iPad Mini 3: Not Our Best iPad ever

"iPad Mini Retina has scored an unbelievable 100% customer sat [satisfaction]" - Tim Cook 16th October 2014

"iPad Mini Retina has scored an unbelievable 100% customer sat [satisfaction]" - Tim Cook 16th October 2014

I'm a fan of Apple and a fan of the iPad. Apple are at their best when their products feel like they are trying to be the best they could possibly be. But that does not seem to ring true about the new iPad Mini 3. Before it was introduced Tim Cook provided some background:

It’s always been a unique blend of simplicity and capability. But while the iPad has been beautifully simple on the outside since the very first one, it has advanced technology just jam packed on the inside. From Apples custom designed powerful chips, to the ultra fast wifi and cellular connectivity, to the incredible iSight and FaceTime cameras.... But what’s more important to us is that iPad has consistently been rated number one in customer satisfaction. This is what makes our hearts sing. And iPad Mini Retina has scored an unbelievable 100% customer sat [satisfaction]. You just don’t see these numbers in customer sat. And so why are so many iPad users so satisfied? We think it comes back to this unique blend of simplicity and capability.
— Apple October 2014 event

While the new Air 2 saw a new custom designed A8X chip, the Mini 3 has last years A7. While the Air 2 got new blazing fast 802.11ac wifi, the Mini 3 is stuck with the same speed it had last year. Finally while the Air 2 got upgraded with incredible new iSight and FaceTime HD camera the Mini 3 was stuck with the same ones as last year. In fact apart from optionally being available in gold and supporting the new Touch ID fingerprint sensor the Mini 3 is identical to last years iPad Mini 2. 

It's hard to follow the logic of being pleased a product got 100% satisfaction, to then introduce an unsatisfying update. It's hard to follow the logic of success through increased capability, with a product that has none. Is the Mini now an unloved sibling to the Air? Is this a sign, just like the paltry 16GB of storage in the entry level product, that it has been priced too aggressively to warrant the expected upgrade? Is this a sign of product managers not thinking about the range as a whole and getting their way to differentiate the product against the Air, by crippling the features it should have had? Who knows, but one thing for sure is that this is not Apples best iPad ever.