How the iPad mini became Apple’s middle child


From the iPod to the iPhone to the iPad, Apple has managed shifts in category lifecycles better than any consumer technology company, but even it occasionally seems flummoxed about what to do with a product category. One example of this was the iPod nano. Once a flagship, it became a challenge after the introduction of the iPod touch, the iPod family’s last shining light. Apple changed the nano’s fundamental design more times than any other product in its modern era.

And while its design has remained steady, the iPad mini has also been a tricky product for Apple. The company entered the category after significant pressure to introduce a smaller iPad, something it seemed reluctant to do when it introduced the first tablet. When Phil Schiller first showed it off in 2012, he seemed to acknowledge some of the internal Apple questions around the product by posing, “What can…

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