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The iPad Mini is a Dud – It’s Still in Stock at Best Buy, Walmart

Do you know how Apple is showing a 2 week delay for the iPad Mini on their website? It looks like Apple might be the only one having supply issues; if my local retail stores are any sign then iPad Mini is facing a serious demand issue. I have just returned from making the rounds of my local electronics stores, and while I would not say that they have an excess of stock, both my local Best Buy and my local Walmart had iPad Minis to sell. That's not good news for Apple.

When the iPad Mini was revealed to the world, I and many other bloggers poo-pooed it due to the disappointing screen resolution, ridiculous price, and the general inanity of the presentation.

And now it seems that the public agrees. For the first time that I can recall, Apple didn't sell out of their latest and greatest flagship product. It's a Saturday night, the day after launch, and both local stores have the iPad Mini in hand.

Neither store had the 16GB model but they both could sell me the 32GB model. It cost $429, a ridiculous sum considering that I could have bought an iPad 2, which had identical specs and a larger screen, for only $349.

And it is exactly that kind of comparison which has doomed the iPad Mini. The buying public isn't stupid; they can see when the price is ridiculous and they'll get something else.

Apple is going to have to drop the price of the iPad Mini, otherwise its sales will be embarrassing. Mark my words, there will be a price cut by the Spring.

About Nate Hoffelder (11117 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

71 Comments on The iPad Mini is a Dud – It’s Still in Stock at Best Buy, Walmart

  1. Wow, are we really holding up Apple’s past sales as the standard for all current and future sales? Because that seems a little ridiculous. By that standard, any time a product doesn’t completely sell out instantly, it’s “not good news” for Apple. That’s a bit extreme, isn’t it?

    Regardless, sold out or not- they probably sold a ton of ipad minis already and are gonna go on to sell a ton more. In fact, I’d venture that every other tablet maker would kill for the “low” sales numbers that the ipad mini has produced since it went on sale.

    I think it’s a bit soon for these absolute pronouncements of gloom and doom. It tips your hand and shows a loss of objectivity. I understand you’re not a journalist and don’t need total objectivity (this is after all, your site) but this post really smacks of unnecessary bias against Apple. Now they’re doomed because they haven’t sold every single ipad mini on the planet? Isn’t that taking things a bit too far, a bit too quickly?

    Also I’d say it’s highly unlikely they’ll cut the price for the mini. Why would they? They’re likely selling a ton (sold out or not) and it’s not like they’re going to file for bankruptcy if they have any left over at the end of the fiscal year. Plain and simple- Apple’s not desperate. They don’t do the chasing, they wait to be chased. The fact that there are a few less people chasing this time around really means nothing.

  2. I suppose it’s not too surprising that Apple priced this so high, they’ve always felt that their software justified an 80 percent markup. If it weren’t for them selling previous iPads so much lower, no one would blink an eye.

  3. There are also other bloggers that think the iPad Mini is the greatest thing since sliced bread too.

    I agree with Jimmy that this doesn’t mean that Apple has anything to worry about.

    On the other hand and being far more realistic….

    In the 7inch tablet market, there is much more competition than Apple is use to at a launch of a new product. The Google Nexus and Kindle Fire HD have been out for awhile and people buying those for the first time aren’t going to run off and buy an IPad Mini that costs $130 right away.

    Also Apple just released their new IPhone 5 which also can siphon sales from the Mini because their loyal customers just ran out and bought new phones and may not have the extra money to buy the mini.

    I do think that after this holiday season, the iPad Mini is just going to sit on shelves and no one is going to buy it.

  4. Yes, lots of bloggers have bought into the hype. Apple’s Reality Distortion Field is quite powerful:

  5. I don’t think that Apple does a 80% markup on software. The OS is always very inexpensive compared to the windows offering. Mountain Lion is 19.99 while Windows 8 (Home) 99.99 at New Egg.

    Aperture – 79.99 vs Adobe Lightroom 134.99 (again new egg).

    However I do wish the ipad mini was more like $279, I figured it had to be over 299 to not step on the iTouch.

  6. Nate, I’m not sure New York area retail sales this week say a lot about overall sales. Let’s see what the numbers say after Christmas, before announcing it is or s not a dud.

  7. What city or state’s Bestbuy and Walmart? I couldn’t find any stock of the mini on either website. They all indicate sold out or available at future time…

  8. I was at my local Best Buy Mobile and saw the iPad Mini last night. After about a 30 minute comparison (no one else was waiting in line to look at it), I can report that the iPad Mini has the WORST screen resolution of any major tablet on the market today. Even the first generation Kindle Fire, Samsung Galaxy Tab, and Nook Tablet did a noticeably better job of displaying text than the iPad Mini. Fonts look thin, grey, and fuzzy on the Mini. I thought I might have been mistakenly using an IdolPad display in a Mini casing. The new Kindle Fire HD looked ten times better. The most shocking difference came when I held up my iPhone 4s to the Mini with the same text displayed on each device. It was a huge plunge in resolution and text clarity. I don’t know how, after months of using the iPad 3’s retina display, people are going to get used to the grainy Mini display and actually enjoy it. The poor screen resolution, high price, and deceptively oversold features easily make this the worst tablet of 2012.

  9. Isles, with all due respect, I don’t the average consumer gives nearly as much of a crap about resolution as you do. I can’t see most people holding up devices to see which one is the “fuzziest” oh being terribly shocked by screen resolution, blah blah blah. I’ve been using the ipad mini for a day now and the display seems just fine. I’m not gonna hold my 4S up to it to compare pixels cuz I’d feel kinda dumb doing that. All I know is, the display on the mini is great and stuff looks just fine to me. And I’m fairly tech savvy, which tells me that the average consumer really won’t give a crap about the display, let alone start comparing it to other devices to see which one is better, etc. People aren’t buying ipad minis for the pixel count, they’re buying them for the overall experience. And people buying kindles also aren’t buying them for the pixel count- they’re buying them because they’re less expensive. Screen resolution just isn’t as much of a factor to people in the real world. As far as I can tell anyhow.

    Look, I don’t wanna knock kindles or nooks or what not. I’ve had a nook tablet for the last year and it’s a great device, I really enjoy it. I wanted an ipad but until now they were too damn big and heavy to suit my purposes. When the mini was announced it was a no brainer for me, because now I can get the very elegant, very enjoyable “i” experience in a smaller form. For me, it’s just a nice way to tablet. I love the nook, but let’s face it, elegant, it is not. Same goes for the kindle, which is really just a delivery system for content. So is the nook really, but at least they’re kind enough to offer an SD card slot. And frankly so is the ipad, but at least they offer versions with tons of space for your own content.

    Bottom line: I don’t get the apple hate. It seems like people want them to fail. Besides the fact that it’s never gonna happen, it seems pointless. They make a product people want and I don’t see why that’s bad.

  10. Hear, hear!

  11. I get your point Jimmy. The iPad mini is not the best thing since sliced bread, but it is a fully functional iPad in a smaller size and half the weight. Compared to the Kindle Fire and the Nook it is also the only computational device, since those other two are just media appliances. Simply put, the iPad mini will sell extremely well and will not need a price reduction. Those who critizise the mini’s price contradict themselves when talking about the Nook, the Kindle or the Nexus. If price is what matters, then the Playbook would be the successful one in this market.

    I don’t know what it is about Apple that just drives some people crazy. Some bloggers love the brand to death and others hate it in equal measure and foresee doom at every turn. For me it is just a company that sells very high-quality hardware that no other company can equal and then sell at the same price and that is usable almost everywhere in the world. I live in South America. Believe me, Kindle fires do not exist here, and if they did, they would be useless. In the meantime, I will be happy getting an iPad mini, it is better than the iPad 2 and not only its apps are unmatched yet, but its iOS will still be supported for at least a couple of years, which cannot be said of ANY competitor on the market. All the while, people will keep whining and complaining about Apple and the products they would love if they could afford to buy.

  12. From all my friends considering to buy an iPad Mini not one is buying the wifi version.
    The mini is a tablet that fits in almost all my jacket pocket, so the 4G version is the way to go here.
    I guess there will be lots of iPad Minis used in trains and cafes starting december.

  13. Sturmund Drang // 4 November, 2012 at 2:40 am //

    Thank you, Isles and Nate. This is exactly the kind of reportage I like; real world experience. Propaganda isn’t useful regardless from where it comes. I wish the other bloggers and tech sites did this too.

  14. I went looking for Minis on Friday, the launch day. They weren’t as easy to find as I might have expected – don’t know whether they’d blown through stock, sold them all as preorders, or just sold out. We don’t have an Apple store here, but there’s an affiliate and I got to play on one there. Apparently Apple had instructed them to only display black ones. I also found one demo machine at John Lewis. No sign of it at PC World. The general theme seemed to be that the white ones had sold out quickly and the 16GB were pretty much gone. The affiliate had gone through multiple deliveries.

    So not exactly a story of poor sales. Though I did get the impression that maybe they hadn’t received enough stock. I want to look at a white one too; maybe in London tomorrow.

    I think Nate’s having too much of a down on Apple. On the other hand, I was primed to buy one and the real thing didn’t close the sale. The display did put me off, because I’ve been spoiled by my iPod Touch, and I was mindful of the price. If either of those had been better I might well have taken the plunge, but now I’m having a big ponder.

    I think the core market for this is people who’ve been interested in the iPad and never quite talked themselves into it. The lowest price for an iPad so far will tip them over the edge.

  15. I see your point about the 4G, but the price difference is too much of a barrier. It’s £100 here. For that I’d probably just carry on using my Mifi. The difference for the 32GB Nexus 7 is only £40, though that’s only 3G.

  16. Good point. Apple is the only company where a launch is regarded as a failure unless every store all over the world is sold out of the product the first day it goes on sale. (Given that it almost always happens, it is understandable but still…) However, it does seem that the mini is not selling as well as previous Apple products, even though any other company would probably be delighted with the sales figures.

  17. Jimmy, have you not heard of the new Kindle Paperwhite? It is sold out everywhere and it has new screen tech that people really do care about.

  18. “Jimmy, have you not heard of the new Kindle Paperwhite?”

    Tyler, I think we can safely assume that the audience for something like the paperwhite is not the same audience for for tablets with color screens. People who seek out the paperwhite or the nook glow or similar devices are doing so for dedicated reading, they’re not looking to watch movies or play games or take pictures, etc. This being the case, I can see how those folks might be more savvy about screens. And I’m glad it’s sold out, because that means there’s a lot of people reading out there and the paperwhite looks like a great device.

    But the audience for the paperwhite and color tablets is just not the same. And I really don’t think the people in the market for color tablets give a crap about screen resolution the way the paperwhite folks do. Just my opinion, anyhow. The tablet folks seem to be seeking either the highest quality or the lowest price.

    And Daniel, I too wish I could understand what makes people so nuts about Apple. What I really dislike is how people who hate Apple accuse people who use Apple products of being mindless sheep who will buy anything they produce, etc. Speaking for myself anyhow, this is not the case. I didn’t buy an ipad because they were too heavy. I don’t own a mac because I don’t wanna pay 2 grand for tech that’ll be outdated in 6 months. But I got an iphone because it seemed to be the best phone on the market that could do the most things I want to do. I think Apple does some things well and those are the things I purchase. I don’t mindlessly hand my money over for anything with an apple logo on it and while I’m certain that there are some folks who, I don’t think those people make up the mainstay of the consumer audience. I think because people see those kinda folks waiting in line in front of Apple stores on the news, they assume that anyone who uses any Apple products must be equally as zealous. Not so the case, I think. And I’m guessing most consumers are nothing like the people waiting in line in front of Apple stores. They’re just the ones who get the most attention- therefore they’re the easiest targets.

  19. I understand your perspective Jimmy. The iPad Mini is a fully-functional iPad in every other way, but I am speaking to a large number of consumers who insist on high-definition displays because about 70% of what we do on a tablet involves eReading. When it comes to reading text, compared to all of the newer and older 7″ tablets on the market today (even the 10″), the iPad Mini has the worst display of any device. Do a simple comparison. The new Kindle Fire HD and Nook HD just crush the iPad Mini in resolution quality, but it isn’t I who set the standards for this, Apple did it when they focused on making ‘retina display’ a household word associated with Apple. Then insisted on a higher quality display, and then abandoned that notion for the Mini.

    I am not an Apple Hater. I happen to love Apple. I bought my first iPod in 2001. I have owned four iPods, iPads 1, 2, and 3, a MacBook Pro, an iPhone 4S (my wife has an iPhone 5), and I will be upgrading to a MacBook Pro Retina 15″ this Christmas. I love iOS. I love iTunes. I was never rooting for Apple to fail, but I didn’t expect them to scoff at industry standards for displays that they helped to create. I also didn’t expect them to lie to consumers by repeatedly stating that the iPad Mini “is not just a shrunken-down iPad 2,” when that is exactly what it is.

    The fact is, when comparing the Mini side-by-side with competing Android tablets (including even the 2001 Kindle Fire first gen), the iPad Mini has the worst display of them all. And when you compare it to Apple’s other devices, it just looks awful. As a person who mainly uses tablets to read and browse the web, I feel that this plunge in display quality is unacceptable, and that the decision was most likely motivated by greed (they want to keep iPad 4 sales flowing, and not cross into the ultra expensive iPod Touch territory).

  20. I’m not an Apple person, though I have nothing against the company or its products. But yes, that comparison of prices makes the issue clear as crystal. If you get a bigger screen for less, why get the expensive one? Apple’s competing against its own products, which is never good.

  21. I was pointing out the fallacy of your argument that people do not care about the screen resolution but they do. Otherwise screens would not improve. They have for the Nook Tablet HDs, the Kindle Fire HDs, Google Nexus came out with a sharp display. It’s odd that Apple would go back in the opposite direction.

    Go to Best Buy and compare books on the Kindle Fire HD to the Nook Tablet and see what a difference a better screen does for reading. There is a big difference.

    I have the Nook Tablet which is one of my primary readers. I like it just for reading but I don’t buy apps for it since I can’t use them for anything else but the Nooks. I plan to get the new Nexus 7 32 gig when it comes out. Why? Cause I changed phones this year from the iPhone to the Galaxy Note.

    So this comes to the part of why I would expect people to buy the iPad Mini despite it’s high price and flaws. iPhone apps will run on them. So all the apps on your phone should run perfectly fine when you buy the Mini. I know Apple just wanted to not have developers having to make for a third platform specifically.

    I have no problems seeing people standing in front of stores on launch day. I don’t think they are mindless Zealots. We all have things we like and covet. Look at the release of Halo 4 this week and how many people will be waiting for the midnight launch. Wait until Black Friday and see all the people that wait before stores open. I saw the Avengers at the midnight showing after watching the five movies leading up to it at the movie theater. Event stuff is fun for people.

  22. burger flipper // 4 November, 2012 at 10:36 am //

    Its guts are 2 generations old. Its screen pushes less pixels per inch than 2010’s nook color.

    But the price is bleeding edge.

  23. You guys understand that most consumers have zero idea what “pixels” even are, right?

    All they know is “Apple = good” or “Kindle = cheap.”

    Or possibly “Apple = expensive,” which then leads to “Kindle = cheap.”

    All this tech jazz flies right over the head of 99% of the audience for tablets.

  24. Ingo Lembcke, Hamburg // 4 November, 2012 at 11:23 am //

    You have point there with the resolution. But for some people this will be the first iPad, they won’t notice it.
    Also I was in an Apple Shop (one of the smaller ones: AEZ, Hamburg, Germany ) and had the iPad mini in hand.
    I own an iPad (3) which was my first iPad and use it, but have trouble holding it for a longer period of time, it is just to heavy. I like the size and weight of the iPad mini, but cannot afford to buy one now. Maybe with the next generation or a price drop.
    The display is no show-stopper for me, but it is noticeable.

  25. Ingo Lembcke, Hamburg // 4 November, 2012 at 11:45 am //

    What is missing in the discussion here are the reasons to use or not use a certain tablet: mainly the Apps and the usability. In this regard the iPad mini may be the best small tablet.
    But truth be told, I have no real Android Device (a rooted Sony PRS-T1), so I would like to read or hear what others have to say with a Nexus 7 or something like it.
    Maybe someone can chime in with a comparison, as that has so far not been covered aside from a few bloggers snide comments – being that Android-Apps are mainly designed for Phones and look bad on tablets.

  26. Actually I don’t understand the argument that android apps are just for phones and not for tablets, etc. Maybe they’re not specifically made for tablets, but the apps I ran on my nook tablet looked just fine. They weren’t blown out or fuzzy or scaled up, they looked very normal and crisp and all played well. So I really don’t get the notion that somehow apps for android aren’t as good as app for ios, because to me they seemed just as good. Maybe they weren’t super duper HD or whatever, but to my eye they looked really nice.

    My only problem with android apps is that there aren’t enough of them and a lot of the really good ios apps and games aren’t available on android. I found that to be frustrating. But the ones that ARE available for Android ran really well on my nook, regardless of what size device they were made for.

  27. The Nook App Store does not have the same amount of apps as the Google Play Store. Google Play has just as many apps as the iTunes store. All of the major games are duplicated for both platforms. The Nook store is very weak.

  28. The Nook Store and now Nook Video are horrible. The Nook store has about 4,000 apps available while the Google Play Store has 450,000.

    Nook Video is absolutely dreadful at this point. They are missing almost every current major TV show you can think of and their movie selection is something straight out of the $5 discard bin at Walmart . . .

  29. Yes, but the average iPad 3 user knows how awesome his/her current display looks, and once they pick up their Mini, they will be disappointed if they do a lot of reading. You can’t deny that their is a major difference.

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