Tomorrow the iPad mini will be available for pre-order, with a release date set for November 2nd. It’s already become the most polarizing device in Apple’s product portoflio. There’s been plenty of conjecture about the price, with some feeling as if Apple could have been more aggressive with their pricing. Some take issue with the lack of a retina display or the specifications largely mirroring that of the older iPad 2, which was released in 2011. One would think that with all this talk, the iPad mini won’t sell well, given that it’s over priced and underpowered. Think again. Apple’s iPad mini is the ultimate crossover device and here’s why it’ll sell better than hotcakes.

First Time Tablet Buyers Apple has sold over 100 million iPads. People seem to like them and I’m guessing they tell friends and family about their good experiences with the iPad. The App Store has over 275,000 apps designed for the iPad. Apple has 393 retail stores worldwide and in the US, you can find them in a good number of major malls. Inside those stores you’ll find one of the best retail experiences and despite my experience, most customers rave about the on-site Genius Bar support. These are just a few of the reasons why customers will justify the added expenditure for the iPad mini vs the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HD. These are the same customers who were waiting for a cheap iPad. Apple doesn’t do cheap, but with the iPad mini they’ve released a more affordable iPad.

iPad mini hotcakes

iPod touch Cannibalization
I’ve got a number of nieces and nephews that range in age from 7 through 15. They don’t own or need cellular connectivity of an iPhone. The next best thing has been an iPod touch. While this is a small sample size, I always found their usage to be interesting. They absolutely love playing games and using Facetime. Both of which are more immersive thanks to the 7.9-inch display. Portability, while important, is easily accomplished with the new mini. Kids will throw it in their backpack, when they aren’t glued to it. Everything they do on their iPod touch is bigger and better on the iPad, save for the lack of retina display. They may be young, but this is their first introduction to being an Apple customer, where trade-offs are part of the deal. I’d argue that bigger for them is better. For those who must have retina, the iPad mini 2nd generation will mark their transition from iPod touch to iPad.

People Want A Smaller iPad
When I reviewed the iPad 3, I found it to be a bit of a large Marge. Coming from an iPad 2, there were significant trade-offs. It was the primary reason I held off on upgrading, although Apple’s rather quick move to the 4th generation has me once again reaching for my wallet. Part of my reasoning is the iPad mini, coupled with the great resale value on older Apple products. When I want thin and light, I’ll reach for the iPad mini. That’s a very costly scenario, not one that’s ideal in this economy, but one that can be offset by shedding some older tech. While I loved the retina display of the iPad 3, I was able to shift back to everyday use of the iPad 2 without longing for added pixels. The iPad mini makes an even greater case for shifting to the newest member of the iPad family. It provides all the capabilities of the iPad, with some great spec jumps. Most importantly, it’s incredibly thin and light. A radical change from the iPad 3 and by far the most portable iPad yet. That’s going to have widespread appeal and will certainly be enough to make this model their primary and only iPad.

Cute Factor
Throw out specs. Throw out any sort of rational thought. The damn thing is cute. Cute sells.

Conclusion
So the iPad mini. Overpriced. Doesn’t have a retina display. Won’t win the specifications fight with the third or fourth generation iPads. No one will buy it, right? The catch here is that guys like myself and the media in general aren’t typical customers. They don’t hyper-analyze products. They buy them based on what they need and want. Rather than check the boxes of one specific customer, the iPad mini checks the vital few for many different types of customers. It’s the ultimate crossover iPad, with broad appeal that could see it becoming the fastest selling iPad of all time.