Is the iPad mini doomed?

Rumors suggest that Apple might discontinue the iPad mini. Will Apple finally pull the plug on the diminutive iPad mini?

ipad mini 4 slide
Apple

Apple’s line of iPad products has become somewhat confusing in recent years. The company has had the iPad mini, the iPad Air, the iPad Pro, the iPad, etc. Customers have had a lot of iPad options, perhaps too many options.

Now it looks like Apple might simplify its iPad offerings by killing the iPad mini.

Jonathan Geller reports for BGR:

…we have heard from a source close to Apple that the iPad mini is being phased out.

Not one to ever be shy about disrupting the company’s own lineup, our source beats the Apple drum and states that there’s “fierce cannibalism of our own products” and that the iPad mini has just been “sized out of its own category.”

We’re also told that the numbers are “very clear” as far as sales are concerned, which is most likely the biggest reason the company plans to eliminate the littlest iPad.

More at BGR

There’s no way to know if Apple will really kill the iPad mini right now though, these sorts of rumors should always be taken with a huge grain of salt. I prefer to wait until Apple actually releases an official statement before getting too worried about the end of the iPad mini.

The iPad mini is a great tablet

I've always had a soft spot for the iPad mini, particularly when it comes to ebooks. It’s about the best iPad ever created for reading, given its small size and relatively light weight. Unlike the larger iPads, you can actually hold the iPad mini with one hand comfortably and read with it.

So if Apple discontinues the iPad mini, I’ll actually be rather sad to see it go. Say what you will about it, the iPad mini has filled a small but important niche for folks that needed an iPad but who didn’t want a full-size one. The iPad mini hit the sweet spot for those who wanted a screen larger than the iPhone's but in a form factor that was smaller and easier to hold.

I bought my mother an iPad mini years ago, and she still uses it to this day. She loves it and it has become her main computing device. Once she got her iPad mini, her iMac and MacBook sort of faded away in importance. So that goes to show you how well some folks have taken to the iPad mini.

Bigger iPhones have hurt the iPad mini

If the iPad mini is killed, then I think the culprit will be the plus sized iPhones. So many people have bought the bigger iPhones that it has undoubtedly hurt sales of the iPad mini. The screen sizes are just too close for some people to justify owning both devices.

I have an iPhone 6s Plus and it’s a great phone. The 5.5-inch screen size is very useful for when I’m out of the house, but I would not want to use it as a substitute for an actual iPad when I’m home. The iPhone also has limited functionality in landscape mode, unlike the iPad mini.

Unfortunately, I might be part of a small minority on the issue of plus-sized iPhones versus the iPad mini. I suspect that most people would opt for the bigger iPhone and dump their iPad mini. If that's the case then it has probably affected iPad mini sales in a very negative way.

The iPad mini has had a great run

We’ll have to wait and see what happens with the iPad mini.

If worse comes to worse and it is cancelled, we can at least take some comfort in the fact that the iPad mini has had a terrific run. Apple has sold millions of iPad minis, and those devices will still be running for years to come.

When all is said and done, the iPad mini will have an honorable place in the history of tablets.

What people are saying about the possible death of the iPad mini

The article at BGR generated a very long thread in the MacRumors Forum, and the folks there were quite blunt in sharing their thoughts about the possible death of the iPad mini. As I write this post, the thread has more than 300 responses, so the possible death of the iPad mini has clearly hit a nerve among Apple's customer base.

I’ll leave you with this selection of comments from the thread:

Dominiongamma: “Was hoping for a mini 5 but I expected this day would come, the 10.5 will be my next iPad it looks like.”

Techwhiz: “I love that form factor. I won't be buying another iPad. I'll pick up one of the last mini's and hang on to it.

iPad air is too big.”

Profets: “Oh boy.. going to be some unhappy fans of the mini form factor.

I think it'll be sad to see it go (if it does). I still find it a near perfect size for book reading.”

Zarniwoop: “What a shame. Our four years old original iPad mini is about to end its service and now there won’t be a future for the form factor, so I don't know what to do. Android/google is not an option. I wont let them spy on me and sell my soul to advertisers…so we're quite out of options.”

Plutonius: “It would be ironic if the iPod Touch outlived the Mini.”

Rhett7660: “Crap, I hope not. Like others have mentioned, I really like this form factor and so does the wife. For us it is just the right size. We actually sold our large form versions and purchased two of the mini's.”

V1597psh: “5.5 inch iPhone is not a replacement for an iPad mini. It has a 16:9 display which is really hard to use in landscape orientation. Apps are generally not optimised for that aspect ratio. It doesn't have iPad specific features like Multitasking (Split-View, PiP, Gestures). And iPhone Plus is almost twice as expensive as the iPad mini.

Another thing that might happen with the iPad mini is that Apple could put a bigger display inside the same body and it won't be a 7.9 inch tablet anymore that they plan to discontinue.”

Number Six: “Weren't the rumors saying the same thing last year shortly before the Mini 4 was announced?”

Deej: “I think that would be a shame. I like the size of the mini, and am (was?) just about to buy a new one!”

Rogifan: “My guess is they're not trying to replace the mini with the iPhone but that the larger iPad with smaller bezels won't be that much bigger than the mini (and with the Pro line won't be that much more expensive).”

More at MacRumors

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