It may have legitimized the tablet space when it was first launched in October 2012, but Apple’s 7.9 inch screened tablet could be set to say goodbye. According to reports, Apple is ready to discontinue the iPad Mini in the near future.

From a practical point of view, this makes sense. As the size of smartphone screens continue to grow, phablet devices like the iPhone 7S Plus are creeping into the same territory as the iPad Mini. At the top end the latest iPad is expected to bump the screen size up from 9.7 inches to 10.5 inches but retaining the same footprint. What was once a nice halfway house between screen sizes of the smaller iPhones and larger iPads is now becoming squeezed.

With sales of the smallest tablet in decline, and products with higher margins and more sales either side of it, the iPad Mini is more of a millstone around Apple’s financial performance than a welcome and cheaper way into the iOS ecosystem.

It does not fit into the current product portfolio, it is arguably taking away sales from better performing devices, and it no longer has the talismanic effect that Apple wants in a product. In short the iPad Mini has lost its magical ability to excite, engage and enthuse.

Will Apple work on building up the brand again, perhaps with an iPad Mini Pro? Or will it focus on the increased commercial benefits offered by the phablet iPhones and larger screened tablets? I suspect the latter.

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Michael Bailey
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