Early indications seem to suggest that the iPad Mini is outselling the original iPad by a wide margin. Here's why Size does matter. Thankfully, in this case it seems to be the other end of the tape that matters. Small seems to be preferred over big, diminutive will conquer the immense, and petite will win over huge.
The iPad has been a ground-breaking device that rewrote market rules and redefined on-the-go computing. With sales hovering around 90 million pieces, the iPad is the undisputed king in its category. Many have tried to take it on, the competition has played every card it can (price, features, looks, subsidisation, giveaways) and none have come anywhere close to the iPad in both aura and numbers. And suddenly, out of the blue, there is an iPad killer - and this one is guaranteed to take the crown away from the unbeaten champion of the world. The only problem - it's an iPad that will unseat the iPad. And that's not how this story was supposed to be written.
The Mini Cometh
The iPad Mini has taken off like wildfire. While it may not have had those iconic serpentine lines weaving through Apple stores - the demand has been terrific. Apple released record sales numbers - three million iPads sold in three days. That is huge! That is amazing! That is strange! Yes, strange, as it says three million iPads - not individual sales numbers for each. We don't know how many of the new full-size iPads, nor the breakup of iPad 2 or 3 or refurbished units. Three million is the straight number. And buried in that three million number lies what I believe is the greatest truth to have come out from Apple: The end of an era. I believe that out of the three million iPads sold, 2.5 million or so were iPad Minis.
A Story of Questions
Let's trace this story from the beginning. The iPad Mini was a very important and necessary device to take on the numbers that the Galaxy Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire were racking up. With the introduction of the iPad Mini, the first real doubt in the mind of a small tablet buyer was put into motion: Which one of the three should I buy? Due to the pricing of the iPad Mini, this became a fairly easy question to answer. At almost twice the price, the Mini has left enough room for Google and Amazon to live, breathe and flourish. Had the iPad Mini been priced at $249, this whole tablet war would have come to an end in one shot.
The Bigger Question
But far more important than question one is the additional question that now pops up. Once you've made up your mind that you're not buying from Amazon or Google and going with Apple - and you walk into a store - that's when it hits you. Which one? A full-sized iPad or the new iPad Mini? On paper it seems like a fairly easy choice. For just a little bit more than the iPad Mini, you get a retina display, bigger screen, more storage, far more powerful processor and more capable tablet. And yet, early indications seem to suggest that the iPad Mini is outselling the original iPad by a wide margin. Even people who originally came in to buy the original iPad seem to be drawn to the Mini instead. And here's why.
The iPad Mini has some serious advantages. With the advent of 7-inch tablets, it's been proven that a tablet's utility is distinctly higher the more portable it is. The best tablet is the one that is with you when you really need it - and a 9.7-inch device is that much tougher to carry than its smaller, more portable sibling. The iPad Mini scores big time here. It's perfectly sized to carry without a thought, fits well into a jacket's inner pocket and doesn't weigh you down when you put it in a handbag. It's also easier to hold in one hand, much easier to type on, thumb typing is very doable and it doesn't need you to set it on a table to do so. Add to that the incredible sleek form, thinness and just how ridiculously light it is. Reading a book in bed, watching a movie with it held in one hand, or browsing the Net - if something's that thin and light, it makes a huge difference. It's also very well built with almost zero plastic parts. This adds to the whole Apple premiumness and no compromises approach. And while it not having a retina display is a bit of a bummer, do remember that this one has the same display as an iPad 2, but with more pixels crammed into a much smaller screen. Text is sharp, movies look good and browsing is a pleasure. The big deal is that all the apps and stuff that work on an iPad work on this perfectly and without any compromise. That, in a smaller, sleeker, thinner, 10-hour-battery-life device is a big deal.
I believe that the iPad Mini will outsell the original iPad by a factor of 3:1. And that, in the world of technology is a very large number. I also believe that the next generation iPad Mini 2 will have a retina display and some other whiz bang features and that this iPad Mini will then drop in price to $199. That's when Amazon and Google will start to feel the wrath of the Mini. Unfortunately, so will the original iPad. The iPad is dead! Long live the new iPad!
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3. Follow Rajiv on Twitter at twitter.com/RajivMakhni
From HT Brunch, November 11
Follow us on twitter.com/HTBrunch
Connect with us on facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch