Is There A Mini Revolution Coming?

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 by Simon Morton

The iPad Mini is now (officially at least) one week old and in that time there has been no shortage of comment and review. Not only that, but by the end of this week Apple enthusiasts will be able to actually get their hands on one.

Which brings me beautifully to my first point. Apple have touted the mini as a device that can be comfortably held in one hand – undeniably true if you’re six foot plus or an orang-utan but maybe not so easy for the rest of us. At 134.7mm wide I think the ‘one hand hold’ may be something akin to holding three tennis balls, but without the benefit of the easy bounce back on failure!

To be fair it has been launched (in an uncharacteristically reactive way for Apple) to challenge the Amazon Kindle and the Google Nexus so how does it stack up and are these really the only competition?

Apple have understood that to make an impact in this area they need to be competitive on price (something which has much less relevance when targeting ‘dyed in the wool’ Applistas). With a price range from £269 – £429 there is some discrepancy here, the base model is double the price of the Kindle Fire and at the top of the range you’re in iPad territory. But maybe that magic Apple cache will make the difference.

I hesitate to use the words ‘cheap’ and ‘Apple’ in the same sentence but in aiming for a lower price point Apple have had to make sacrifices. The iPad Mini uses the A5 processor so it will be slower than both the iPhone 5 and the new iPad (which run the A6). It has also had to forgo the retina display giving it less visual impact as well. These may well be the two factors that could leave it in no man’s land.

Apple enthusiasts will notice the differences in speed and resolution from the off, risking the possibility of them seeing this as a poor relation to their other tech. But that’s not the real issue here, both the Nexus and the Kindle have higher resolution screens and (on paper) the Nexus has a faster processor, so why spend the extra money?

When it comes to choosing one of these three it will all be down to personal choice – the operating system will be a big consideration for those who are used to an android platform – but I can’t help thinking that it will be that ‘goes with anything’ Apple logo that will make the difference to many.

This is not a product aimed specifically at business users but the price point will appeal to corporate money jugglers and the size may well appeal to those who prefer not to heft about a cavernous handbag / manbag. This means that it will undoubtedly become a presentation tool for many mobile presenters and the time spent by techy types mastering iPad presentations should come in handy here.

But before you get shopping I’d just like to throw a wild card into the mix – Samsung Galaxy Note. It can do all the stuff that the others can and make phone calls too – just a thought!

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