The iPad Mini is likely going out with a whimper after being gobbled up by its slightly smaller cousin, the iPhone 7 Plus.
Apple’s smallest tablet will be discontinued, according to a report from BGR, citing a source “close to Apple.”
The Mini is a casualty of the company’s move into the phablet market, as the source said “fierce cannibalism of our own products” led to the Mini being “sized out of its own category” by the iPhone 7 Plus and its 5.5-inch screen. The 7 Plus, which has been a strong seller for Apple, is just 2.2 inches smaller than the Mini with a much better camera, making it to difficult for casual users to justify buying the tablet.
The iPad Mini’s exit would clear up some space in the packed-out tablet lineup — as my colleague Damon Beres put it, Apple currently offers “hella iPads.” The Mini was an especially odd fruit in the bunch, with its 7.9-inch screen and $399 sticker price, after the company replaced the Air 2 with the 9.7-inch, $329 iPad back in March.
Meanwhile, other iPads are just getting bigger, as Apple’s expected to replace its 9.7-inch Pro model with a 10.5-inch version next month at its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) event.
The report wasn’t clear on exactly when Apple will axe the Mini, or if the tablet will continue to be sold as part of the iPad line without further updates or just dropped entirely.
If the report’s true, let’s take a moment to pour one out for the Mini, which was first introduced back in 2012. It served its purpose well as a midlevel, ultra-portable tablet before the rise of the phablet with the introduction of the iPhone 6S Plus in 2015.
Apple reps had no answers when we reached out for clarification, since the company doesn’t comment on rumors.
The report also claims that Apple will use the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) stage to tout “record numbers” about its performance that weren’t discussed in the recent earnings conference call — so maybe we’ll finally find out more about those Apple Watch sales? Here’s hoping.