Last week at a big press event, Apple unveiled two new iPad models – the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3. The former received nearly a half an hour of hype time on stage, while the latter was announced in seconds as a mere afterthought.
Apple knew there really wasn't that much to say about the iPad Mini 3. The new iPad Air 2 is thinner and faster with a prettier screen and a better camera. The new iPad Mini 3 is not.
In fact, the iPad Mini 3 is barely an improvement over the last-gen iPad Mini. Physical specs? Same. Processor? Same. Display? Same.
The only new addition to the iPad Mini 3 is Touch ID, which allows users to bypass security with their fingerprint. There's also a gold color option, but you can't credibly count that as a new feature. Oh, and of course, there's the new price tag.
The iPad Mini 3 starts at $399 for the most basic version (16GB, no cellular). That's $100 more than the iPad Mini 2.
Apple made an interesting play here. Is a Touch ID worth an extra $100?
Well, it doesn't look like it – at least according to one report.
According to a report from ecommerce firm Slice Intelligence, 93 percent of all iPad pre-orders are for the iPad Air 2. So, only 7% of Apple fans who've pulled the trigger on a brand new iPad have chosen the iPad Mini 3.
Slice Intelligence feels the smaller iPad is suffering at the hands of the bigger iPhone.
"Tellingly, the majority – 32 percent – of iPad Air 2 buyers [that previously bought another tablet] had most recently bought an iPad Mini, hinting that the format may be falling out of favor with consumers as Apple makes iPhones bigger."
Maybe the allure of a 7.9-inch tablet isn't as strong when you have a 5.5-inch phone?
Or maybe Apple just put out a barely-improved product, slapped a hefty price tag on it, and called it a day. It's not as though the iPad Mini is a bad tablet – on the contrary, it's getting passable reviews. The problem is people expect an upgrade – and $100 is probably a lot of money for a Touch ID sensor.
Oh, and gold. I forgot about the new gold option. For what it's worth, Slice says the most popular pre-order color for the new iPad Mini 3 is gold.
Image via Apple