The iPad Mini Is the New iPod Touch

“Apple’s annual iPad event is upon us. The company is expected to release updated versions of the iPad Air and iPad mini, both with Touch ID, faster processors and perhaps new colors.

A year ago, it looked like demand for the iPad mini was on the cusp of potentially eclipsing that of the traditional 9.7-inch iPad. The iPad Air made a strong case for large-screen tablets everywhere, but the market definitely seemed to be trending toward the 7- and 8-inch ones that Steve Jobs so abhorred.

A year later, the scenario seems to have reversed itself yet again. At the end of 2014, tablet sales in general have slowed down (though I contend that the tablet is in no way dead). At the same time, large-screened phones (“phablets,” if we must) are taking off.

On the Android side, we’ve seen very clear evidence that the large-screened smartphones have started to eat into the sales for 7-inch devices. Even 8-inch devices (the size closer to the iPad mini), are impacted when phone screens approach the 6-inch mark.

After all, a 5.5-inch phone is in many ways closer to a tablet than it is to a smartphone. In talking with hundreds of iPhone 6 Plus owners for a recent story, a common refrain I heard from many was that “the iPhone 6 is going to make me use my iPad mini less.””

Christina Warren nails it in this Mashable article. Why carry around an iPad and an iPhone? If you use both regularly, it makes sense to swap the iPad mini and iPhone for an iPhone 6 Plus. While it’s not quite as big, it makes a lot more sense. Also, if you have an iPad with a data contract – which you don’t always need, since, depending on your cell provider, you may be able to use the iPhone to create a personal hotspot – you’re saving money on that subscription.

It’s not for me – neither the iPhone 6 or the 6 Plus – but I can see plenty of use cases where the 6 Plus is the perfect device for lots of people.

This said, a recent segment on the BBC News showed a hospital where the nurses were using iPod touches to record patient data, which is then centralized. The hospital has a much lower overall death rate because of the system. I think the iPod touch – or something like it – has a future in the enterprise, in areas where a touch-screen device is useful, but where cell access isn’t needed. It will be interesting to see if Apple addresses this market explicitly in the future.

The iPad Mini Is the New iPod Touch.

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7 thoughts on “The iPad Mini Is the New iPod Touch

  1. I think the market for the Touch has changed in recent years. In New York City the *only* people I see using them – and I see a surprising number of them – are tweens, who get to own and carry around their own iOS devices without their (or their parents) being tied to a data contract. I see them most often at lunch or after school at Starbucks locations around the city, where the kids take advantage of the free WiFi.

    More generally, I think there’s a reason the youth-oriented Apple products come in colors that most under-30somethings don’t like; these products are currently not aimed at us.

    The iPad mini, as good as it is, is not pocketable, and it is more easily breakable, so I really doubt is will be seen by parents or kids as a direct (let alone superior) replacement. And I think this is reflected in the pricing (and color), which allows Apple to extract the maximum amount of money for a product that’s only sporadically updated that nevertheless has a market (youth, pocketability) which has no real alternative.

  2. I just couldn’t see myself using an iPhone 6 Plus as I’m in a business casual uniform M-F. Putting the iPhone 6 Plus in my pocket dress pants didn’t see feasible. I did have one on order but cancelled and walked out of the AT&T store with an iPhone 6. I thought I’d have no regrets.

    However, this post has gotten me to thinking maybe I am looking at it the wrong way around. Because while I’m roaming at work, or attending meetings, II usually bring my full size iPad Air along. So in fact I”m carrying two devices, my iPhone 6 and the iPad Air. So, I end up with a man purse for the iPad Air anyway.

    Today I got a prompt on my iMac that my Garmin GPS needing updating. So as I was updating it I had my iPhone 6 sitting beside me. It dawned on me that I most certainly could reduce the number of devices I carry if I’d use my iPhone 6, or even better an iPhone 6 Plus to replace my GPS. I know many people have ditched their stand alone GPS devices for a smartphone, but I’ve been a hold out due to the iPhone 4-5’s screen’s smallish size.

    So there you have it. I could ditch my iPhone6, GPS and iPad Air for the iPhone6 Plus. The iPhone 6 Plus might just be the “swiss army knife” of Apple tablets and/or smartphones. If I could just have business casual with cargo pants.The, I could make this all work ;)

  3. I have an iPhone 6 and an iPad Mini and they are both have Verizon cellular service. I have a special dial with Verizon with a 2 GB data plan for $60/month (before employee discount). I don’t believe that I can easily change the data plan for this special deal. I have far more flexibility with data on the iPad Mini and can use it as a hotspot for other devices. I can also leave it with other family members as a hotspot when I take my phone with me. It will also provide far more time as a hotspot on battery compared to the iPhone 6.

    I wasn’t interested in the iPhone 6+ as I thought that the iPhone 6 is already huge. If Apple made an iPhone 6- that was the size of an iPhone 5S, I probably would have bought that.

    One last reason to carry an iPhone and an iPad Mini is if you have Verizon service. Verizon doesn’t allow you to use cellular data while you’re on a phone call – so if you’re on long conference calls and need to look something up, you need a separate device with separate cellular.

    I also drive with a Garmin GPS and run with a Garmin GPS watch. The Garmin GPS is a better overall GPS device than smartphones because it’s a dedicated device and you don’t need to use cellular data for information on restaurants and other points of interest. My Garmin Watch integrates with a variety of devices including a chest strap and is usable under water should I want to run a triathlon. You might be able to do this with some smartphones but I think that a watch along gets the job done overall better and it’s optimized for one particular purpose.

  4. My iPhone 5 is on T-Mobile. For several months they have been offering an add-on iPad data plan if you purchase your iPad from them (for the very same price Apple charges): an additional $10/month gets you the same monthly data that comes with the phone plan. Suddenly I have a strong incentive to buy an iPad from T-Mobile (which I hadn’t been considering), a strong incentive to get a cellular iPad (which I hadn’t otherwise been considering) and and a strong incentive to take my iPad with me, something I have almost never done with my heavy iPad 3.

    My current plan is $60/month for 3Gb LTE data (and unlimited talk and text). If Apple updates the iPad mini on Thursday it becomes a no-brainer to buy mine from T-Mobile and add an extra $10/month to my current plan.

    • 13.3 million iPad units sold last quarter *alone* at an average selling price of a little under $500. And you think it’s right to ask why Kirk thinks it’s not dead?

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