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8/9/2012
01:30 PM
Eric Zeman
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iPad Mini Is Pointless, Survey Says

Apple is widely expected to debut a smaller version of the iPad alongside the iPhone 5 next month. A new survey points to consumer disinterest--but the logic doesn't work for me.

10 Tablets To Shake Up 2012
10 Tablets To Shake Up 2012
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Apple's yet-to-be-announced iPad Mini could be an epic failure, if we're to believe the results from a survey conducted by CouponCodes4u. The online coupon site polled 1,873 American consumers about the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini. Shockingly, 78% of the respondents indicated they'd skip the iPad Mini in favor of the iPhone 5.

The results, published by Cult of Mac, could be skewed by the fact that 77% of the respondents already own an iPhone of one variety or another. Even so, this sampling might be cause for concern for the iPhone and iPad maker.

The survey asked respondents why they'd prefer an iPhone 5 over the iPad Mini, and 46% of people said the iPad Mini is "pointless." Slightly fewer people, 39% of respondents, said they'd simply use the iPhone 5 more. The survey didn't allow respondents to elaborate on their decision-making processes.

[ Hardware is one thing. What about the software? Read iOS 6: 10 Things Worth Knowing. ]

The Apple iPad owns about two-thirds of the overall tablet market. Apple's grip on consumer tablet market is strong, to say the least.

Of the 22% of respondents who said they'd pick the iPad Mini over the iPhone 5, 52% said they already owned an iPad. That means many of them would double-up on iPads. Again, the survey doesn't tell us important data points, such as whether or not those respondents would sell their larger iPad, or why they'd want a large and small iPad in their house.

Another reason some respondents would pick the iPad Mini over the iPhone 5: 69% believe that the iPhone 5 won't be that much different from than iPhone 4/4S.

That logic doesn't work for me, and points out several flaws in the study.

First, it means consumers are assuming that the leaked iPhone 5 shots, images, and specs are accurate. Though some of these details probably are in the ballpark, Apple always manages to surprise in some way, shape, or form with its hardware. Second, it ignores the fact that, other than size, the iPad Mini would likely not be all that much different from the larger iPad.

One last data point of interest: 41% of the respondents believe that the smaller tablet craze is a trend, and that Apple shouldn't bother with a smaller version of the iPad. This directly contrasts with the popularity of the new Google/Asus Nexus 7 tablet, which has been a strong seller during its first few weeks of availability.

At the end of the day, it is important to point out that the poll asked people to rate the desirability of products that don't actually exist. In other words, I'd love to see this poll conducted all over again once we have some facts on hand to help with our decision making.

Apple is expected to debut the new hardware next month.

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ANON1241471931665
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ANON1241471931665,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/9/2012 | 7:47:48 PM
re: iPad Mini Is Pointless, Survey Says
I'm confident a 7" iPad will be a very successful product and that the survey people were simply asking the wrong questions and probably asking them in a very skewed way to begin with. Designing survey questions is a lot harder than most people think and it's very easy to skew the results by asking the questions in the wrong way. The 7" tablet market is doing very well world wide and I will probably buy 3 of them for Christmas, one for each child in my family, completely unrelated to any iPhone related purchases. Why would a tablet decision have anything to do with a phone decision? Many of my friends that own an iPhone and upgrade yearly instead of every other year also own the big iPad and use it for very different purposes. Anyone who would design a set of survey questions to pit those two categories of devices against each other is looking at the problem from a very narrow and limited point of view. Most people who love Apple products love the ecosystem so much that having a new iPad mini and a new iPhone available to buy will help them want to spend even more and have them both. I want to buy the iPad mini for my wife to upgrade her from an older iPod Touch device so she can play games easier on a bigger screen. It's a significantly bigger iPod touch, not a smaller iPod from her perspective. That has nothing to do with her phone choice, and has very little to do with what devices we already own. Sure, it's a luxury to buy even more tablet devices for our household but getting the bigger iPad is considered the big expense that is too much above her very good iPod Touch she already owns. Offering a much less expensive 7" tablet half way in between the two price points is a very attractive product. Heck, I might want a smaller tablet myself for those more portable moments and leave the big one home for various family members who are staying home tonight while I go to the store. So many options and usage patterns exist for these things that there is no way a simple survey is going to even scratch the surface, no pun intended. A skewed survey asking the wrong questions certainly isn't going to provide accurate results.
PJS880
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PJS880,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/9/2012 | 8:03:13 PM
re: iPad Mini Is Pointless, Survey Says
I see this as a way to hit the target market that is buying the galaxy siii. An in-between model? What are they going to start naming apple devices like Starbucks drinks; yes I will take the grande iPad mini please! AppleGÇÖs motivation is that the IPad and IPhone are the hottest items in their respective fields. Until Apple releases the iPhone 5 we really wonGÇÖt know if these results are accurate or not. Another point is Apple has never been one to keep up with the trends rather sets the standards for new ones.

Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor
sadevito
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sadevito,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/10/2012 | 1:33:43 PM
re: iPad Mini Is Pointless, Survey Says
I would love a mini iPad, but I guess I may be an unusual case. I have a stupid phone (which is cheap) and an iPod touch, which acts just like a smartphone whenever I have wifi, which is often. Problem is, I'm a baby-boomer and my eyesight is aging along with the rest of me. I have to haul out my reading glasses any time I want to use my iPod. I love my husband's ipad, but it's really too big for my purse. The mini iPad would be perfect for reading books and map applications among many other things.
Andrew Hornback
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Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/12/2012 | 11:19:33 PM
re: iPad Mini Is Pointless, Survey Says
I find the use of less than 2000 data points for this survey to make it extremely misleading. Kind of like using a small town in New Hampshire to divine who will eventually win the Presidential election.

7" iPad would directly target the market for those who have been using other e-Readers, which I believe to be a somewhat different market segment than the standard iPad users are in. Add 3G/4G connectivity and you essentially have a larger iPhone.

Either way, Apple's accounting staff would have to figure out how much profit is to be made from these kinds of devices and see if there's enough market fluidity to assure that they'll make that profit and see how many sales it steals from the iPad.

Of course, since it would be a new form-factor, it would be quite obvious to anyone that the user is carrying the latest and greatest...

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
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