and more seem to prefer its streamlined size, small stature and light weight. With so many consumers and analysts alike echoing this thought, it is worth taking note.  Are some of these people inundated with “new toy syndrome”? Undoubtedly. But initial feedback and data has shown the Mini is already a huge force to be reckoned with, and as the device is updated in the future, (like with a potential Retina screen) it will only position itself more solidly in the tablet space.

The Next Year Will be Huge for the Tablet Market

The tablet industry finds itself in an interesting position. For two plus years, the market was almost completely defined by the iPad. It’s only been in the last year that we’ve seen the various 7-inch tablets challenge and chip-away on the iPad’s tablet market share.

As studies start coming in on how users interact with their tablet devices, and even more importantly, how consumers feel about the Mini compared to the iPad, the mobile community can begin catering to consumers based on their preferences and demands. It’s safe to say that the tablet market a year from now will have a much different look.

Jason Ary

Jason Ary

Jason is the Director of Mobile Strategy for Double Encore, Inc., a leading mobile development company. Jason has been actively involved in the mobile product and marketing space since 2007, where his guidance and expertise has since earned him multiple #1-ranked iOS applications, Webby recognition and millions of downloads.
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