Why Apple wants to shrink the iPad

“Experts say there’s good reason why the late Steve Jobs warmed to the idea of a (slightly) smaller tablet,” Quentin Fottrell writes for MarketWatch.

“It’s been a year since Steve Jobs died, but one of his last legacies — the iPad mini — is reportedly working its way through development, and Apple watchers say it could be another game changer,” Fottrell writes. “The late Apple CEO at one time hated the idea of a shrunken-down version of the tablet. But Jobs reportedly warmed to the idea he once scoffed was “dead on arrival” — and Asian suppliers for Apple have started mass production of a new tablet smaller than the current iPad, according to a report this month in The Wall Street Journal. In fact, some analysts say a mini-iPad could eventually outsell the original iPad. ‘We expect Apple to maintain the iconic aesthetics of the current iPad and blow away what competitors are offering in this smaller form-factor tablet market,’ says Brian White, an analyst with Topeka Capital Markets.”

Fottrell writes, “Why all the love for less iPad? Some experts believe that the new tablet, which will reportedly have a 7.85-inch liquid crystal display (compared with 9.7 inches for the iPad3) will be superior in many ways to the current 7-inch tablets on the market.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. Really? That’s the reason?
      Then making iPhone 5 bigger than the iPhone 4s was a huge mistake!
      The increase in shipping costs must be eating up all of Apple’s profits!

          1. Sales of smaller tablets has shown that a significant consumer demand exists for it.  The same logic that causes companies to manufacture shoes and cars leads Apple to manufacture small tablets.

            Shipping costs consist of two components: A variable component based on weight (and volume of the box it comes in) plus a fixed cost associated with the delivery vehicle, driver and other infrastructure associate with a delivery that is more or less independent of weight.  I believe (though I can’t prove) that the fixed component is far greater than the variable — so the desire to lower shipping costs by a few cents is probably not sufficient justification to spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars designing a new iPad, sourcing new components, setting up new assembly lines, etc.

            Either you ARE joking or just don’t have a sense of proportion.

  1. “Why all the love for less iPad? Some experts believe that the new tablet, which will reportedly have a 7.85-inch liquid crystal display (compared with 9.7 inches for the iPad3) will be superior in many ways to the current 7-inch tablets on the market.”

    I can tell you why.

    Because it will be an iPad… a true tablet, not a glorified eReader.

  2. Apple needs to stay somewhat competitive to rivals. Wall Street insists that the smaller and less expensive Android tablets will steal all of Apple’s tablet market share and the main offender is likely the Kindle Fire HD. I don’t know if that’s true, but Apple can afford to make sure it doesn’t happen. I think that Apple should do everything possible to aggressively stop Amazon in its tracks if Wall Street feels it’s a threat to Apple. What does Apple have to lose? Little. But plenty to gain if the smaller iPad catches on for consumers, businesses and possibly schools.

    The iPad Mini selling for $299 is still more expensive than the 7″ Kindle Fire HD, but it might cut into 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD WiFi sales which would be terrific. Apple needs to take control instead of being outsmarted by smaller companies. Apple needs to give Jeff Bezos a taste of his own low-cost medicine.

  3. Right, and how many times are “experts” correct on such predictions?

    It would make more sense to say that there is a market for a smaller tablet Apple still does not dominate.

  4. Remember the iBook Author stuff, all that stuff was for children and students learning. Here’s why the iPad mini is a killer idea:

    -cheaper (families and school boards can afford them)
    -smaller, lighter (you can hold it reading for longer stretches)

    What’s so intruiguing about the new iPads is the iPod touch. iPod touch now has a killer camera. The iPad mini will presumably have no camera.

    iPod touch starts at 299 bucks.
    Nexus 7 starts at 199 bucks.
    That pretty squarely puts the iPad mini at 199 bucks (with a bigger screen size and better tablet apps than Googles device).. but the pricing between a small thing (iPod) at 299 and a bigger thing that does almost the same thing (iPad mini) is crazy.

    this is going to be really interesting. I would kill for a marketing job at Apple, and this one has me pretty well stumped.

    Lest we forget… Google makes money off ads, and Apple makes money off devices.. perhaps it cannot compete with Google on price point. So why bother.

    With all that said, and building in a margin so you can cut prices next year, etc. I think the iPad mini is going to come out with no camera at $299.

    1. I’ve been in marketing/advertising my entire career, and I thought about this price issue a lot. The conclusion I came to is I don’t think that it will be that that big of a deal. Despite what a lot of people think, Apple does give people choices in their product line up. This is no different.

      Why get an iPod Touch when you could get an iPad Mini for the same price? Well, it simply depends on what one wants. Apple doesn’t have an issue with the sales of one device cannibalizing sales of another. For example, one could order a maxed out iMac for almost four grand or a base model Mac Pro… for a couple of hundred less.

      Also, the iPad has two cameras. If an iPad mini is produced, it will likely have at least one camera. It will also come with a choice of cellular, or not. It might also come with a lower memory range of say 8, 16 and 32 GB… although I doubt it. At this time, we’re all guessing… about a product that may very well not even exist.

      At any rate, all things considered, I think it’s possible a base model iPad mini could start at $269 or even lower for educational sales.

      1. Apple is not going to sell an 8″ iPad for less (or equal) to its entry level new iPod touch. It’s not going to happen. The new iPad is going to cost 399. The only deficit compared to the 10″ iPad will be lack of retina display, and a smaller screen, which for a great many people will be seen as an asset, particularly with a thinner, lighter, and updates design. It doesn’t make much sense for Apple to sell it for less than 399.

        1. Not a chance in the world it starts anywhere even close to $399. None. If the iPod Touch is priced wrong then so be it. It’s not the same market.

          Less than $300 for the entry-level mini. Probably even $249. Then the crazy ramp-ups for more storage will take care of the ASP from Apple’s point of view.

  5. Yeah, I just don’t see why its important to have an iPad mini. I mean, they got it cheaper by shipping the iPad 2 along with the new iPad.

    Form factor for a car!??!?!…the car should form factor to the product…i am tired of having to shape my life around that damn thing.

    I’m sure it will feel nice and be fun to hold, and it will probably look sexy. So does everything else apple makes. It just doesn’t feel like it needs this much hype nor this much attention to being revolutionary. I would careless if they made it though, focus on software, the Mac Pro, and IOS! or anything else that doesn’t exist yet!

  6. Inches shminches, America and its antiquated units! Apple has gone metric. The iPad is 25 cm diagonal, the proposed mini will be 20 cm, the new iPhone is 10 cm. Which leaves room for a 15 cm device ..?

  7. The iPad will solidify the Tablet market like the iPod mini solidified Apples iPod MP3 market.

    The only thing next for Apple to do is build a first rate Search Engine and free of ads

    1. You got it in one. The iPod Mini opened up the door for multiple millions to buy into the iPod system. It fitted the bill with lower entry cost and sufficient storage for most uses. That and iTunes for PC is what really allowed Apple to take off.

      A cheaper, smaller iPad can have the same effect. Really disrupt the tablet market and restrict those wannabes to 10% share.

  8. As a teacher I would like to have that smaller iPad. I do all lessons on the iPad with Pages and an ftp-program to get the files online, but whenever I do entries into my grades-program, I have to switch screens while my students would still like to copy something from the Pages file into their papers. A smaller (and cheaper) iPad besides the big one would enable me to do so without causing interruptions. Would be great for me. Probably many other people could use their iPad Minis in a similar way.

  9. Hard to beat the average consumer mindset: bigger the screen the better. It made perfect sense why Apple opted to go for reasonably largest iPad size; otherwise, the competition would have competed with Apple in the size department. Case in point, the smartphones.

    It would be foolish to think that Apple didn’t test prototypes of pretty much every size imaginable. But when they settled on a one largest size, they were able to procure screens for that size on the bulk. That not only brought down the price, but also afforded Apple to corner the market. So, every other would be iPad copycats had to compete mostly on different sizes. Most were forced to go for smaller size. Given the runaway success of the iPad in the tablet market, the consumer has voted with their wallet.

    It really, however, doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for smaller iPads. Apple knows this, but they have allowed the competition to lower the bulk costs of the smaller and newer screen techs so they can now afford to walk-in in this space and snatch the lightweight crown as well.

  10. My school recently purchased about 10 smaller form-factor Android tablets for hall monitors and phy-ed teachers to use for accessing attendance records remotely. iPads were too big to be useful for them. Considering we only have 30 iPads in the building – thanks to a grant awarded to the Math department – that’s only a 3 – 1 iPad-to-Android ratio. Apple could definitely sell a smaller form factor tablet, if the price is competitive.

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