Although Apple was the pioneer of the consumer friendly tablet and the iPad was responsible for creating and dominating a new market, Apple was a little slow off the mark when it came to releasing a smaller form factor tablet.
While the iPad dominated the 9 and 10 inch tablet market, other manufacturers like Samsung, Amazon and Google were enjoying success with 7 inch tablets without any competition from Apple. It is thought that Amazon sold around 7 million Kindle Fire devices before Apple even launched its smaller form factor of the iPad.
But eventually Apple did get into the 7 inch market, the 7.9 inch market to be exact! The iPad Mini became available at the beginning of November 2012. It has the same 1024×768 screen resolution as the iPad and iPad 2 but compressed into a smaller screen. It uses the same CPU as the iPad 2, but it has a better audio processor which means it features Apple’s Siri voice recognition software. It also has a front-facing 1.2MP camera and rear-facing 5MP camera, both of which are significant improvements over the iPad 2.
According to Millennial Media, during November, the iPad Mini’s usage grew 28% per day. That is an impressive growth rate. It is thought that once the numbers are released Apple will have shipped a total of 8 million iPad Minis in 2012. That would mean that the iPad Mini outsold the Kindle Fire in just 2 months.
What this means is that the 7 and 8 inch form factor is now readily acceptable to consumers and that there are now two legitimate screen sizes for tablets. It also means that Apple’s branding is still strong even when pitted against the power of household names like Amazon and Google.
For app developers and mobile web site designers, it means that smaller screen sizes (for tablets) need to be taken into consideration. For those looking to monetize their apps or mobile web sites via ads, the success of the iPad Mini means that the amount of potential income is increasing.
Apple aren’t going to stop developing or tweaking its range of tablets, and in 2013 there will likely be new variants of the iPad Mini, as well as new versions of the iPad and iPhone.
The initial rapid growth of the iPad Mini is probably due to its immediate success after its launch. The next twelve months will reveal if it can sustain such levels of interest.
It is clear that the iPad Mini has been a success in the 7 to 8 inch sector, but its larger brother, the iPad, still dominates overall. The same research from Millennial Media shows that iPad usage is also continuing to grow and that at present dwarfs the iPad Mini’s usage by a factor of 35 times.
[author ]Gary Sims is a mobile app developer, technical writer and contributor to http://www.mobileadvertisingcomparison.com[/author]