Peak iPad mini: The iPad mini’s best days are behind it

“The iPad mini’s best days are behind it. Using app analytics data from Fiksu and Mixpanel, along with my own iOS device sales estimates and projections, I was able to derive iPad mini sales since launch,” Neil Cybart writes for Above Avalon.

“Over the past two years, iPad mini sales trends have deteriorated much faster than most people think,” Cybart writes. “When taking into account the move to larger iPhones and iPads, the iPad mini’s value proposition has likely been weakened to such a degree that the decline in sales is permanent. We have experienced ‘Peak iPad mini.’ More importantly, by analyzing the iPad mini’s sales trends, we have better insight as to where the iPhone and iPad product lines are headed and the iOS platform’s overall direction when it comes to form factors.”

“While everyone is aware of the iPad’s sales troubles, one surprising observation is that most of the iPad’s sales decline can be attributed to the iPad mini line,” Cybart writes. “The 7.9-inch screen form factor has seen a dramatic 50% drop in sales on a TTM basis over the past two years while the 9.7-inch iPad line has seen much more resilient sales. This trend seems counterintuitive but provides a very strong clue as to how consumers are thinking about the iPad. When taking into account this granular iPad sales data, Apple management likely had a much easier time deciding to launch the larger iPad Pro. The trend towards larger iPads has already been years in the making.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

Apple has done extensive user testing on touch interfaces over many years and we really understand this stuff. There are clear limits of how close you can physically place elements on a touchscreen before users cannot reliably tap, flick, or pinch them. This is one of the key reasons we think the 10-inch screen size is the minimum size required to create great tablet apps… Every tablet user is also a smartphone user. No tablet can compete with the mobility of a smartphone; its ease of fitting into your pocket or purse, its unobtrusiveness when used in a crowd. Given that all tablet users will already have a smartphone in their pocket, giving up precious display area to fit a tablet in their pockets is clearly the wrong tradeoff. The 7-inch tablets are tweeners. Too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad.Steve Jobs, October 18, 2010


    1. Super low cost 7 to 8 inch tablets sell well, primarily as toys or video watching devices (particularly in 3rd world countries) and readers. No manufacturer, other than Apple, has been able to sell quality small tablets in volume. Many of those small tablets end up not getting used (their internet statistics are tiny). Yep, you can make cheap junk and sell it to poor people who don’t have many options. But the basic form factor isn’t preferable. Steve Jobs was right.

      1. Nope he was not.
        Ipad mini was a great seller when it came out.
        It still is a very popular size for many..

        Choice is not a bad thing in a product lineup.
        Limit choice and one looses customers to the competition.
        Apple should never get rid of ipad mini.

        Just like i believe a smaller iphone will be back in the lineup.

        Choice !

  1. I love my iPad mini 2. I’d also love to upgrade to the newest iPad mini; however, the technology difference between the iPad mini 2 and the iPad mini 4 isn’t great enough to warrant the cost. Here’s hoping the iPad mini 5 is a major leap.

  2. I enjoyed using my iPad Mini for about a year a half until I got my iPhone 6+. The Mini is now collecting dust and at best is an emergency backup if my Air fails, but then again the 6+ could suit that purpose just as well. I see people walking around with even larger phones, which I wouldn’t mind having, but the 6+ pushes the limits of what comfortably fits in my pants pocket.

  3. Of course. The iPad mini was the solution to two problems: tiny screen iPhones, and iPads that were too heavy and unwieldy. The first problem has been solved and the latter comfortably alleviated. Therefore the iPad mini no longer serves a useful purpose.

  4. I like it…

    It has an 8-inch screen that has same pixel count as the “regular” 10-inch screen. It’s 326 pixels per inch. So it’s “more Retina” compared to iPad Air and iPad Pro (both 264 ppi). It weighs only about 2/3 of a pound (300 grams), and ties iPod touch as the thinnest iOS device (6.1mm).

    The same people who like it most are probably also the smaller iPhone advocates. But I can see how popularity of iPhone 6 Plus and 6S Plus would eat into iPad mini sales. I said previously, before Apple released the larger iPhones, that Apple should just release iPad mini (WiFi + cellular version) with software and carrier plans that allow phone calls… Instant 8-inch iPhone. 🙂

    I prefer iOS devices with a screen that is more mobile during use. The #1 reason I like my iPod touch (4-inch iPad) so much is because I can comfortably hold AND USE the device in ANY position with ONE hand.

    1. The other differentiator for the mini is that you can (also) hold it in one hand. I read the “paper” version of the local newspaper on my mini2 on it daily. Haven’t had a physical paper in almost two years. 🙂

      I also would love to replace it with a mini4 but can’t see the cost being worth it.

  5. Not everything Apple sells has to be the top seller. Choice (within limits) is good. Everyone’s needs are different. Some people, like my wife, prefer the mini, I prefer my iPhone 6 Plus and my MacBook Pro.

  6. I liked the iPad mini 2 that I eventually handed over to my wife. Once I got the iPhone 6+ I really didn’t see the need for it anymore and the Air became my next iPad. But it only got used for content consumption when I really wanted to use it more for work. So now the Air will get handed down to one of my sons as I just got the iPad Pro, which I really love, by the way. It’d be nice to have the mini 4 but that’d only be used for reading ebooks and would be way overkill for that. So I got the Kindle Voyage for reading and I’m quite happy with that.

    I think the mini has its place. Perhaps it will become more a niche segment but the portability and performance quotient really is hard to beat. My wife loves the mini 2. She’s constantly taking it around the house whether she’s in the kitchen, exercising, in the restroom while doing her hair or putting on makeup, in bed before sleep, etc. and she loves it that it’s so light and portable.

  7. I’m actually pretty happy with my Mini as it’s a convenient size for me to carry around outside the house.

    But it all depends on usage patterns.

    I can see very well that for others, the Mini might not suit their usage patterns/habits.

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