What is Apple Doing with the iPad Mini?

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A week or so ago, a few rumors popped up that Apple would be updating the iPad Mini along with its other new hardware. While the initial report did say that such an upgrade could happen between now and the end of the year, most expected something sooner. Like at this week’s event sooner. Obviously that didn’t happen.

While an update marked with a press release could still happen, it seems unlikely. Part of the reason it seems like such a remote possibility now is because Tim Cook name dropped the iPad Mini in its current form on stage at the event. If an upgrade, even just a spec bump, were coming, then I don’t think that comment happens. We would have had radio silence on the Mini until an upgrade occurred.

With that in mind, the over three year old Mini doesn’t make a lot of sense in the current iPad lineup. With Apple’s Pro price hike, we now have an even bigger divide between the low and high ends of the iPad spectrum, so that isn’t an issue. However, the overlap between the iPad Mini and the iPad make it a bad fit and a tough sell.

The Mini 4 is currently only available with 128 GB of memory and clocks in at a relatively high $399. The iPad, on the other hand, has a 32 GB option that cost $70 less. While the iPad’s comparable 128 GB tier is a bit more expensive than the Mini at $429, I can’t help but think that you get a LOT more bang for that buck. The screen is bigger. The processor is faster. It has Apple Pencil compatibility. The Mini’s only redeeming quality at this point is its size. This will be enough for some, but its current form and price limit the possibility for broader appeal.

If Apple cut the price of the Mini to make it cheaper than the iPad, it would make sense to me. If they bumped the specs and/or added Pencil support, then the device would fit in a lot better at its current price point. I just find it very odd that a tablet that hit the market in 2015 costs more than a markedly better one that came out just seven months ago. But all you have to do is take a look at Apple’s laptop situation to see that they don’t always care about how their product lineup meshes from top to bottom. Sometimes it feels like Apple goes out of its way to muddy the product lineup, and the current situation with the Mini is one of those times.


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