How Many Tablets Do You Really Need?

Now that Apple has announced that it will hold a special event on Tuesday, just about everyone believes that the show will be used to unveil the iPad Mini. That device, which has been rumored for months, will complement the current iPad and take on the Nexus 7 from Google and Amazon's Kindle Fire HD.As with every other Apple announcement, the excitement surrounding Tuesday's event is palpable. Both Apple lovers and haters are wondering what the company will offer up, and chances are, many of those folks are getting their wallets ready to plunk down cash to preorder whatever it is the iPad Mini becomes.

I recently held impromptu discussions with iPad owners I know to see if they'll be buying an iPad Mini. I figured that they wouldn't, since they already own an iPad, but thought it was worth asking. The results of my informal survey were shocking, to say the least.

Nearly every person I spoke to, including those who bought an iPad just months ago, said that they would at least consider buying an iPad Mini. I was shocked. Why in the world would folks who own high-end iPads want to buy a cheaper, low-end iPad?

Surely thinking that it had something to do with my friend list, I surfed the Web to see if others in Apple forums held the same beliefs. Once again, I came across many folks who said that although they already own an iPad, they would likely buy the iPad Mini.

Those responses have led to me a simple question: how many tablets do we really need?

[aquote]Some said their kids constantly play with their expensive iPads, so a cheaper mini is worth it[/aquote]

Admittedly, I understood some of the points the could-be buyers were making. A few respondents said that their children are constantly playing with their expensive iPads, and they're concerned that more use might render it useless after a bad fall off the counter. To those folks, buying a cheaper iPad Mini for the kids is worth it.

Although that was the best reason I've heard, I was willing to accept that some folks like the idea of having a smaller, lighter iPad with them on the road, and then switch over to the bigger model at home. To those users, it's about convenience. And as someone who enjoys convenience as much as the next guy, I can appreciate that.

But beyond those reasons, I can't justify buying a smaller, underpowered iPad if I already own the larger model. What is the benefit? The device will ship with iOS 6 and its feature set will likely be sub-par compared to its bigger brother. Plus, it'll cost at least a few hundred bucks, making the addition to the tablet family awfully pricey.

The way I see it, for the vast majority of customers, having a single iPad is just fine. The device is extremely capable and helps folks get work done without much fuss. To have another iPad handy for no other reason but to have it makes little sense.

It's an amazing feat when a company can get customers to buy a product they don't really need. But time and again, Apple has done it. And before long, Apple will be touting preorders or sales to current customers.

My hat's off to you, Apple. If nothing else, you're a capitalist inspiration.