Surprise! It’s a mini iPad…
Gone are the days of any surprises at Apple events, so vast is their production pipeline. And today’s event was no different. Almost every product had been leaked in some form, from the new MacBook, Mac Mini, iMac, and the main event the new iPad Mini.
It’s size (7.9″), proportions (7.2mm thin), internals (A5) and price points (starting from $329) were all leaked on tech sites everywhere. Still, it didn’t stop attendees at the event to erupt in surprised applause.
So, what’s all hoopla about. Well, its pretty clear that the iPad 3 has every other tablet on the market beat. However, a growing trend with competitors is to appeal to consumers wanting a smaller device by offering them a 7″ form factor. The iPad Mini is Apple’s answer to this, and to be honest I think it will be the new tablet king before it even exits the gate. Why is this? Well, the build quality for one is light years ahead of competitor’s heavy and plastic alternatives. The iPad Mini has the same glass and aluminium combination that previous iPad’s have had, giving it a strong, light weight, and above all, quality feel than the others.
Perhaps the biggest deal though is that the iPad Mini is essentially an iPad 2 shrank down. This means that the smaller screen is still 1024 x 768. Why is this important? Well, it means all the hundreds of thousands of apps already optimised for iPad are iPad Mini ready right out of the box. The problem with other tablets is that there is no universal screen size or resolution. While many look to be 7″, some are thinner, some squarer, some with the UI taking up screen real-estate. This means it’s a chore for developers to create their apps for multiple devices. Yes you’ll no doubt find the same app, but regularly they will be rushed out and not up to scratch to their iOS counterparts. Many apps and websites on other tablets default to mobile versions and do not make the most of the larger screens.
There are advantages to the other tablets of course. Some have better storage options such as SD, and of course there’s the more open Android system which many users prefer. But, and in my opinion it always comes to the software. Faster graphics, better storage and even a cheaper price points can’t compete with a better software, and right now the AppStore has the best software in both variety and scope.
So, there is no doubt that the new iPad Mini will do well, but I’m still not convinced that the 7-8″ size is a good solution. We’ll put it through its paces when we get our hands on one, particularly how it compares to Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD and Google’s Nexus 7.