The latest reports on the iPad Mini 5 come from Compal, one of the companies that is heavily involved in the manufacturing of the iPad family for Apple. It’s set for a year of growth, and many believe that is down to an increasing demand for a smaller and cheaper iPad. Mike Wuerthele reports for Apple Insider:
Company president C.P. Wong told investors at a press conference that the fortunes of the company were growing. The executive told investors that the company was expecting double-digit growth in 2019 in “non-PC” shipments, meaning iPads and similar devices.
Amplifying this information is DigiTimes, correctly stating that Compal is generating a lot of income now from iPad production, and Apple Watch fabrication. The publication then goes on to cite sources familiar with the matter claiming that the company itself is expecting this revenue and shipment growth from the new iPad mini refresh that is allegedly in the works at Apple.
Forbes’ David Phelan has more on the expected hardware, but I expect that Apple will be especially interested in getting the cheaper iPad Mini to as many new users as possible. iPad launch events have traditionally (but not exclusively) been in mid-March, so it’s not long to wait.
The last few years have seen Apple push the more expensive iPad Pro tablets at product launches and in marketing – a strategy that was echoed in the move to higher priced iPhones in the iPhone X, XS, and XS Max handsets.
Unlike the cancelled iPhone SE, the iPad range still has a cheaper entry-level model in the iPad Mini. This has not been updated in a number of years (the iPad Mini 4 was launched in 2015) so the time is right to either sunset the form factor or bring in a new model to engage the market. All the signs are pointing to the later.
With a cheaper entry-level device in to the iOS ecosystem, Apple can bring people into its cloud-based services and hopefully make them life-long users. With the process under way to focus more on the software and services revenue than the hardware revenue, a cheap iPad Mini increases the user base and the average ongoing revenue per user, without disrupting the premium feel of the iPhone brand name.
And if the cheap iPad Mini reaches its sales goal, and the user data shows a worthwhile level of engagement, then perhaps the chances of an iPhone SE 2 might not be as dead as we were led to believe.