iPad Mini is just the Beginning of the Tablet Explosion
By Jim Lundy
It was just a year ago and the only serious Tablet on the market was the iPad 2. Apple sold 15.43 million iPad 2s in the fourth quarter of 2011. Jump ahead to the holiday season for 2012 and the iPad Mini and Google Nexus 7 just started shipping in volume. In numerous discussions with people on Twitter, it is has become clear that it will be a popular choice. The evolution of tablets and their form factors is just beginning. On top of that, with over a million app submissions now having hit the iTunes App Store, we see no slowing down of the apps that people can use on a tablet. Now that tablet sizes are evolving (and prices falling), we expect to see a surge in demand.
It is interesting to note that smaller tablets were here first – since the iPod has really been a tablet all along. That said, I’m seeing a lot of interest for both the Google Nexus 7 and the Apple iPad Mini.
iPad Mini – the size of a folded sheet of paper
The challenge for many is visualizing what a 7 inch tablet looks like size wise. Take a regular 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper and fold it in half. There you have a pretty good image of how large a 7 inch tablet is. I unboxed and set-up an iPad Mini for a co-worker here at Aragon Research and was pleasantly surprised at the look and feel of the device.
Tablet Form Factors: iPad Mini is just the beginning
The beautiful thing about the expansion of Tablet form factors is that people will get to decide what works best for them. Here at our firm, we gave employees a choice and just under half picked the iPad Mini instead of a full size iPad. The nice thing is that all three tablets (iPhone/iPod, iPad Mini and iPad 4) all run the same Operating System, which is currently at iOS 6.1.
This has interesting implications for the Holiday season. Will the iPad Mini be the hit that the iPad 2 was last holiday season? Our take is that the iPad Mini may take up to half of the sales of the more expensive iPad 4. That said, we expect many more people to jump into purchase mode for iPads and Google tablets. These first time buyers, combined with repeat buyers, will cause an explosion in sales. Choices abound.
Tablets – Will Kids go for the iPad Mini?
Make no mistake about it, kids gravitate to Tablets. Will they pick an iPad Mini over a fullsize tablet? Kids seem to know about apps they can download and download they do. So the question remains, what size tablet to get for the kids. Our take is that the bigger the screen, the more things that a tablet can be used for. We expect that many parents will throw down money to get more than just one tablet for their kids and that might tilt the purchase toward the iPad Mini. Suffice to say, we see an explosion of sales of tablets for kids. This will help to speed up the demise of the PC market and it may force a consolidation among PC Manufacturers.
Mobile Upgrades may impact your Tablet Decision
Not all Tablets are the same when it comes upgrades. Look at the Tablet you like and understand who will provide the upgrade. In some cases, Google Tablets don’t get upgraded for months after an Android release. This is buyer beware territory.
So all in all, we expect the new form factors of the iPad Mini and Nexus 7, as well as the Amazon Kindle devices to give more choice to people. As a result, this will help to create a larger shift towards Tablets of all sizes and with that will come even lower prices over the next 3 years. Happy Shopping.