Jonathan Geller, reporting for BGR:
First introduced in 2012, Apple’s iPad mini was a welcome alternative to the much larger, thicker, and heavier 9.7-inch iPad. There was no 5.5-inch iPhone Plus, so the iPad mini made a great choice for light reading and effortless web browsing, email, and gaming. The market doesn’t stand still, however, and we’re now looking at a redesigned iPad Pro to be launched this summer that should offer everything the current 9.7-inch iPad features, but in a smaller footprint with a larger 10.5-inch display.
On the other side, there’s the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, which is large enough to negate the need for a tablet for many users. The device you take everywhere, that’s always with you, that has the best camera, and that has everything else you need. The device that you already own. Therein lies the problem, and that’s why we have heard from a source close to Apple that the iPad mini is being phased out.
In hindsight, I should have realized that Apple was phasing out the iPad Mini when the new 9.7-inch model was released a couple of months ago. The new iPad costs $70 less than the Mini and features a larger screen and faster A-series chip.
But setting aside it’s pitiful internals, the iPad Mini is getting squeezed at both ends by smartphones with ever increasing screen sizes and lower cost tablets with larger displays. There isn’t a good reason for the Mini to exist anymore. But, I didn’t expect Apple to discontinue it.
My initial thought was that Apple would fix the iPad lineup’s pricing by releasing an aggressively costed Mini — maybe $199 or $249. That would give them an absurdly low price point to market knowing that many customers would opt for a more expensive model. It would also tidy-up the lineup from a logical standpoint — two consumer iPads at 7.9- and 9.7-inches alongside two pro models at 10.5- and 12.9-inches. But, alas, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
(Via Nick Heer.)