New iPad Mini means more screens in front of TVs

By Cory Bergman 

In many ways, we can thank Apple for popularizing the second screen. To date, 100 million iPads have been sold in just over two years, accounting for 91% of all tablet web traffic, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook in his presentation today. More TV viewers than ever are armed with tablets, adding an interactive layer at scale. And now Apple has taken the wraps off a 7.9-inch iPad Mini and a new slate of fourth generation iPads, which means more screens in more places.

While frustrating Apple purists who realize their current iPads are out of date after just six months, the increasingly-competitive tablet war adds up to great news for companies betting big on the second screen. Despite the $329 price tag, the new iPad Mini will only increase tablet adoption. Meanwhile, the $199 Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD — both capable competitors — will continue to sell in the lower price category.

(The new iPad mini in Apple’s demonstration video)

The most recent research found that 31% of U.S. internet users have a tablet with 85% of them multitasking in front of TV. In a year, those numbers will soar inevitably higher as more viewers use their tablets as a natural extension of their living room couches.

After all these years of attempts to create interactive TV, it’s amazing watch tablet technology scale faster than any TV technology before it — and by extension, tablets have become interactive TV. Now it’s up to the many second screen startups in this space to create compelling experiences that will define how the masses engage with TV.

By the way, the new Mini will work seamlessly with existing iPad apps (whew!), and pre-ordering begins October 26th with shipping getting underway on November 2nd.