Monday, November 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm.

Why wasn’t the iPad always ‘mini’?

I’ve been asked this one a few times, and John Gruber answers it well.

I think there are several factors. First, I don’t think they could have, technically. The original iPad in 2010 was pretty thick compared even to the iPad 2. If they couldn’t make it thinner then, I don’t think they could have made it smaller either — not at the same price points.

Miniaturization is challenging and costly, involving all kinds of things like smaller and thinner chips, more efficient software, and even things like the new iPad mini’s Lightning connector, which wasn’t shipping in 2010.

Apple has also learned a lot about the tablet market — which basically didn’t exist before the iPad — since then. And the early success of smaller, cheaper tablets like the Kindle Fire clearly played some role in Apple’s decision to release the iPad mini. It was, after all, the Samsung Galaxy Tab that got Eddy Cue to nudge Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, and Scott Forstall about doing a smaller iPad.