Why the iPad Mini is Bad For Apple

rotten to the core
image by Flickr user kristinhoppe

If, as is widely predicted, Apple launches the iPad mini later today it’ll be breaking one of the golden rules of product marketing: don’t cannibalize your own market.  I’ve written about my concerns with Apple’s recent product marketing in recent weeks, and I believe this is further evidence that the company’s product and marketing strategy is getting out of control.

With the launch of a 7.85″ iPad, Apple would have three mobile devices – a 9.7 and 7.85″ iPad and a 4″ iPhone.  Effectively it will have three products competing for the same share of the customers and, while customers may justify buying an iPhone 5 and an iPad, will they be able to justify a third device?  My concern, and it should be Apple’s, is that people will decide that they can manage with a smaller [and cheaper?] tablet.  If the prices for the iPad mini are correct then will consumers still justify paying an extra $600 for a couple of additional inches?

In addition to creating a problem for consumers, an iPad mini creates marketing challenges for Apple.  Not so much, ‘This changes everything”… more “this doesn’t change very much at all”.  Having three devices with the same functionality makes it more difficult to give consumers a clear reason to buy one Apple product over another.  I have no doubt initial sales will be strong but, over time, the company will find it increasingly difficult to differentiate in an ever more crowded marketplace.

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