Why the iPad mini is Not Just a Smaller iPad
Following on the heels of the iPhone 5, Apple has announced a release date of 2 November – tomorrow - for the new iPad mini, just in time for the holiday shopping season. With a smaller price tag than the standard iPad and a sleek design that rests in just one hand, the iPad mini is expected to claim a sizeable share of the market from the Kindle Fire HD, Google Nexus 7, and other small tablets.
Research firm IHS iSuppli predicts that 7” tablet sales will double this year compared to 2011, and will double again – to 67m units – in 2013. Given this rapid market growth, the small tablet segment will offer an array of marketing opportunities. However, we believe that app developers must consider four important factors before plugging this shiny new device into their marketing programs:
1. Form factor and ergonomics
Because the iPad Mini is smaller and lighter, it takes the new tablet from a “lean-back” to a “lean-forward” experience. Larger iPads often don’t leave the home – they’re most often used as a second screen when users multitask and watch TV on the couch. The iPad mini is more likely to be mobile and used on the go – introducing a new segment for marketers to monitor.
2. Out-of-home usage will impact app selection
While games, for example, will probably continue to be extremely popular on all sizes of tablets, strategy or card-based games that engage users for long periods of time may not be as popular with users who are on the go as more casual games that are easier to “snack” on.
3. Lower price point
At $329 (£205), this more affordable iPad is likely to bring in a group of users that love to consume content, entertainment, and games, and who monetize better than iPod Touch users. But to complement the mobility of the small device, Apple is offering 4G connectivity as well – which starts at $459 and may well attract buyers with higher disposable income levels, just like the full-sized iPad.
4. Volume and adoption are key
As volume and adoption ramp for the iPad mini, app publishers that target the device will inevitably increase their advertising spend to acquire new customers and get the organic lift of ranking in the App Store as well. This should increase competitiveness in the iPad App Store, as developers go after this increasing and valuable inventory.
Finally, one question many industry insiders are trying to answer is whether the iPad mini will undercut sales of full-sized iPads. Industry designer Robert Brunner, who has worked at Apple, told CNN: “As for whether iPad mini is an addition or a replacement for iPad owners, it’s probably both. Some crazy people will want both, and some will find its size more compelling for everyday use. Studies have shown that most iPads stay in the home, around the coffee table, but the iPad mini will be a much more mobile device.”
For app marketers, the change of user behaviour driven by the Mini’s form factor is very important. Don’t assume that the types of apps, content, and marketing messages that appeal to home tablet users will work just as well on the go. Consumption of content, app mix, and user behaviours will all adapt to mobile usage, and marketers will have to adapt as well.
Glenn Kiladis is vice president and general manager of Fiksu’s FreeMyApps, an app discovery and engagement ad network