Tim Bajarin: Why Apple’s iPad mini is a disruptive technology

“Now that the iPad Mini has been out for a while and many of us at Creative Strategies have been testing them, it is becoming clear to us that this 7.9” form factor (or most 7” inch models) will become the most important tablets for consumers in the future,” Tim Bajarin writes for TIME Magazine.

“There are a lot of reasons for this, but the main one is that these tablets are light, thin and, in the iPad Mini’s case, deliver a best in breed tablet experience,” Bajarin writes. “Also, these smaller tablets will always be cheaper than larger tablets because the bill of material (BOM) cost for smaller versions will always be less than the bigger models.”

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Bajarin writes, “I believe that a PC as we know it today will continue to lose its primary role in the home given its lack of use more often than not. If this trend does play itself out as I have suggested, the impact on the traditional PC market could be very disruptive within two to three years. As consumers buy inexpensive small tablets that will only get better in performance, screen clarity and apps, the use of these tablets will supersede their PC use, and demand for PCs and laptops could decrease significantly.

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
VentureBeat reviews Apple’s iPad mini: The best iPad ever and the best tablet on the market – November 16, 2012
InfoWorld reviews Apple’s iPad mini: Far superior; outclasses Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, Google Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 – November 6, 2012
Thurrott reviews Apple iPod touch and iPad mini: ‘demonstrably better than the competition; incredibly desirable tech devices’ – November 6, 2012
Ars Technica reviews Apple’s iPad mini: You’ll find yourself reaching for it over a full-sized iPad with Retina display – November 6, 2012
24 hours with Apple’s iPad mini: This is the real iPad – November 6, 2012
Why I just dumped my iPad 3 for iPad mini – November 5, 2012
DisplayMate: Apple’s iPad mini offers ‘just a very capable display’ – November 5, 2012
Apple’s iPad mini and ultra-mobile computing – November 5, 2012
Demand for Apple’s new iPad mini is huge – November 5, 2012
The Register reviews Apple’s iPad mini: ‘The tablet even Apple anti-fans won’t be able to leave alone’ – November 5, 2012
Apple sells three million iPads in three days; double previous first weekend sales – November 5, 2012
The Independent reviews Apple’s iPad mini: High-end gadget is worth the price – October 31, 2012
CNET reviews Apple’s iPad mini: The new standard for little-tablet design – October 31, 2012
NYT’s Pogue reviews Apple’s iPad mini: ‘All the iPad goodness in a more manageable size; it’s awesome’ – October 31, 2012
USA Today’s Baig reviews Apple’s iPad mini: ‘A splendid choice; terrific for reading, watching movies and playing games’ – October 31, 2012
Mossberg reviews Apple’s iPad mini: ‘An impressive feat; the perfect solution’ – October 31, 2012


  1. Tim Bajarin, read my lips: The 7.9” form factor is totally different from all those 7” inch models. Compare the iPad mini with all 7″ tabletoids, the user experience is totally different. I tried lots of them in the stores, like Google, Samsung, Blackberry PlayBook, all crap.

    Steve was right, 7″ is terrible, and Apple found a great way for a smaller tablet in the perfect size. 7,9″ is perfect fit for a light tablet. I love my iPad mini.

  2. I’ll say it again.

    The tablet is a nice form for casual gaming, reading, e-mail, browsing and such. If that is your spectrum of computing need it may be all you need.

    If your common use is wider than the list above you probably want a real computer. I see the iPad hurting the laptop more than the desktop.

    1. I would almost agree.

      The age of a “real computer” for the average person is over.

      Why give a receptionist a “real computer” where that person is behind a desk like a defensive fort?

      I work with businesses to fix problems and one thing I always see (and is killing productivity) is a row of customer service all behind crappy Windows PC machines in semi-open cubicles fostering a sense of disconnect. Worst still is the fact that not even 1/5 know how to actually use any computer effectively.

      I can get almost any monkey to use an IPad and most of what a CS/Receptionist/Secretary does now can be accomplished quicker on an IPad.

    2. Yep, agree. I’ve ordered a big iMac as the new base station, and use the MBP less and less, in favour of small and light iPad.

      Having said that, an MBP-style machine will always be useful for processing large numbers of pix and vids out on a shoot.

  3. Couldnt agree more. Many of us have been saying this about a iPad mini for the last year. Tablets will absolutely be the mainstream computer for most people. Traditional PC’s will be relegated to “work” for the time being because of today’s limitation of mobile devices and their CPU’s. But there will be a time in the not too distance future where you will be able to connect your phone or tablet to a large monitor and keyboard and work on full blown Photoshop or Autocad apps.
    Woe is Microsoft.

  4. What’s odd is that Steve Jobs said that 7″ tablets would be “dead on arrival” and many believed him. I didn’t necessarily agree with him because everyone has preferences in display size. I merely thought that Apple had done some consumer profiling and most found that the larger 10″ tablet size was preferable for viewing and use. I think that 8″, 7″ and 5.5″ tablets have their place in some consumer’s hearts. I’m not certain why all of a sudden 8″ tablets are going to change everything. I’m sure they’ll sell very well if the price is right and there are apps that are tailored for their use.

    I can’t say that Apple is getting into the smaller tablet size rather late, but they certainly are trailing most Android vendors if that means anything at all. I just hope Apple is able to sell a lot of those iPad Minis to make it worth their while. Wall Street keeps saying that Apple will lose the tablet war to Android devices, but that remains to be seen.

    1. “I merely thought that Apple had done some consumer profiling and most found that the larger 10″ tablet size was preferable for viewing and use.”

      Apple use “consumer profiling”?!?! Jobs believed in giving the consumer what he thought they needed. He is known to have repeated something attributed (probably mistakenly) to Henry Ford on this – “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

      That said, I agree that I’m not sure why the 7-8″ tablets are seen as a sea change. The arguments in the article are lighter & thinner and cheaper. For me, the lighter and thinner is too much of a compromise for screen size because I primarily use my iPad for video. Smaller is not better for video, in my opinion. As for cheaper, that will certainly sell more units, but probably at the cost of diluting revenue per user. Yes, I’m sure there are some examples where thinner, lighter, and cheaper is a better option, eg iPads for kids. However, I have not been convinced that it is the one perfect size. It will be interesting to compare iPad and iPad mini sales in about a year. The holiday season will be telling, but I’d rather see a long-term comparison.

  5. BS.

    there is nothing “magic” about 7″ … unless your only use for the device is to read paperback novels.

    a 7″device is too big for a pocket, too small for any productivity use. Apple offered the size only because it feared Amazon underpricing would steal market share. They need not have worried. The market is more interested in “full size” tablets, thanks not only to ever-present iPads but also a deluge of marketing from iPad copycats. I sincerely hope that the iPad mini sees only modest sales, because it would be better for Apple to concentrate on keeping the full-size iPad ahead of the competition — and also more profitable..

      1. Believe it or not one of the biggest complaints of the size of the original iPad came from women who could not fit it in their purse. No shit. On sort of the opposite tip, the adult industry pushes the necessity market and innovation more than openly credited. The iPad replaces the desktop for those activities. I actually think Steve knew that. Face it, everyone does. God you’d think the Microsoft crowd would see that coming…. Guess not.

      1. so, we have some people who think Apple is not competing in the 7″ device size, some people who think it is not profitable to do so, and others who think Apple should act like MS and attempt to be all things to all people.

        I remain skeptical that the 7″ tablet is worth the effort.

    1. The place for the Mini is marketable, I would disagree that it is any less useable than a full sized pad for most tasks.

      It is in a perfect position for customer service, sales, doctors and nurses, pilots, and anyone else that needs more space than an I phone provides and is smaller and lighter than a full-sized pad. You should see the apps available for sales, pilots and doctors – some amazing stuff.

      In the end it remains the infrastructure and the software environment – where the apple products shine – user focus.

  6. Just got the mini (white 32GB Verizon cellular version) over the weekend and transferred everything I had on my iPad 2 via iCloud backup and everything is working great. I love this thing and look forward to spending a whole month in Asia with it starting next week.

    I’m quite certain that the mini will be my main device whenever I’m on the move. I can pretty much do everything I need to do on it that I can on the iPad 2 – except for typing up long emails using the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard. The iPad 2 has essentially replaced the MBA for short (2~3 day) trips and the mini has replaced the iPad 2 for one-day excursions.

    I can still access, view, edit and save Office documents via Dropbox (and QuickOffice) on the mini and that’s all I really need to do on the road. I’ll use the MBA and Excel to create big spreadsheets at home or on the road but, for everything else, the mini is plenty good.

    The portability factor of the mini is really awesome. It makes the full-size iPad seem oversized and clunky – well, to me, anyway… I still plan on keeping the iPad 2 and upgrade in the future, but I’m convinced that the mini is the proper form factor for this type of device.

    I tried out a lot of the 7″ tablets as well from the likes of Asus, Samsung, Amazon, Google, Toshiba, etc. and they don’t compare to the mini. For one, I don’t understand why all of them insist on the 16:9 ratio as it makes them goofy to use in the portrait mode when that’s all I’d use except for watching videos. It’s as thought they are all marketing these devices as personal video machines.

    Really happy with the mini. I’ll certainly upgrade as soon as it gets the Retina and a faster processor. But Apple will need to keep the thinness and the weight down – certainly not any more than the current mini. I agree with everyone who says that the mini will become *THE* tablet form factor.

  7. What I find funny and peculiar to observe whenever I visit Korea and China is the number of people who have iPads but they’re using an Android phone of some sort and a Windows PC. As far as they’re concerned, the three are disconnected (except for web-based email and simple things like that) devices that need to be managed separately and on their own. They’re essentially managing three different platforms that don’t speak to each other.

    On my last visit to one of the suppliers I work with in China, I noticed that the mid-level managers at the factory all got new iPads to use for their duties. But none of them had ever used an Apple device before or know what an Apple ecosystem is. Some senior executives had a MBP but were running Windows on ’em. Their IT system is completely Windows-based. Their smartphones were all Android and used primarily for on-the-go email, texting and some basic web browsing and search.

    It made me wonder: “What are they going to do with the iPads?” Well, I plan to find out on my next visit which will be in a few weeks. Then, I will again demonstrate how I keep everything in sync between my MBA and all the iDevices, which now includes the new mini I just got. From a work perspective, besides things like Calendar, Contacts, Notes, Reminders and stuff like that, it’s really about keeping all the Office files in sync through Dropbox and other apps that access it.

    I realize that iCloud and cloud services, in general, aren’t the most reliable thing right now, but they work well enough great majority of the time. I keep files in sync locally using FileApp Pro and CyberDuck across the MBA and the iDevices as well but that’s more of a backup process just in case I can’t get online somewhere.

    As usual, I’ll be spreading the Apple gospel over in the Far East and try to win some new converts who are stuck in Android/Windows land. Clearly, there’s a lot of interest. Many of them want the iPhone and/or the iPad but are hesitant about going all in with the Mac. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that the greatest value of all this technology is when all the devices and the ecosystem supporting them are seamlessly integrated and working invisibly behind the scenes.

    This is not an easy sell. But at least they’re jumping on the iPad bandwagon so they have half-a-foot in the door. If they also have an iPhone, I’d say that’s a full foot in. Getting them to commit to the Mac is much more difficult when Windows is so deeply entrenched in these countries and people there are so conservative. But I’ll keep at it as I’ve had some success. I have more new tricks to show them that may just convince them to ditch Windows once and for all.

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