TECH
11/04/2014 11:50 am ET

Rumor Says Apple Will Kill The iPad Mini -- And Maybe It Should

Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

A sketchy rumor from an Asian news outlet said on Monday that Apple would soon drop the ax on its iPad Mini device, reportedly citing competition in the tablet market and an overall decline in iPad Mini popularity.

The Taiwanese newspaper that published the story correctly predicted the 2015 release date for the Apple Watch before Apple even officially announced the device. But no other reports or announcements corroborated the information about the Mini, and most sites called the rumor "dubious" and "sketchy."

Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mark Gurman, a senior editor at 9to5 Mac, put it even more bluntly:

Still, there's a certain logic to the rumor. If October's iPad event at the Cupertino campus is any indication, Apple doesn't have big plans for the iPad Mini. During that event, the company spent the majority of the time talking about upgrades to the iPad Air 2 -- giving the flagship tablet faster chips, a better camera and Touch ID, Apple's fingerprint sensor. The company also made the Air 2 even thinner and lighter.

Apple execs hardly spent any time talking about the iPad Mini, whose biggest upgrade was Touch ID and a new gold color. The iPad Mini 3 has the same chips and cameras, and is the same size and same weight, as the Mini model that came out last year.

The iPhone 6 Plus accounted for 24 percent of new iPhone sales at the end of September, according to third-party surveys cited by Apple Insider. It's startlingly similar to the Mini: At 5.5 inches, it's just 2.5 inches smaller than the tablet, and it makes calls. It's also more expensive -- off contract, the iPhone 6 Plus starts at $749 for a meager 16GB of storage, versus $399 for the iPad Mini 3 -- meaning the phone has better profit margins for the company.

Adding fuel to the fire, iPad sales were down 13 percent this year compared to last. So while Apple may not be killing the iPad Mini yet, maybe it's time to consider it.

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