Reviews of the new iPad mini are out this morning and the general concensus is that it will be a big hit. It is seen as the best small tablet wth amazing build quality, despite its lack of a retina display.
A number of news sites, including MacRumors, have published a summary of results so I won’t go into the details here. The size is right, the weight is right, the mini will become Apple’s best-selling tablet.
I was impressed particularly by John Gruber’s review, starting with the first reaction of Mrs. Gruber: “Wow, it feels like a Kindle. Ew, the screen is terrible.” But, as John says, the screen is not terrible; it appears so only to owners of the existing iPad with retina display. Everyone else won’t care.
The lack of retina display is not a deal breaker for me, nor for John Gruber. I crave small size and low weight and the iPad mini will give me that.
If the Mini had a retina display, I’d switch from the iPad 3 in a heartbeat. As it stands, I’m going to switch anyway. Going non-retina is a particularly bitter pill for me, but I like the iPad Mini’s size and weight so much that I’m going to swallow it.
Getting your hands on an iPad mini enables a rethink of all your device needs. Again, Gruber hits the nail on the head:
My travel kit for the last few years has consisted of both an 11-inch MacBook Air and an iPad. It always feels a bit silly to carry two computers so similar in size and weight, but I want my Air for work and I want the iPad for reading. The combined weight of an 11-inch Air and a full-size iPad 3/4 is about 3.8 pounds. The combined weight of the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with retina display and an iPad Mini is about 4.2 pounds. That seems like a better kit for my needs: a far more powerful Mac for work, and a far more comfortable iPad for reading, at less than half a pound of additional weight to carry around.
Both the 11-inch Air and full-size iPad 3/4 make more sense to me as devices for people who only want to carry one portable computer. But if I’m going to carry both, I think it makes more sense to get a bigger MacBook and the smaller iPad Mini.
I shall be reviewing my stable just as soon as my mini 3G arrives later in November.
by Mike Evans, 31 October 2012