Is market ripe for a iPad mini?

August 8, 2012

Are you happier with your tablet or your smartphone?

According to new data from comScore, techies are happier with their tabletsthan they are with their mobile phones. The data, released Tuesday, found that tablets scored an average of 8.6 in owner satisfaction on a 10-point scale, while smartphones earned a score of an 8.1, but different brands have very different demographic profiles.

For example, the iPad — which rated the highest in overall satisfaction — tends to appeal most to younger, wealthier men. Meanwhile, the Kindle Fire, which comScore put in a brand class by itself for this survey, was a bigger hit with women and appealed to those with smaller household incomes.

It’s not a huge surprise that less affluent households would favor the generally lower price points of Android tablets and the $199 Kindle Fire, but the numbers are pretty interesting.

For users with household incomes under $25,000, Android tablets were by far the most popular, with 11.7 percent of the market share as compared to 5.5 percent for the iPad and 7 percent for the Kindle Fire. Apple makes up some ground in the $25,000-$50,000 income range, but still loses out its leading position to the Kindle Fire until the over-$100,000 bracket.

And, when the study looked at what motivates users to buy tablets, it found that app selection and price were two top factors. Apple scored higher on the first, but not on the second.

Combined with data that shows that the iPad had the highest satisfaction rating — 8.8, compared to an overall Android score of 8.2 and a Kindle Fire score of 8.7 — it seems the market is ripe for a cheaper iPad.

That, of course, is exactly what Apple fans are hoping to see the company release sometime soon. Rumor has it that a mini iPad could make its debut perhaps even as soon as this fall’s anticipated iPhone launch.

With news from the Apple-Samsung trial that late co-founder Steve Jobs may not have been as against a smaller tablet as he made out, the reports of a 7.85-inch, cheaper, high-quality display tablet from Apple seem a bit more likely.

We may know a bit more if, as reported, Apple has a big release event on the books for Sept. 12. Until then, let the speculation continue.

Related stories:

Apple developing smaller iPad, will cost ‘significantly less’ than $499, report says

The Apple-Samsung case: Five juicy tidbits

Apple ‘iPhone 5’ rumors continue to fly

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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