In response to a question asked during Apple's Q1 2013 conference call, Tim Cook once again re-iterated Apple's long-held belief that they'd rather cannibalize their own existing product lines with new product lines than risk a competitor eating into their business. The only twist to the repartee this time was the iPad mini, and what if any affect it might have had on full-sized iPad sales.
Apple's CEO, Tim Cook said Apple continues to see cannibalization as a huge opportunity for Apple, and that any company that fears cannibalizing themselves risks someone else doing it for them. Apple knows the iPhone has cannibalized the iPod, and that the iPad has cannibalized the Mac. Whether or not the iPad mini cannibalizes the iPad maxi, due to supply constraints throughout the quarter, it's tough to tell at this point. However, Cook still believes that the tablet market will eclipse the PC market, and that's one of the reasons they see cannibalization as an opportunity.
Another reason is the halo effect. Apple saw with the iPod that, after a customer had a great experience with one product, they may consider buying another. For Apple, if someone buys and iPad mini or iPad first, the same thing could happen. In fact, Apple is confident of it, and already seeing evidence it will happen.
I've said before, Apple is one of the few companies in the tech industry that doesn't confuse it's products for its business. Instead of fearing change and riding its iPod fortunes into the ground, Apple introduced the iPhone, which rose as the iPod sales started to decline. And the iPad, which rose as PC sales started to decline.
They bet big on what's next. Perhaps at some point they'll misplace a bet, but the only way to win the future is to play for the future.