The iPad mini is slated for release on Friday, and reactions are mixed: some see it as the device that finally takes the iPad line to iPhone-like mainstream popularity, while others see it as a shrunken down iPad 2 that can’t really compete with the competition in either specs or price.
So which will it be? To help predict, it might help to go back to the first “mini” sized iDevice Apple released: the iPod mini. Before that, there was just the iPod, shipping 1.5 million in a year. In 2004? The iPod mini helped increase the number of iPods sold by five times as many.
When the original iPod nano was introduced on September 7, 2005, it was one of Apple’s greatest design achievements. In a bold move, Apple decided to replace their iPod Mini with the unbelievably small iPod nano, even though the 2nd-gen Mini had only been on the market for eight months and was the popular iPod.
Over the last eight years, the iPod Nano has experienced more design changes than any other Apple product. It’s gone from metal to plastic, tall to fat, and click-wheel to touch, with more color changes than a chameleon.