The iPad Mini is Here!
Apple unveiled the long-awaited iPad Mini on October 23, 2012. The smaller, cheaper version of the popular tablet will be available for pre-order on November 1. Here's what you need to know about the Mini, and how it compares to other 7-inch tablets...
Review: Apple's iPad Mini
The iPad Mini measures 7.9 inches diagonally, two inches smaller than its big brother. It is 7.2 mm thick, about the same as a Number 2 pencil. It weighs only 0.68 pounds, roughly half the weight of the fourth-generation iPad. (We’re on generation three right now; gen 4 was announced at the same time as the Mini.)
The iPad Mini has two cameras. A front-facing HD camera is designed for use with FaceTime. The rear-facing 5-megapixel iSight camera can shoot video in 1080p HD. The iPad Mini’s dual-core A5 processor is the same as that in the iPad 2.
The much-admired Retina display is NOT included in the iPad Mini. Instead, 1024x768 display is the same as the iPad 2’s. But unlike the iPad 2, the Mini is equipped with Apple’s new 5-pin connector, which is also in the iPhone 5 and upcoming fourth-generation iPad.
The iPad Mini WiFi version ranges in price from $329 to $519, depending on how much memory is included; options include 16, 32, or 64 GB. Add another $130 for 4G LTE capability, plus the cost of a carrier contract. Battery life is touted as 10 hours. The iPad Mini comes in either black or white.
Dead on Arrival?
Steve Jobs might not approve of the iPad Mini. It was almost exactly two years ago that he said “7-inch tablets are tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with the iPad... the current crop of 7-inch tablets are going to be DOA — dead on arrival.” He also reportedly said that users would “have to sand down their fingers” to use such a small tablet properly.
But Steve Jobs is dead, and Apple wants to survive in the hotly contested mobile devices market. Apple realizes that it cannot afford to ignore the low end of the tablet market, which is currently dominated by two major players. See my reviews of Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and Google's Nexus 7 tablet. It's entirely possible that Jobs made his famous remarks about 7-inch tablets in an attempt to discourage others from making them, while knowing full well that Apple would eventually do so. Some have speculated that the iPad Mini must certainly have been in development back in October 2010 when Jobs was dissing it.
Apple is not competing on price, of course. The Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 start at $199, but at that price you get a pretty minimal machine. The iPad Mini’s options start at the high end of its competitors ranges, and establish a middle tier of price/performance between the full-sized iPad and the budget 7-inch tablets.
Will the 7-Inch Tablet Be a Success?
We can expect Amazon, Google, and other tablet makers to meet Apple’s challenge in this new middle ground. That overall form factor will be “something that fits in one (average-sized) hand.” Into that form factor, mini tablet makers will cram more and more features. Soon, users will have many ways to eat their morning cereal while watching Netflix, or flicking Angry Birds across the 7-inch expanse of their tablet devices.
The iPad Mini has arrived just in time for the holiday buying frenzy. It will be interesting to see how it impacts sales of the larger iPad, and how well it does with customers who are seeking a pocket-sized tablet -- not necessarily an Apple product. For many customers, a mid-size $199 tablet that allows one to surf the web, manage email, play games, watch movies and read ebooks will be very appealing. If you already have an Android-based smartphone, these non-Apple alternatives seem almost a no-brainer. But for those who already own an Apple iPod or iPhone, spending the extra $130 on the iPad Mini may be a good fit.
What's your take on the iPad Mini? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 24 Oct 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- The iPad Mini is Here! (Posted: 24 Oct 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved