Yesterday was the day that all Apple fans and tech fans had been waiting for, Apple were finally going to let us into the “mini” secret that everybody knew about. Along with the release of the next generation iPad using the A6 chip they showed us the iPad Mini. Basically a 7.9-inch version of the iPad itself it promises to be able to do everything the bigger model does, and be a better mini tablet than any other on the market.
Of course this is quite a major claim and there is a lot to prove. When people can buy the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD at budget prices and offer excellent performance, can the iPad simply come in and steal all the market from them? This is debatable, even if Apple believes they can but the fact is this is one hell of a tablet that Apple fans will love, and people looking for their first tablet, even in mini form will really have their eyes set on.
Quite simply in line with most of Apple’s new announced technology (new iMac, another Mac Book Pro, new iPad) everything about the iPad mini is thinner and lighter. The big difference with this variation of course is that it’s smaller. The good news is though this is basically a downscaled version of the iPad in screen size only (which of course has an impact on resolution and image quality). But at 7.9-inches, 7.2mm thinness and 308g weight (for the Wi-Fi only model) this is a nice, light tablet that can fit in your hand quite easily. Volume and screen-rotation lock buttons have moved to the right-hand side of the unit and headphone socket is on the top of the tablet now rather than at the bottom. It should also be noted (though it was already known) the iPad mini charges with the lightening connector.
The most important change with the size is the much talked about 7.9-inch screen. This is capable of a 1024 x 768 resolution with 163ppi. This means that as expected with Apple’s quality products the screen is bright and vibrant with the text as sharp as ever and colours are vivid. Videos look good on it and web pages are easy to read, if anything this may be a more mobile version than the bigger iPad that is harder to use at times with the need for two hands at all times.
The rear camera is a 5MP iSight camera which works as good as the one on the bigger version of the iPad so pictures can be taken with the same quality, though the image on the screen of course won’t be as good as the retina display quality. They will still look good though. A front camera is of course included for the all-important Face Time features.
The chip inside the iPad mini is an A5 processor which is fast and should be able to power all the apps and multimedia you can throw at it. It was a disappointment in a way that Apple showed off the latest iPad with the A6 processor and promised double the speed and excellent performance, yet did not include this processor in the mini version. This of course maybe down to the limitations of the mini itself or just down to the fact that both the new iPad and iPad mini were in development at the same time and decisions had to be made on stable chips to work on to get the mini released on time. This of course is just conjecture but it’s still interesting to think about.
Apple tout their claimed “10-hours battery life” and pushed it for all it was worth in the speech, but this is something that will have to be proven in real life usage. This claim has been known not to hold up with the processor intensive applications that the iPad uses so it will be interesting to see just how long the iPad Mini batter will last with some real use. Anything close to the stated time will of course be welcome and as long as it lasts a day’s use there should be little issue here.
The iPad mini is an excellent tablet that can now fit in your hand, it has huge potential for not only Apple fans but people who can’t afford the full priced iPad, or are even looking for something a little smaller. Apple’s problem though will be the way they move to try destroy the competition against them, sometimes with claims that may or may not be actual fact. It’s easy to bend facts and point out frailties of other products to try and sell their latest products, but this lack of tact may not in fact get them far.
Apple will always have their fans but with the price scene (£269/$329 for the cheapest models) they are looking at a price tha is up to £100 (in the UK) more expensive than their competitors. Yes, the cost may be worth it but people will still take a look at the competition and see a device that can compete and can do so at a cheaper price. It will be interesting to see just how dominant the iPad Mini will be when it’s released in the coming weeks.