The iPad Mini. Too Small For Goldilocks
You can listen to my reviews every Monday on Moore in the Morning at 6:45 am and follow me on Twitter here for great apps.
The iPad Mini is like a portable bicycle, the kind that has small wheels and is supposed to be easier to carry on the subway. I love that it exists, but I’m not sure it’s for everyone. The Mini is identical to a normal-sized iPad in almost every way except for its smaller 7.9” size and $329 (starting) price. We tend to see the smaller version of anything as being cute and it’s easy to fall in love with the novelty of the Mini, to hold it in just one hand and imagine all the portable, cute things you can do with it, but the truth is if it were really that advantageous Apple would have come out with it first and I’d be talking about the release of a larger-sized iPad instead.
Yes, it’s narrow enough that you can hold it in one hand, but unlike a smartphone you can’t actually use it one-handed. You hold it and use it just like the regular iPad, with two hands. This means you’re sitting, or leaning, or lounging against something to support yourself while your hands are too busy to help you keep balance. It’s easy to carry, but not easy to use on-the-go. It may be smaller in size, yes, but not enough to fit into even the most generous of jacket pockets or to be mounted onto a dashboard or a set of handlebars. Is it travel-friendly? Sure, but so is the regular iPad. I’m not sure what the real gain for travelers can be.
It certainly delivers on value, enough to make you want it. The iPad Mini has the same screen resolution and processing power of the iPad 2 and all the other features of the iPad 4, including High-Definition video cameras, stereo speakers, faster wireless connectivity and an “up to 10 hour” battery life. Everything is perfectly packed into a smaller body in that way that makes us marvel at Apple’s engineering prowess. It uses the same apps, presented the same way, and even includes Siri the voice assistant. It sure seems like you’re getting a regular iPad for less money, even if it’s not as portable as your eyes might first promise.
The screen is physically smaller and everything that appears on it is scaled down to match. Most of the tasks you’d use on a phone, such as e-mail, web surfing, and social networking scale down fine, but some apps that were made as “iPad Versions” such as Theodore Gray’s The Elements, which packs the screen with icons, have touch controls that can make your fingers seem thick and chunky.
While I think the iPad and other tablets it’s size have the potential to replace laptops for casual workers in the near future, the smaller workspace of the iPad Mini means it will forever be an extra product, something to buy in addition to a laptop, a smartphone, or a regular-sized tablet. Not everyone can afford so many devices or be inventive enough to make use of them all.
Of course not everyone is the same size, has the same income, or the same lifestyle and I’m sure the iPad Mini can be an attractive fit to those who live outside conventional needs. From a company who has only ever made one style of phone, the Mini is an odd admission that not every tool has to be one-size-fits-all.