People have been talking a lot about the iPad Mini cannibalizing regular iPad sales. However, as Cult of Mac reports, this effect is far smaller than the rate at which the Mini is cannibalizing PC sales. This isn’t surprising. The Mini provides an attractive price point entry for people who are intrigued by the iPad as a replacement for their PC, but find the full sized model a bit too expensive.
When you think about it, most people probably don’t need anything more than a tablet. My dad has a Mac but for his needs – email, web surfing, basic word processing, photo sharing, etc., a full sized computer is overkill.
Conspiracy theorists might think that Steve Jobs planned this all along. Introduce a full featured tablet to introduce people to the idea, then come out with a Mini that can dominate the low end and brutalize PC sales.
However, the real cannibalization will come when Apple allows cellular phone calls from the iPad and Mini. This is technically possible now, but Apple doesn’t want to kill its iPhone cash cow. Allowing cell calls on the iPads would eliminate the need to buy an iPhone and an iPad. But it’s coming eventually.
Once tablets fully saturate the market, this will happen and it wont be an issue. Because at that point, the cellular phone will be an archaic concept. The iPhone really is a pocket-sized mini-computer that can make cellular calls. The Mini and iPad are larger sized mini-computers. Turn on cellular capability on the iPads, and then you have three sizes of minicomputer. If you want the teeny tiny one, you have to pay more for the miniaturization.
This reveals the real issue with the Mini and Apple’s current pricing structure. The Mini really should have a price point somewhere in between the iPhone and the iPad. But it’s the cheapest of the three, and has fewer features. Apple really needs to re-work their thinking and introduce a full-featured mini with a price point in-between the iPad and iPhone. That will allow it to activate cellular service for both iPad models with a rational pricing structure.
So 2-3 years from now, I fully expect that the iPad Mini will outsell the iPhone…but somewhere along the line we need to drop the ‘phone’ terminology and call them what they are – mini-computers.