The iPad mini: Not impressed… [Editorial]

A while back, I examined the prospects of the iPad mini, trying to determine whether this was innovation or exploitation. Back then, I decided that the iPad mini was a product designed to exploit an already established market. To be honest, it was a no-brainer. Back in the day, Steve Jobs had slated the 7 inch tablet because he thought it would bring about poor user experience, but back then, all the 7 inch tablets were atrocious, I’m talking original Galaxy Tab atrocious… Now, the competition is a lot stiffer, with the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire taking the lead. Their success has proved irrevocably that a market for 7 inch tablets exists, so now Apple has decided to enter the fray.

Their weapon of choice, the iPad mini.

So what does it offer? Apart from the size, it’s really a very standard iPad. Two colors, nice and light, not too thick, 3 storage capacities (16, 32 and 64GB), Wi-Fi and cellular capabilities and iOS 6. Under the hood, it’s rocking the Dual-core A5 processor, the revised version of the A5 that shipped in the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2. Now for me, all that stuff is standard, and for the purpose of this piece, irrelevant. We expected nothing less than good hardware from Apple, and the iPad mini will be just as capable as its larger predecessors.

So what’s my problem? A couple of things…

As I said before, I was convinced that before the mini’s release, the product would be an exploitation of the pre-established market, and now it’s been released, I haven’t changed my mind. Just look at the price, because I’m pretty sure that this is probably  the ultimate downfall of this wretched device. How could anyone justify paying $329 for a device that isn’t capable of display high definition content? If anyone here has made the switch from the Apple screens of old to a Retina display, you’ll understand that the transformation is simply phenomenal, and that there really is no going back. I’ve often used a Retina display, then tried out a standard definition one in order to rationalise the notion that there isn’t really much difference, and I’ve only ever been met with disappointment. The iPad mini is overpriced. Way overpriced. Amazon actually lose money on their hardware, which is why you can pick up a Kindle Fire HD for $130 less. But that lower price comes at a compromise, skimping on price means that you have to settle for Ultra-fast Wi-Fi, Dual stereo speakers, High definition content and a faster processor. Wait…what?

 

I couldn’t have said it better myself… But I’m going to waffle on some more anyway.

Not so fast, the iPad mini’s screen is bigger, giving it a superior web browsing experience and compatibility with all the current iPad apps out there.

True, but then, if that’s all you’re looking for, why don’t you already own an iPad 2? You could have all that compatibility, and an even bigger display! Of course, you wanted a smaller tablet, that you can use with one hand and carry around easily, but it seems like there are plenty of other cheaper, and more capable solutions out there. The comparison above is of the 7 inch Kindle Fire HD and the iPad mini. If you’re impressed by the iPad mini’s larger screen size, why not buy the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD, which features a 1920×1200 display, packing over 2.3 million pixels, with 254ppi, 56% more than the iPad mini! And, you’ll even have $30 change… It seems to me that for every feature the iPad mini brings to the table, its competitors are already one step ahead.

Now for most, the problems I’ve mentioned will be pretty insignificant. I totally understand that the iPad mini is a cool device, and that it will satisfy many needs for many people. But for $329, Apple could have done so much more. Was the potential loss on this product so great that Apple couldn’t justify bringing the price down to a competitive level for the sake of us, the consumer? If you’ve got $329 to spend on the iPad mini, then go for it. But know that in a few months time, there’ll probably be a new iPad mini, sporting a better display, and a price tag to match. In the meantime, buy a Kindle.

@TiP_Stephen

 

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  • Big Disappointed

    I totally agree.  I have a MAC ecosystem and was excited to get add a “mini.”  I have an air; wife has a pro and an ipad 2; We both have iphones.  However, I find I just can’t get excited about it.  The only real thing it has going for it is the size, but that price simply kills the deal.  I didn’t actually care if it had slightly lesser specs if the price was right, or a slightly higher price if the specs were right.  But, Apple is actually offering less for more.  I can’t do it. I don’t want the Fire because all my “stuff” is Apple.  So it boils down to, “No Sale!”   I plan to just wait….and see.

  • paulf1

    apple seen to be cashing in on loyal customers and don’t seem to care, I’ve always bought apple products but I’m really upset that my iPad has been replaced so soon..

  • DrewPage

    So, basically, you are saying that Apple should take a hit and lose money by pricing the mini the same as the competition?  You don’t know Apple very well at all…

  • TiP_Cam

    @DrewPage I’m with you on this. But, I’m happy for Stephen to have his own opinion. Apple was never going to release a sub-$300 iPad mini. Let’s face it, Amazon and Google are banking on making their money back by selling content. Apple makes money from the get go, and makes even more money from the App Store. But I agree, they could do it, but, it’s Apple so they’re never going to.

  • Applefangirl

    At $249.. I would have snatched this up.. I like the looks of it..but $329? No deal.. You are right .. there are better tablets at cheaper prices.. WTH Apple? Inferior to the current standard Ipad? I would have expected at LEAST a retina display at this price point. I am starting to feel taken advantage of as an apple “fan”. The Iphone 5 was a HUGE disappointment to me.. Once again.. Apple refuses to jump into the 21st century with it’s items because they know we will buy it no matter what.. They have lost me. Returned the Iphone 5.. got the Galaxy SIII and couldn’t be happier. Thinking I may need to change my name from Applefangirl to Nolongeryourtoolapple.

  • Applefangirl

    @TiP_Cam  @DrewPage Cam..as you just said..they could still make a crap load of money of apps and such.. but won’t because they know we will buy ANYTHING with an apple logo. I really think I am done. #pissed

  • NexusExOwner

    In the meantime, buy a Kindle?  That’s ok if you don’t mind that the volume and on/off buttons are horrible because they are hard to locate and press.  The Amazon app store is horrible because the selection of apps is severely lacking, and the Amazon Silk browser sucks because it is really slow.  Netflix performance is not good because it lags. Not to mention that there is no option to change the stinky keyboard with much better options like Swype. There is also no option for voice input.  And if you don’t mind be bombarded with ads everywhere from the initial login screen to each app selection to buy more Amazon content.    But hey for $199, you get a nice screen with some good sound and the kindle app is awesome because it supports text to speech, movies look nice and it sounds great in a quiet room.  For $199, the Nexus 7 is better in my opinion.  But it has some issues as well. Unlike the author, I have spent several weeks with the Kindle HD 7 and Nexus 7 and have returned them because each tablet misses the basics: good music performance, good app performance, good internet browsing performance, good picture viewing performance good volume output in loud environments while not worrying about ADS and malware. I want the basics done well in a package that I can read on the couch holding the tablet in one hand without developing a cramp in my forearm after 3 min.  The iPad could be cheaper, (I wish it was).  However, I am willing to pay more because I’ve tried the rest.

  • NexusExOwner

    @Applefangirl Which phone is more dependable?  Where do you go if your GSIII breaks?  The Samsung store, Carrier store?  Good luck with your new phone.  Hopefully you don’t drop it and break your plastic toy.

  • NexusExOwner

    @paulf1 So you think Apple should slow down on their innovation based on your personal purchase timeframe?

  • PeterDeep

    A Kindle? Seriously? Have you ever used one. It is seriously one of the most frustrating and limited devices I have ever used. It’s okay I suppose if watching HD video is more important than anything else. If that’s the case, don’t forget the Amazon Prime membership at $79/year. That curiously did not figure into your pricing. Forget about listening to music. The music player is atrocious.
    Have you ever needed tech support from Amazon? Hahahahahahaha good luck getting it. I would never buy a serious device from them. You get what you pay for.

  • Applefangirl

    @NexusExOwner Considering it took me 4 WEEKS and 6 hours at an apple store just to RETURN the Iphone 5.. I’ll take my chances.. and the build feels WAY more substantial than the iphone 5. And the last time I checked..ANY phone is susceptible to breakage.. It’s called a “case”. Your post was moronic and unnecessary. I was posting my opinion.. and you attack me with baseless insinuation?

  • Applefangirl

    @NexusExOwner BTW Have you ever OWNED a Galaxy SIII? I have been a long time Apple fan.. I have owned everyone of their phones and up until now I would agree with you..but simply.. Apple is falling behind. The SIII is amazing! Android has come a long way.. Don’t judge that which you know nothing about.

  • NexusExOwner

    @Applefangirl You didn’t answer my questions.  What do you do if you break a GSIII?  Go to a Samsung store or Carrier store?

  • Applefangirl

    @NexusExOwner I believe I did.. If ANY phone breaks due to a drop ..including the apple.. you are screwed unless you have insurance.. If it stops working.. it is covered under the warranty same as apple. What’s your point?? I buy a phone based on how awesome the phone is..not how awesome customer service is when you break the damn thing. Good grief.

  • NexusExOwner

    @Applefangirl I bought a Macbook Air for $1500 last Oct.  I accidentally destroyed it with a glass of water. (long story)  I went to an Apple store and reminded me that the warranty didn’t cover water damage.  Even though I was really upset (at myself), I asked them if they could help me recover the data (which was more important than the laptop).  Instead they said that they would help me by not only giving me a new laptop to replace the one that I had broken, but they would also upgrade me to the 2011 model (from my 2010 model).  My point has nothing to do with which phone is better.  Honestly, I don’t care.  I am happy that you love your GSIII.  Good for you.  My point was that Apple has the best and most dependable service. If you are in a bind and you need help, I believe that Apple is most dependable even though they may not be the most innovative or cheapest.

  • NexusExOwner

    @Applefangirl I have broken 3 phones and gotten them replaced by Apple for free.  My kids have broken an iPad and gotten it fixed.  Can you say the same?

  • Big Disappointed

    They (Apple) has put us in a very awkward spot.  Yes, I love Apple.  As I said, I’m invested in their ecosystem.  Yes, I believe they offer and exceptional product.  Yes, I expect to pay a premium for it.  I simply wanted to replace my Nook, mostly for reading.  And I thought they would offer a product to draw others into the fold while offering me something to use and enjoy w/o major investment.   But the new 4 (too bad for you, 3 buyers)  offers so much more for $170 more that I’d feel cheated paying $329 for what I’d get by comparison.  Furthermore, I don’t want or need another large tablet. I wanted a smaller one. They make me think to much and (for me) I end up saying.  Ah, hell.  Furgetaboutit!  Just reporting a personal response.  Not trying to convince others.  Just sayin.

  • Applefangirl

    @NexusExOwner NOW you’re making sense.. that is awesome! Good for you. I don’t wish Apple ill.. I ONLY want them to step it up. I have been an Apple fan since the first apple computer came out.. They were the leaders! My god I love my Mac..but their refusal to make a larger screen for their phone (I am blind..and no..the iphone 5 has a LONGER screen..text is same size) and now this very substandard ipad mine (which I had planned on buying).. I am a little irritated. I LOVED my iphone..I just can’t use it! I understand why you love them.. I just wish that we could ALL get together and demand more.. THEN they would change.. Sigh

  • Applefangirl

    @NexusExOwner No.. I’ve never broken ANY phones..LOL But I’ll let you know! LOL

  • NexusExOwner

    Sorry for any misinterpretations.  I am going to try out the new iPad mini because I think it will be able to fit my requirements best (versus a Kindle HD 7, Nexus 7, and Samsung Galaxy 7 Plus) all of which I have tried and used for several weeks.  If it sucks, then I will return it.  Simple for me.

  • NexusExOwner

    @Applefangirl BTW I don’t love my iPhone.  I use them because they are free to me from my company.  After I use them, I give them to family members.  It works out for me.  If I had to pay for a phone, I would probably get the SGNoteII.

  • Applefangirl

    @NexusExOwner Yeah I wanted the NOTE II but got impatient..You’re funny…LOL

  • paulf1

    @NexusExOwner @paulf1 I think all big tech company’s should release new or updated products yearly at least most mobile contracts are 24mths so why not

  • NexusExOwner

    @paulf1  I don’t think Apple cares about Paul’s or anyone’s purchasing time table.  If it really bothers you that much, give away your current iPad to your parents and buy a new one as a Christmas present for yourself.  If you feel that Apple is bad and you feel that they have screwed you, then go buy a new Windows 8 RT tablet or Nexus 7.  The other option is to just be happy with your iPad and use it until it breaks.

  • Bratty

    As someone who actually owns an iPad and a fire, there is no comparison between the two devices. The kindle fire is good for the limited things it does but to suggest getting one instead of a mini because it is “better”, is laughable. I have not played with the mini yet but the fire barely has any functionality. Forget productivity apps.

  • paulf1

    @NexusExOwner that’s what I said to begin with apple don’t care and you sound like a child I should give my iPad to my parents grow up just because my opinion differs from yours..it’s a shame you can’t see that

  • PaulGonzalez

    but productivity isn’t the main focus of the iPad mini. It’s billed as a one handed media device for books movies etc, the specs are too low and the price is too high to justify getting one.  a kindle does those things much better and a rooted kindle fire….

  • TiP_Stephen

    @TiP_Cam  @DrewPage The $329 price tag is senseless, and It will have alienated thousands of potential customers…and besides, there’ll be a new model in 6 months that’s better than this one anyway…

  • PaulGonzalez

    I just can’t get excited about the iPad mini.  The display is a deal breaker.  I could accept if it was a smaller iPad but it’s not its a smaller iPad 2. To me that is unacceptable i mean why would I want a smaller iPad 2 when I already have one? And at 7.9 inches its not really that much smaller than the iPad at 9.7.  Think about this. a 16gb ipad mini is 330 wifi 450 w/ cellular…an i5 mac mini is 600…to me theres’s no reason to buy this id rather have an n7 or the n10 when it comes out. or the surface. or the real ipad. or the ipad 2 i already have. or a mac mini. or a note 2. or a fire/fire hd.

  • kcooper35

    In a few days the iPad Mini will be out in the streets.  Hands-on side-by-side comparison reviews will then start coming on hot and heavy.  That’s when I’ll be able to determine whether I did the smart thing or not in pre-ordering the Mini.
     
    The thing is, I wanted to buy one of the cheaper tablets so I started researching. Unfortunately, on looking more into detail, the cheaper tablets begin to not look quite so good.  For example, the Mini has a really good 5 megapixel camera on the back.  It’s the same camera as on my iPad 3.  Now I’ll be able to keep my iPad in my jacket pocket and take it out for taking high quality photos and movies (it has a multi-use front facing camera too). The Fire HD’s camera is for Skype only.  Another thing the large number of high quality apps that display perfectly on the Mini right off the bat beats what the Kindle has to offer, app wise, by a long shot (there’s a good article in PCmag on the subject – recommended reading).  
     
    I had an iPad 1 which I sold it for $200 to help pay for my Mini (good resale value, wouldn’t you say).  I never thought of its display as being low resolution.  It was a good looking 132 ppi display.  The iPad Mini has a display that’s 23.5% better yet at 163 ppi.  So .. Between keeping the same aspect ratio between big iPads and the Mini and not going to retina display on the Mini, that 275,000 Apple apps require no conversion whatsoever so the all work flawlessly on the Mini.  So there is a logic behind the resolution choice.

  • KristieSabrina

    @PeterDeep Amazon Prime is cheaper than Netflix streaming so I don’t see how mentioning $79 a year is a bad thing. That’s about $6.58 a month. And I actually have a student discount, meaning I only paid $39 for a year of Prime ($3.25 a month). I pay $8.54 a month for Netflix streaming. I don’t know of an inexpensive subscription plan through Apple to stream unlimited movies and TV shows. Just apps that can be used on both types of devices.

  • PeterDeep

    @KristieSabrina hmmm. I pay $5 a month for Netflix and it’s great to use and watch on an AppleTV. Don’t know why you’re paying so much. Besides, it’s an add-on in the IPad. Everything I’ve read about the Kindle HD says that the device is pretty useless with Prime. If you like it that’s great but just because you like it does not make it a better choice for everyone. It has very severe limitations – and being tied to the buttwad that is Amazon is one of them. Their software sucks.

  • KristieSabrina

    @NexusExOwner  @Applefangirl  I lost my Samsung Galaxy Nexus in August, but I had insurance coverage. I filed my claim online through the website Verizon told me to go through. They overnighted me a new phone. If I had a problem that I couldn’t resolve via the internet, I went inside the Verizon store and was quickly helped. So I don’t see what your point is. It wasn’t free, but I didn’t damage the phone. I outright lost it, so I wouldn’t expect it to be free.

  • Applefangirl

    @TiP_Stephen  @TiP_Cam  @DrewPage 3 months more likely :P

  • macman

    I could see the iPad Mini as an immediate alternative to the Kindle Fire if the mini had the Retina Display. During the release of the iPad Mini they ‘covered up’ the fact the iPad Mini did not have the Retina Display because of the customer assumption that it will have a Retina Display. Notice Kindle did leave out the iPad Mini’s wireless compatibilities because the Mini beat the Kindle with its LTE. Overall the iPad Mini is not for me.

  • Bratty

    @PaulGonzalez Absolutely. But many people will want to pay more for a smaller tablet and get additional features. A simple example: using my iPad as a remote for powerpoint presentations. Or marking up pdf’s. What will soon become obvious that the Nexus7 and iPad mini are superior alternatives to the Fire.

  • Captainchris

    I’m a little bit disappointed, however, I would rather one of these than my current iPad 2 because of size and tighter pixels, it’s no retina, but my iPad 2′s screen isn’t exactly dull, and at a smaller screen size I’m sure the screen looks fine. But, I wouldn’t buy one. Too expensive, especially with the release of the new nexus devices, it just can’t cut it. But I am pretty tied in with the apple ecosystem, at least til Microsoft catches up, or until we start seeing quality in android like we do in apple.

  • kcooper35

    @Captainchris Worth reading before jumping on the Nexus 7 is a displays comparison article on Gizmodo:   “Kindle Fire HD vs. Nexus 7: What’s the Best 7-inch Tablet Display?”  Apparently the Nexus 7 needs to put a lot more work into color accuracy.  On the other hand, the Kindle Fire HD got very high marks.
     
    iPads get downgraded for display reflections (this is a pre iPad Mini article). I’m hoping this new display surface on the iPad Mini cuts back on reflections as much as they say it does.

  • Captainchris

    @kcooper35 oh yea, I know the displays on the nexus 7 aren’t all that, but I read it was faulty factory calibration. But I still think the mini is just too expensive. I want one, because I think the size would be nice and it is beautiful, but too expensive.

  • kcooper35

    @Applefangirl  
     
    Postings like this one are becoming quite common (I research tech consumer products a lot).  The fundamental theme is typically, “I’ve had lots of Apple products” or “I love my iPhone” or I’ve been an Apple fan since the first Mac or . . . Then comes the ‘but statement, or the ‘I returned my Apple product’ statement. Then the next paragraph typically morph’s into having converted over to some super wonderful Samsung device, typically along with a tack-on statement that lauds Android.
     
    Each time I read one of these I become a bit more of a skeptic.  Apple products along with their operating systems and apps really are very good. For that matter, typically, over the years, they’re  proclaimed the best by professional reviewers from around the world. I hate being the contrarian here, but I’m just not buying all these supposed, “I loved apple before but I hate Apple now” postings that have been popping up all over the place since introduction of the iPhone 5, and then again since introduction of the iPad Mini.  Just not buying it.

  • Applefangirl

    @kcooper35 @Applefangirl not buying what?…that apple has become stagnate?..feel free to check out My bio..was a huge apple fan until The 5 arrived…just not drinking the koolaid any more…is iphone 5 a good phone? Yes… does it work for me anymore..no. i stayed up so i could be the first to get the damn thing..and did.. but for me..it feels cheap..awkward..and for what i use it for.. screen size no longer meets my needs.. a longer but not wider screen is just stupid. So before you call someone a liar do your homework…maybe people really ARE wanting something more than apple is willing to provide right now.

  • Applefangirl

    @TiP_Stephen @TiP_Cam @DrewPage what pisses me off is you know the next mini will have retina..

  • Applefangirl

    @kcooper35 And I never said I hated Apple..if it works for you..great.. I just feel they are getting left behind. And AS an apple fan..I feel they should do better..

  • Applefangirl

    @PeterDeep  @KristieSabrina I pay $8.77 for Netflix each month.. how do you get it for $5???