The latest Apple call to prayer has taken place. Now, both the faithful and the sceptics have retired to mull over the latest sermon. Surprisingly, the session was rather meaty with a number of announcements pretty much spanning the Apple product inventory including the iMac, Mac Mini and the new MacBook Pro Retina. However, the congregation was merely biding its time, waiting for the revelation of a new generation of iPad, specifically, a “little” generation.
50 minutes in, Phil Schiller finally announced the coming of the iPad Mini. On first impressions I think that its the cutest thing to have happened to the world of tablets to-date. Its not a shrunken iPad and looked snug in Phil’s hand. The specs have been done to death, but its safe to say that it’s a generous 7 inch tablet, rocking the insides of the iPad 2 and adding some nifty HD and 4G wizardry all packaged up in Apple’s familiar stylish and sexy design.
It is a little surprising that the Mini has utilised the specs of an iPad that is now two generations old. However, when looking at the pricing, one wonders if sacrifices had to be made in order to avoid passing on higher costs to consumers. And herein lies the issue that I have with the Mini – the price. Currently I have both an iPad 2 and a Google Nexus 7. I didn’t buy my iPad as, despite really wanting one, I couldn’t justify the cost and was instead lucky enough to receive it as a present. I did, however, buy my Nexus 7. Why? Because at £159, it seemed a bargain.
A quality product at a price which I was willing to part with my money. I don’t have a favourite – I use both devices depending on which one is charged/charging or closest to hand. Many Minis will sell, that is undeniable, however I wonder how many will sell to people who are after a 7 inch tablet and who are not bothered about operating systems or brand. The competitors in this field are few but ones not to underestimate: as well as the Google Nexus 7, there is the Kindle Fire, Barnes and Noble’s Nook and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. One would have thought that for people with limited means after a tablet, spending an extra £100 for the Mini may prove to be a step too far.
I should probably also mention the iPad fourth generation. When the third generation came out I didn’t feel like I was missing much by keeping my iPad 2 – yes, the retina screen is amazing, but I don’t need it. Now, the iPad is faster and has better connection capabilities. Again, its amazing technology, but something that I really don’t need. Admittedly my iPad 2 does hang every now and again, but then I just break out the Nexus, my phone or even my MacBook Pro.
In summary – I’m more than happy with my iPad 2 as both the third and now fourth generations of iPad didn’t/don’t bring anything new that I feel that I need. The fact that Apple is continuing to sell the iPad 2 (having already discontinued the third generation) further cements my thinking that I’ve got a great 9.7″ tablet. As for the Mini, oh yes, I covet the thing and think its wonderful. But there’s absolutely no way that I’m going to buy one. For 7 inch purposes, my Nexus is damn fine!