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article imageApple may phase out the iPad Mini to concentrate on high-end Pro

By James Walker     May 16, 2017 in Technology
Apple is planning to discontinue its compact iPad Mini tablet family, according to a report today. The device, popular with casual users for web browsing and reading, has been forced out of Apple's line-up by the company's focus on high-end products.
A source "close to Apple" informed news site BGR that the iPad mini will be phased out in the summer. The once-popular tablet is said to be struggling. As overall iPad sales continue their downward trend, Apple seems to be cutting the Mini to focus on its more popular and profitable variants.
There's no word on when the Mini will be removed from the line-up or if something else will take its place. The closest alternative in Apple's current range is the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus. Its screen size is significantly less than the 7.9-inch iPad, rendering it less suitable for the media consumption, web browsing and family communication workloads that many Minis have been tasked with.
BGR's source said the decision to cut the device has derived from the Mini's decreasing influence in Apple's line-up. It has been "sized out of its own category" by Apple's new focus on large-screen phablets. The new 9.7-inch iPad is also not too much of a step up from the Mini.
There's reportedly "fierce cannibalism" of existing Apple products within the company's walls. With the sales situation "very clear," discontinuing the device is the most viable step forward.
Assuming the insider's knowledge is correct, the iPad mini is likely to disappear later in the year. It isn't known how long Apple will continue to sell the tablet for. It could abruptly pull it from sale or quietly phase it out as it sells through its remaining stock.
Apple has consistently presented the iPad as the future of computing. The reality seems to be very different though. Through several consecutive quarters, the family has spoiled Apple's earnings results by reporting a reduction in year-on-year revenue. Sales are down around 20 percent as new launches like the iPad Pro have failed to revitalise the segment.
After relaunching the name with last month's "iPad," Apple is now widely believed to be working on a new family of Pro devices. The trio of products, headlined by the addition of a 10.5-inch version, will debut at the company's WWDC event in San Jose next month.
Although significantly upgraded hardware will be revealed, unveiling more high-end products won't singlehandedly address the underlying issues with the iPad family. Despite Apple's claims, it has become evident that the iOS mobile operating system used on the iPad isn't well suited to serious work. With an iPad Pro coming in at the same price as a MacBook laptop, Apple doesn't have much to sway sceptics in favour of giving the tablet a go.
In February, Apple CEO Tim Cook insisted that "exciting things" are coming to the iPad and the company remains "very optimistic." It's probable that elements of these elusive "things" will be demonstrated next month. Apple will be hoping the anticipated launch helps to pacify uneasy analysts who aren't wholly convinced by its claims that iPad sales are still running smoothly.
More about Apple, iPad, ipad pro, iPad Mini, Wwdc
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