The $330 iPad Mini is Going to Cannabalize iPad Sales, Not Android Tablet Sales

About 8 hours ago Apple unveiled the iPad Mini. This $330 tablet can be summed up as the worst of all possible compromises (as seen by a blogger). It has Apple’s premium price for a tablet that has basically the same abilities as the iPad 2, only in a device which is about 2/3rds the size and a little thinner.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Apple is going to sell a lot of them. The iPad Mini is going to shore up Apple’s sagging iPad sales. They only sold 16 million or so iPads this past quarter, which was below the 17 and a half which analysts predicted.

And yes, I’d call that sagging sales. Apple had a $400 iPad 2 which was poised to draw sales away from similarly priced Android tablets. But even with the iPad 2 sales still didn’t hit expectations, and I think that is because the cheaper iPad 2 also sucked sales away from its more expensive sibling.

I’m pretty sure the iPad Mini will continue the trend.

The problem as I see it with the $330 iPad Mini is that it will appeal to people who will buy it for reasons of false economy. These were people who were going to get an iPad anyway and they’ll get the Mini because not it is good but because it is $170 cheaper than the iPad.

And for that same reason you likely won’t see these iPad Mini buyers picking a Mini over a $200 Android tablet. Offer those same buyers a $200 Kindle Fire HD or a $330 iPad Mini and I think they’ll choose the KFHD.

Honest to goodness, I think the fact that the iPad Mini price starts with a 3 and not a 2 is going to have a not insignificant affect on whether people buy it. On some subconscious level it looks like the iPad Mini costs a hundred bucks more, not $30, and that will cause some to balk.

I do so wish Apple had priced it at $250. I know this is my fault for hyping myself up, but I was all set to buy one for that price. It would have made a very nice companion to the full sized iPad 2 sitting beside me as well as a better alternative to any of the slightly cheaper Android tablets. And at that lower price point the iPad Mini would also have appealed to the truly budget minded.

Oh well. Apple usually has an iPad event in the Spring. That’s probably when they will announce a price cut on the iPad Mini.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Chad23 October, 2012

    “And at that lower price point the iPad Mini would also have appealed to the truly budget minded.”

    I can’t think of a single Apple product that fits that description.

    1. Nate Hoffelder23 October, 2012

      An excellent argument for why I should have seen the $329 price tag coming.

    2. Mike Cane24 October, 2012

      >>>I can’t think of a single Apple product that fits that description.

      Then you know zero about both Apple and computing history. The base price of $499 for the original iPad was revolutionary and breathtaking and unprecedented back in 2010.

      1. Chad24 October, 2012

        “Then you know zero about both Apple and computing history. ”

        I beg to differ. (I actually could take the same approach as you and make an insulting comment about your intelligence, but I won’t sink to that level.)

        My point has nothing to do with whether Apple provides revolutionary products. It was that they always provide a product that carries a premium price point.

        Yes, the iPad itself was a revolutionary product. But it was not a budget minded product. Apple has a history (and I’ve been there for all of it, thank you) of releasing products that may revolutionize some element of the industry, but at a price premium.

  2. monopole23 October, 2012

    Even then it’s giving Apple a pass. Had any other company put this junk out they would have been a laughing stock, and rightfully so. Just like the iPhone5.

    No GPS, no NFC, no SD, no HDMI, lowest PPI in its class.

    Comparing this with any premium tablet is ridiculous, but even the Shenzen tablets shipping today out there blow away this loser. An Android 4.0 8″ 1024×768 RK3066 or Amlogic8726-MX run less than $139 and blow away the mini on every spec.

    While Apple will do well for a few more years, the envy factor is gone. Back when cheap Android tablets were really cheaply made, even the most die hard phandroids had a bit of envy over Apple’s access to premium tech. Nowadays, it’s a split between “meh” and “you’re not serious!”.

    1. binf24 October, 2012

      The iPad mini is the equivalent to the MacBook Air.
      The iPad 2 is placed like the MacBook Pro (sans Retina).

      People who want a sub $500 notebook are not Apple customers …

      Prices are right. There is nothing Apple has to worry of.

      1. Thomas24 October, 2012

        This is why Apple has less than 10% of the PC market.

        They have a commanding lead in the tablet market, but overpricing is going to drive their market share down.

    2. Ingo Lembcke, Hamburg24 October, 2012

      For HDMI an Adapter is announced. Wether it will work with the iPad mini and how much it will cost, remains to be seen.
      GPS is listed with the iPad mini with Cellular as “Assisted GPS and GLONASS”.
      Both no NFC and no SD are something it shares with a few other Tablets. Like the Kindle Fire.
      Not that it is an excuse, just to mention it.
      In a phone like the iPhone 5 it is really a missing feature, but in a Tablet I am not so sure.
      It also depends how the usage is spread. Being another security risk I cannot see it used much in Europe (I live in Germany where we are more careful about using things like that).

      1. Ingo Lembcke, Hamburg24 October, 2012

        Just to be clear, the last sentences mean NFC, not SD.

    3. Mike Cane24 October, 2012

      >>>even the Shenzen tablets shipping today out there blow away this loser. An Android blh blah blah

      And what is the quality control on those Shenzen devices? Many people have bought them thinking they were getting a steal only to find them suddenly drop dead a month or two or three later. So they go from being a steal to the buyer actually getting robbed.

      Aside from that, you’re also stuck with Android.

  3. Lyman24 October, 2012

    ” … Apple usually has an iPad event in the Spring. That’s probably when they will announce a price cut on the iPad Mini. … ”

    You are probably setting yourself up for expectation failure again. Over the course of 2013 Apple will likely move the 4″ iPod Touch down below the $399 mark ( the $399 and $299 models move down $100 and wipe out the 3 year old iPod Touches. Likely in the Fall). The iPad 2 disappears (probably early in 2013 after all the in-flight purchase orders for iPad 2 have been filled and updated iPads rolled out world wide). iPad gets a CPU/GPU/radio update, gets a bit thinner/lighter, and finally get a storage bump. No price change. The iPad mini 2 gets CPU/GPU/radio update and perhaps 326 ppi screen. No price change.

    Given the choice between putting in a 326 ppi screen in and dropping below $300 Apple will likely choose the former.

    The iPad mini has too many constraints to get there now. Not enough battery or capacity for a A5X or A6X to drive the device. The screen would also throw the price out of whack now and inhibit the much more profitable iPhone 5. In 2013, they will have new GPU tech that is much better and the laminated 326 ppi screen process should be much more mature.

    This is a multiyear product on a multiyear plan. “I want features a, b, c, and d by this Christmas’ isn’t really a major factor.

    1. Mike Cane24 October, 2012

      OTOH, once they drop the iPad 2, they can keep the current Mini and drop its price and keep milking it for another year as well as selling the new Mini 2 (or just “new Mini” as they will probably hair-rippingly call it).

  4. fjtorres24 October, 2012

    I wouldn’t expect any Apple Tablet action in the spring other than a nominal price cut of the too-litle-too-late variety because of all the flack they’re taking over releasing the iPad4 so soon after the iPad3.
    The earliest we’ll see new iPad hardware is next fall, along with everybody else tablet refreshes.
    Unless the Mini is a total dud and Apple panics.
    But since the mini has the “magic logo” it’ll sell enough not to be a total dud and Apple won’t panic. Brand loyalty is the last defense of gadget vendors–just ask Sony.

    1. Ingo Lembcke, Hamburg24 October, 2012

      > I wouldn’t expect
      Well given the unexpected iPad 4 yesterday I say, all bets are off.
      The next refresh or new models will happen as soon as Apple can built them.
      After yesterday my guess would be late spring/early summer (May 2013).
      Together with the promised new Mac Pro-Models.
      But if possible, both could surface earlier (no pun intended).

      As for the possible success of the iPad mini:
      the price will work in Apple’s favour – as always.
      The size makes it easier to take with you, it might fit in big pockets or a handbag.
      As a fashion device it makes a certain statement, underlined by the well known hight price.

      And to be sure, I own an iPad (3) and it is for me too big to take with me and too heavy to hold for a long time – the iPad mini on the other hand would be perfect for some tasks and easier to handle.

      The success of the iPad mini might be greater because of the high price for some people, not despite it.

  5. digital reader fan25 October, 2012

    Source engadget

    “Cook dismissed the notion that it would cannibalize other iPad sales. “The way that we look at this,” Cook said, “is that we provide a fantastic iPod touch, an iPad, and an iPad mini. Customers will decide which one, two, three or four they want, and they’ll buy those.” He went on to add that “we’ve learned over the years not to worry about cannibalization of our products…..”

    1. cookie25 October, 2012

      I feel like I have a need for tablets of different sizes, although not at Apple prices.

Leave a Reply

Scroll to top