Pretty much every Apple product has cannibalized sales from another one: the MacBook cannibalized the Mac, the iPhone cannibalized the iPod, the iPad cannibalized the MacBook, and the iPad mini cannibalized the iPad Air.
On its part, though, Apple has always been cavalier about cannibalizing its own sales. In February, 2013, Tim Cook told investors that “if we don’t cannibalize, someone else will.” Which is why Cupertino is unlikely to be worried about analyst concerns that a larger iPhone 6 could cannibalize sales of the iPad mini.
As we’ve reported, the next iPhone is expected to debut in two sizes: a 4.7-inch model and a 5.5-inch model. The 5.5-inch iPhone 6, reportedly called the iPad Air, will likely be delayed until at least Christmas, but the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will land in September.
When it does, though, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says that it could cannibalize iPad mini sales. In an investor note released Monday, he suggested that consumers might update to the iPhone 6 to score the bigger screen instead of keeping an older phone and buying an iPad Mini. They might also choose an iPad Air instead of a Mini because they already have a fairly large screen in their pocket.
If true, the iPhone 6 could hurt sales of the iPad mini, but that’s probably not a big deal from Apple’s perspective. Larger-screened devices represents one of the few remaining growth opportunities in the smartphone market for Apple to pursue. iPhone sales make up the bulk of Apple’s business, while iPad sales have basically stalled. My guess is that Apple would rather trade in some iPad mini sales if it can be translated into even greater market penetration for iPhone.