It’s been two-and-a-half years since the original iPad hit our stores and changed the face of mobile computing. The revolutionary iPhone a couple of years earlier was a catalyst in itself to create ‘a big iPhone without the phone part’ and that’s exactly what Apple did. Yesterday they released their new version – the iPad Mini as well as a slightly enhanced 4th generation iPad.
On first hearing the rumours about an, my first reaction was ‘why on earth do we need iPhones, iPads and now an iPad of a size in between?‘ Remaining open-minded, we eagerly awaited the formal release before really forming an opinion.
Last night, Apple held a conference, formally introducing the iPad Mini. It’s slogan ‘Every inch an iPad‘ is true in part, but it would be more accurate as ‘70% of an iPad‘. The reason being, it’s more similar to the iPad 2 than the New iPad released earlier this year – the screen resolution is less favourable and the processor is the A5 which was used to power the iPad 2. That said, does a light-weight iPad need a powerful processor? Quoting Christina Bonnington from Wired:
“…The only noticeable drawback I perceived in my short time using the iPad mini was processor power. It runs iOS 6 and has enough power to get the 3-D maps capability, but pinching and zooming was choppier and more stuttery than I’ve experienced on any other iOS device. App loading also took a few moments longer than on newer full-sized iPads…”
There are now three similar products on the market from Apple – the iPhone at 3.5″ screen size, the iPad at 9.7″ and now the iPad mini at 7.9″ and our main reservations are against product dilution – do we need to make everything smaller and have too many choices? Technology is obsessed with thinner tablets, smaller displays and lighter devices, only the last of which we can reason with entirely. If we have a device with a screen so small that we cannot use it properly, then do we have a useful device at all? Are we about to go full-circle in terms of technology evolution?
Other factors also become important – the long-term effects on eye sight, squinting at a small screen needs to be considered. We do recognize the retina display of the New iPad released earlier this year but all these things could lead to long-term problems.
The iPad Mini isn’t doom and gloom in total – it’s a lovely looking device, and certainly if there was no full-sized iPad to compare it to, it would be a huge hit in our books too – a lovely thin, lightweight device with a bigger screen than the iPhone but we think the full-sized iPad screen is much more useful for what tablets are primarily designed for – web browsing, reading, emailing, social media, videography and photography.
We must not forget either, that the iPad mini as well as the intermediate iPad upgrade released yesterday are both 4G compatible. The 4th generation iPad unveiled yesterday is a little faster too so whilst we wont be rushing to get our hands on one, we can see the benefit here for new customers. Also, in comparison to similar devices on the market, the iPad Mini feels like a device as opposed to a toy and screams quality compared to its rivals – the Google Nexus 7 running Android and the Fire HD from Amazon. The iPad or iPad Mini are certainly the ones to have if you want to look the part – they’re classy, high-quality and prestigious devices to own.
To conclude, the iPad mini on its own, is a stunning device and has everything you need for light-weight tasks such as social media, emailing and web browsing. However, on asking the rhetorical question “Why do we need an iPad and an iPad mini” leads to various answers but we suspect they are for different end-user experiences.
Those who wish to partake in process-intensive activities such as gaming or video editing or who would use the device on a constant basis, would probably prefer the iPad due to its power, screen resolution and screen size. The iPad mini would be extremely useful for those who like small amounts of reading, sending emails or browsing the web. However, our opinion is still one of scepticism – do we really need both? If price is the justification, then create an 8GB iPad and charge less money. If size is the issue, we need to sit back, look from the outside in and really question whether an iPad is unreasonably large. I think you know what our response would be.
- Where will the iPad Mini fit in Apple’s product lineup? (qz.com)
- iPad Mini Unveiled At Apple Launch Event (news.sky.com)
- iPad Mini official specs and UK prices (gadgetynews.com)
- iPad mini: review of hands on reviews (telegraph.co.uk)