23 Oct 2012

iPad Mini: Apple unveils the iPad’s baby cousin

No Comments Mobile, News, Reviews, Technology

Apple unveiled a new, smaller iPad this evening in Silicon Valley, but disappointed many observers by pricing it at as much as £110 above rival tablet computers from Google and Amazon.

Apple have priced the iPad mini at £269 for the 16gb up to £529 for 64gb, only £130 less than the larger iPad with same capacity. Essentially it’s the same as the iPad but features a 7.9 inch screen (diagonally) which goes against the grain of the late Steve Jobs views for usability.

The iPad is a power house to be able to manage every day processing tasks, for me personally I recently rendered and produced a full 15 minute snowboarding video on the iPad alone and far quicker than my fairly high spec PC, pure testament to the iPad’s power and flexibility.

I’m not one for buying the entry level Apple products just because it’s Apple, I buy what I need to manage the applications I use most and complete the tasks I regularly need to do. That’s why I have a 32gb iPhone 4 and 64gb iPad 2. Function over form i’m afraid, and this is where i’m unsure where the iPad mini fits in.

We’ve seen this year HTC release the One S and One X which massive screen sizes, not far short of some of the cheaper tablets out there, but what’s the point? I want a phone to fit in my pocket discretely and securely, but when I want to use it I want it to work, quickly, easily, intuitively and if i’m spending £500+ on a mobile phone I want it it feel like a £500+ phone not some piece of crappy, flimsy plastic like the HTC or Nokia competitors.

As for tablets i require space to operate but discreteness for transport the 9.7 inch screen on the iPad is, in my opinion the perfect size to operate effective browsing of the web, watching movies with a plus one on the plane, editing videos, checking shares and finances, designing, editing, building, writing and just about all the other functions my PC can do with having to wait 3 years for it to boot up. i went for 64gb becasue I could transfer videos straight from my GoPro, to iPad, edit and upload to YouTube in one sitting. Function over Form. Not to mention the great Apple support service.

But back to the point the iPad mini just seems like a gimic to try and enter the small tablet market but still sit above the rest in terms of performance. I’ve got a Kindle, similar in size to the iPad mini and it serves one solus function…reading books…no way will the market buy the iPad mini just to be able to read a book.

One the best features I love about the iPhone 5 is that the screen whilst it is bigger, Apple has played close attention to anthropometrics and ergonomics which has enabled the average operating distance of the users thumb in relation to handling the device and accessing the apps from the bottom line to the top shelf to still be within a comfortable range. Function over form, or is it now function manipulating form?

Apple builds its hardware around it’s software, where it’s competitors fail is the software is bastardized to match the hardware, so whilst on paper specs maybe be better in some cases GUI and UX are gone to the wind. There’s no denying Apple makes some beautiful products and the extra cost is usually a lot more than it’s competitors but they last substantially longer and work substantially better and that’s a fact. Apple also unveiled the new iMac today as a super slim upgrade to the existing iMac by ditching the DVD drive and moves closer to a completely wireless interaction between data and processes. One word ‘Stunning’. I use a 27″ iMac at work and it’s a beast but the new iMac is simply a digital definition of art.

Last but not least Apple have also introduced the Retina display into the new Macbook laptop range, another advancement towards providing a pure HD experience whilst processing. In keeping with the retina display which offers the highest resolution display on any mobile or tablet device this is a pretty compelling USP. So where does the iPad mini sit amongst all this? Well i’m afraid i’m inclined to agree with the majority, it’s another great looking device but it would appear it’s sole purpose is to attempt to attack the mini tablet market and I din’t think it will work as it’s hugely price sensitive and Apple should really stick to the top end stuff and let the competitors squabble under the table at the scraps.

In short, I won’t be buying one…and i’m still in debate about the iPhone 5. Post your thoughts and comments below.

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Hey, i'm Chris Newnham thanks for reading my blog, it's great to meet you at last...your time spent here is valuable to me and i'd really appreciate it if you left a comment or two...P.S. you look fab!
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