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As I mentioned yesterday in my usual post-game follow-up, Apple had a few significant misses with its product rollouts at its "California Streaming" event. One of those misses is that the iPad Mini 6, which has 5G data capabilities, cannot make phone calls.
Despite this, the iPad Mini 6 is not only the most exciting product Apple has launched this year, but it is one of the most exciting new products that Apple has released in years, period. It belongs in a class of other groundbreaking Apple products, such as the current-generation M1 iPad Pro and the Apple Silicon M1 chip itself that powers its new Macbook and Mac Mini line.
Why is it the most exciting new product in years? Because it is powerful enough to be the one and only Apple device that a large group of customers will ever need. And the biggest chunk of that customer base? The demographic group referred to as Generation Z, "Zoomers," or "digital natives." These people were born between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s, so up to about 26 years of age.
As a Gen-Xer, who is turning 52 this month, if I had to be stuck with only one Apple device, the iPad Mini 6 with 5G is the device I would pick -- my "desert island device."
That's assuming I didn't need an Apple Watch (which I do), and I was work-issued another device (such as my Macbook), and I had no access to a television with another streaming device attached to it.
You'd have to be willing to carry it in cargo pants, in a jacket with big pockets, or a decent-sized pocketbook, backpack, or messenger bag (for my iPhone 12 Pro Max, I do), but I expect that's still a very large demographic.
If I were the type to live in a small, one-bedroom, studio apartment or a college dormitory, or my mobile data plan was my primary internet access method, supplemented with public Wi-Fi (such as a college student) the iPad Mini 6 with 5G, which costs $649 for the 64GB and $799 for the 256GB model, pretty much would do everything I would ever need.
There would be a bunch of limitations if you had to use this as your "only" device. Still, I don't see why Apple shouldn't look at resolving them in a future product update. Some of these are strictly software issues, while some are hardware-related.
While these limitations are annoying, I bet that a huge group of users could easily deal with them. If I were a Gen Z, I'd strongly consider an iPad Mini 6 5G instead of an iPhone, especially if I was on a limited budget.