How glamorous the iPad Pro is, how embarrassing the iPad mini is.
The time of the Apple WWDC Developer Conference is getting closer and more speculations about the new iPadOS. The super-high running scores of the iPad Pro equipped with the M1 chip make people increasingly expect Apple to apply the productivity of the iPad Pro through the new system. What height to push.
In contrast to the glamour of the iPad Pro, the iPad mini, which has been repeatedly exposed to be updated, is a bit embarrassing. Not only did the new iPad mini fail to appear at the spring conference, it also became more embarrassing in the entire iPad series product line. If you don't make a low, you don't.
iPad mini did not enjoy the dividends brought by the increase in "productivity"
Since the iPad Pro was changed to a full-screen mold in 2018, Apple's transformation of the productivity of the iPad series has begun.
The iPad Pro 2018 has changed from the lightning interface to USB-C, which greatly increases the scalability. USB-C can expand a variety of interfaces through the adapter. At the same time, the C port supports faster data transmission, which is professional paving.
And we now see that the M1 chip and the magic keyboard with a touchpad are paving the way for professional productivity. According to MacRumors, the iPad Pro Geekbench equipped with the M1 chip has a single-core and multi-core score of 1718 and 7284, respectively. Compared with the previous generation iPad Pro, the performance has increased by more than 50%, which is close to the MacBook Air equipped with the M1 chip.
This is enough to show that the iPad Pro has sufficient performance, and the Magic Keyboard can also allow it to achieve almost desktop keyboard-mouse interaction. The next step is to introduce more large-scale productivity applications for iPadOS to truly use this part of the performance.
In contrast, although the iPad mini has also been upgraded to iPadOS, it has not brought a breakthrough experience improvement. Let alone the incomplete version of production applications such as office, it has less than an 8-inch screen and cannot be used on the desktop. , Multi-task collaboration experience is not good.
On the other hand, the iPad mini does not have such rich accessories as the iPad Pro. In addition to Apple's official Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil, there are also professional brackets such as Kensington StudioDock, which provide iPad Pro with more interfaces and increase scalability.
▲ Kensington StudioDock stand, which expands multiple interfaces for iPad Pro and also supports wireless charging .
It can be said that the iPad mini has not been able to enjoy the bonus of "productivity" improvement, and in the increasingly hot education market in recent years, its competitiveness is weaker than the entry-level 10.2-inch iPad.
The epidemic is still happening in many countries and regions. On the premise of not being able to go out frequently, online classes have become a must for the education system. Because of the simple interaction of the iPad, young people who are familiar with the mobile Internet use mobile phones for a long time and switch to tablets. The cost of study and class is also lower, and the conversion speed is faster.
This has led to a sharp increase in sales of the iPad series. According to the data released by IDC, the growth is still continuing. In Q1 of 2021, global tablet shipments reached 39.9 million units, a year-on-year increase of 55.2%, of which Apple accounted for the highest proportion, with a year-on-year increase. .
▲ Data source: IDC
However, it is worth noting that the entry-level iPad has a larger screen and a lower price. Educational applications such as online classes do not have particularly high requirements for product performance. This has led to people more willing to buy an iPad instead of an iPad mini.
Of course, if there is a shortage of production due to the epidemic last year, the iPad mini with a higher price and a smaller screen will also become an alternative and be snapped up.
Even if Apple changes the iPad mini to enlarge the screen later, the positioning cannot be changed. The difference between the screen size and price of the entry-level iPad is real.
▲ iPad mini is more expensive than iPad
To put it bluntly, the positioning of the iPad mini is more like an entertainment tool, not a tool for learning or even creation. From the changes in the shape of the iPad product line, the hardware form of the future iPad mini can also be found.
The final form of the iPad mini has almost been confirmed
Among the three of mobile phones, computers, and tablets, the tablet has the latest appearance and the shortest development time, but it takes less time to enter the maturity period than the other two. You can see that the forms of mobile phones and computers have experienced more The changes in the plate are more subtle.
After all, electronic products still have to make corresponding changes according to the development of technology. Thanks to the multi-core combination mode of the M1 chip, iMac is much simpler and thinner, and the impact of technology on the iPad series is nothing more than lighter, thinner, The screen-to-body ratio is larger.
It is conceivable that the current iPad Pro is the final form of the iPad mini, but obviously in order to balance the different positioning of the product line and the price range covering a more full price range, the changes of the iPad mini will not come so soon.
Well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in his prediction that the iPad mini 6 will use an 8.4-inch display and a thinner frame, and is equipped with fingerprint recognition and a lightning interface. It is basically going in the direction of the iPad Pro.
In addition, the iPad mini has not been able to catch up with another trend in the tablet market-an enlarged screen.
IDC has mentioned in the tablet market forecast for 2021 that the screen of tablet PCs will show a growth trend.
Behind this, on the one hand, tablet manufacturers, including Apple, hope to expand the productivity scene, that is, increase the screen to enhance the desktop experience, expand the tablet category in the future market, and increase product competitiveness. Drive the further increase in selling prices and obtain more profits.
Moreover, in today’s era that emphasizes ecology and services, Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi and other manufacturers are basically distributing their own content services through tablets, and obtain a further profit through services. At the same time, the linkage of tablets and other products can also give birth to stronger Ecological barriers allow consumers to continue to stay in their own product ecology.
On the other hand, the popularity of educational hardware during the epidemic has intensified the market that was originally a red sea. Microsoft's Surface go, Google's Chromebook, and a host of Android tablet manufacturers that cooperate with major education companies.
Even in a learning scenario, watching online classes and taking notes also emphasizes desktop applications. It seems that the iPad mini's 8-inch screen is still more difficult to fully satisfy, especially when competitors have sufficient resources, low prices, and large screens. under.
When Jobs introduced the iPad, he compared it to an intermediate product between the iPhone and the Mac. Although this proves that the iPad has created a new consumption range, it also directly highlights the risks of this category-it is easily replaced by mobile phones or computers. .
Many things that tablets can do can be handled by mobile phones or computers, and the iPad mini is a product of more segmented needs in the entire iPad product line. When we reviewed the iPad mini 5, we called it a game artifact, compared to mobile phones. In terms of its larger screen and powerful performance, it is enough to play mainstream mobile games.
But this can also be done by mobile phones, anytime, anywhere.
As Apple continues to transform the productivity experience of the iPad product line, the situation of the iPad mini in the entire product line will only become more and more awkward, although it is still a good enough entertainment artifact.
Will the iPad mini die?
Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun recently talked about MIX FOLD on Weibo, saying that its size is larger than the iPad mini, and MIUI itself also has a handheld PC mode, imitating the Windows desktop intent to achieve a similar split-screen multi-application experience.
Although it is actually just another "change version" of the Android software running in a small window, it is indeed better to apply the large screen of MIX FOLD.
This is already the third manufacturer to launch a folding screen mobile phone after Samsung and Huawei. The folding screen has been developed for several years and gradually matured. After that, more and more mobile phone manufacturers have launched corresponding products to attract consumers and further promote the market. It is almost an established trend to increase the price of products to obtain profits.
Originally, a tablet is a product between a mobile phone and a computer. The contrast of the iPad mini's 8-inch screen and the folding screen is almost the same.
Well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also mentioned in his forecast of Apple products that Apple may launch a folding screen iPhone in 2023, and the status of the iPad mini will be even more precarious by then.
As for the final outcome of the iPad mini, I guess it may be combined with the entry-level iPad. After all, the small-screen iPad is too replaceable. It is a folding screen phone that can play games, watch video entertainment, and make calls anytime and anywhere. Isn't it stronger than an iPad dedicated to entertainment.
Of course, it will take some time for the popularization of folding screen mobile phones at this stage. The price is one aspect. Manufacturers' exploration of it is far from reaching the end. It shouldn't be just a "big screen mobile phone."
▲ Huawei Mate X2
During this period of time, the iPad mini is still an entertainment artifact and will have good sales. Apple will continue to exist for a long time in order to distribute services.
However, its update speed will gradually slow down. As mentioned above, the future of the iPad mini's hardware form has been determined by the iPad Pro. Even in a full-screen form, it will not be very attractive to consumers, and the core performance Growth will not bring much experience improvement, which leads to a long replacement cycle.
Since it cannot attract a large number of users to renew, the old models can also be distributed, and there is no need for frequent updates.
Finally, a digression, the mini-type products themselves are products designed to meet specific needs. This is the case for the iPhone 12 mini, and the same is true for the iPad mini.
As a flagship mobile phone with a small screen that has been popular on the Internet, many colleagues in the editorial department of Aifaner have also bought the iPhone 12 mini, but its overall sales are still not optimistic, and Apple has also cut orders for the product.
Guo Mingchi mentioned in Apple's analysis that due to poor sales, the 2021 version of the mini iPhone is the last in the series, and there will only be a 6.1-inch iPhone and a 6.7-inch iPhone in the future.
After the mini iPhone, the next iPad mini may disappear. Mini products that meet specific needs will eventually disappear in the market to satisfy more users.
Use it and cherish it.
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