Introducing the iPad mini
Apple's latest media event went down this afternoon without a hitch, and while some onlookers
(and giddy members of the press) may have been
excited/disappointed by the array of newer, refreshed products in the Mac
lineup, most notably a thinner iMac, Retina-packing 13” Macbook Pro, beefier Mac
Mini, and even a slightly-improved iPad 4 (it’s too soon, guys), the real star
of the show was perhaps the least and most talked about Apple product in over
two years: the iPad mini.
Despite the late Steve Jobs’ proclamation that
people simply didn’t want “tween” devices (and far worse things about sub-9”
tablets), it looks like Apple is jumping headfirst into the mini-market with a
smaller, yet fully stacked iPad that does just about everything its bigger
brothers can do, but with a smaller, less expensive package. With the new
tagline "There's less of it, but no less to it", let's see how the mini stacks
up to the bigger, and sometimes smaller, competition.
First of all, yes, the iPad mini (small i, small m) definitely lives
up to its name – it’s very mini. As with its iPhone 5 and
iPod Touch 5 cousins,
the Mini is encased in Apple’s new anodized aluminum for a sleeker, thinner body
that just looks and feels better in your hands. But it’s not just the size that
got the mini-treatment, as at just 7.2mm its 23% thinner than the iPad and
weighing in at just 0.68lb is 53% lighter. Powering the Mini are the same guts
as the iPad 2, with the same dual-core A5 processor and what’s likely the same
512MB of RAM. Improved from the iPad 2, and last seen in the similarly-made iPod
Touch 5, are an improved set of iSight cameras that bump up the rear camera’s
capability with better image taking and processing, a front camera capable of HD
FaceTime/Skype calls, and the addition of the new Lightning port. Also, the
battery life is plotted at a full 10 hours of usage, so no real changes there.
Perhaps in a bid to keep costs down – at least in
its first iteration – the iPad mini’s resolution matches that of its bigger,
less-Retina Display packing brother the iPad 2. While the 7.9” diagonal screen
is easily bigger than its fellow 7” rivals, the resolution retains the same 1024
x 769 pixels as the iPad 2, only now it’s packed into a smaller viewing space.
Apple promises an incredible 35% larger viewing area than that of fellow Android
tablets (most notably Google’s own Nexus 7), and early comparison shots don’t
seem to lie. This amounts to a whopping 50% larger area to browse the web in
portrait mode and even more whopping 67% area in landscape mode.
On the software side it's a pure iOS product, meaning the mini will play
anything available in the App Store made for iPad - and universal apps. All the
new features of iOS 6 are available, including Siri. Also neat is that the Mini seems to have a new
built-in sensor that detects where your thumb is resting, which could help reduce
accidental app openings, taps, swipes, etc. No doubt this was implemented to
help make holding the Mini, which lacks a large bezel, less unwieldy and a whole
lot more useful; say goodbye to those fat bezels!
While many had speculated the Mini would cost
similar to any number of Android tablets, Apple wasn’t listening, as the
lower-end 16GB model starts at $329, the 32GB at $429, and the 64GB at $529. As
with regular iPads there are options to add LTE connectivity (for an extra $130
per model). Also available are mini Smart Covers to help decorate your brand new
tablet with dash of functionality, as the mini only comes in black & white
The iPad mini seems to be just that – a smaller,
less expensive addition to the proven iPad family that isn’t a substitute for
the larger iPad options, but another size option for those wanting less to hold.
On that level it’s done its job, though we’ll have to see how its pricier asking
point does against the storm of 7” Android (and possibly Windows) based tablets
during the busy holiday season.
We’ll see when the new iPad mini starts shipping on
November 2nd. For more information check out
their official website right HERE!