If you didn’t know the iPad mini has been announced by now, you’d be among the minority. It’s incredible the amount of press new Apple devices get these days. Literally the morning after the special event, a couple of friends who aren’t anything like techies/gadget nerds asked me what I thought. Public mind share is huge, which is why – like every other iOS device launch – it’s going to be a success.
But, for me, it’s different. The iPad mini will actually take a place in my life that the 9.7″ iPad couldn’t. I pre-ordered a 32GB model as soon as I awoke this morning, and will be happy to receive it next Friday. To try and give one reason for why I bought it would be daft and virtually impossible. There are many reasons why. And I certainly don’t go along with the mentality that “I may as well get an iPod touch” or that the mini is priced too high. Anyone expecting it to come in below $300 was deluded, even at $329 Apple’s profit margins aren’t as high as they would normally be.
1. My family loves the iPad
For those of you who don’t know, I have a family in the traditional, western, stereotypical sense: 1 wife, 2 kids (1 boy and 1 girl). Each of us has different likes and dislikes. While I might like running over cows and destroying other vehicles in Carmageddon, my wife likes to spend her life on Facebook, my son likes to watch episodes of Postman Pat on iPlayer while my daughter prefers to watch Mary Poppins on my LoveFilm Player app or failing that, she likes nothing more than playing Temple Run or Agent Dash. Needless to say, we can’t do all those at the same time.
One of the most frustrating things as a parent is that whenever I want to play Carmageddon, the kids suddenly become interested in me and try forcing me to switch to one of their preferred activities. In an ideal world, we’d have two iPads. One for the kids to share when me or my wife has the other.
The other annoyance (for the rest of my family) is that I often need my iPad when I’m working. I like to have it on a stand in my office when I’m reading/writing. I can use it as a secondary display, or use it to show my analytics, tweets etc. I often need it for accessory reviews or trying out new apps. That leaves the rest of the Bunton crew without anything to use. There’s only so much TV they can watch, and while we don’t encourage our kids to sit being entertained by digital media all the time, there is the odd occasion when my wife or I needs a 30 minute break. If I’ve got the iPad and the kids are bored of their toys, there’s little to do, especially when the weather’s inclement (which it frequently is in Cumbria).
Now, I’m not saying we NEED another iPad. Need is a very strong word. Heck, we could survive without any iPhones, iPads, TVs or a MacBook. I’ll let you in to a secret: I hate TV. It’s too easy to switch on, and watch mindless drivel. I’d love to be able to get rid of it. That’s not to say I don’t want my kids to watch anything at all. If, our family had an extra iPad, I would happily use the mini for work, while my wife/kids can enjoy the iPad together watching a film or the like. And the ultimate truth is, I’d hate to take the TV away, and not have anything they could use as a replacement on the occasion that they want to watch something. Media watching would then become more deliberate and not a habitual fail-safe. At least, that’s my idealistic hope. I’m happy to admit, that it may not work in reality, but it’s worth a shot.
2. My work
I run an iOS-centric blog. Part of my role in running this site is ensuring that we have coverage of all the new gear that Apple releases running our favorite mobile operating system. To not get an iPad mini, try it out and review it and apps/accessories on it would be me failing at my occupation. I take a lot of pride in what we’re trying to achieve at TiP. And, since we’re not anywhere near big enough (yet) to be in Apple’s “circle of trust” and receiving embargoed test units, we have to purchase our own devices, giving of our own time and our own cash to make sure the site has the most up to date products tested.
Similar to the replacing the TV motive, eventually, I’m sure the iPad will become my main computing device. Currently I use a MacBook Air. It’s portable, and suitable for when I get sent to media events in the UK. It’s also powerful and quick enough that I can have it plugged in to an external LED monitor in my office and use it to edit photos, videos and blog all at the same time. The iPad is almost at the point where it could easily do that for me. The only issues I find with it right now are the importing and editing of media (especially videos) and managing our WordPress blog. Although there are some great blog-managing apps out there, none of them quite offer the flexibility of using the dashboard on my computer browser. And, WordPress on iOS’ Safari browser really blows. But, once those two issues are ironed out, I’ll no longer need a £1,000 notebook, I can just use my iPad and a compatible keyboard.
3. A huge tablet isn’t suitable for everything
Don’t get me wrong, I love my Retina equipped 3rd gen iPad. It’s a fantastic device, and there are some things I wouldn’t do without it. I love gaming on the huge iPad display. At least I do when it’s two handed gaming. But, ever since its introduction, the large iPad has been far from comfortable to hold in one hand. It’s too big, and too heavy. This in turn makes it less portable than some of its 7-inch competitors. Make no mistake – for that reason alone, Apple had to release a smaller tablet. When it came to having a device that was easy to grab with one hand and carry around in a large pocket/purse, the other manufacturers were doing it better. For reading books, playing one-handed games (Temple Run/Agent Dash/Angry Birds) we needed a smaller device. The market needed a smaller iPad.
4. All in all
Overall, another iDevice larger than an iPhone, but slightly smaller than the current iPad is exactly what I want to make life a little more convenient. When I took everything from my reasoning in the above few sections, the only logical conclusion is that the iPad mini would be virtually perfect for me/us. And, that’s the crux of it. We buy technological gadgets for that sole purpose. We go out, and hand over our hard earned cash for gadgets that will serve a purpose in making achieving certain goals that little bit easier. I’d be hard pushed to convince my wife that we needed another 9.7″ tablet costing almost £500 (32GB), when what would be of real use to us in almost every sense would be a smaller, lighter, and cheaper iPad. At just over £340 for the iPad mini 32GB, I can do so without any sense of buyer’s remorse. It fulfills a set of “needs” and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Now it’s down to you. Why did you order an iPad mini? What will you use it for primarily, and how will it make your life more convenient? Leave your thoughts in the comments, or tweet: @TiP_Cam