Hello, iPad mini

Only a few weeks ago, we were all sitting around our Macs and Apple TVs watching Tim Cook et al introduce the new iPad mini at their October special event. Few of us were surprised, we all knew deep down that Apple would one day introduce a smaller, more affordable iPad. Well here it is, the iPad mini featuring a 7.9″ screen and mostly the same internals as the iPad 2 except for a beefier iSight and FaceTime HD camera.

We’ve had the mini at the office for a few days now and wanted to give you our first impressions.

iPad mini – 32 GB, Black, WiFi only

The new iPad is extremely light. After using the iPad (Cell + WiFi) retina since last March, you really notice a big difference. I’m finding myself picking the iPad mini up far more often than before. The new size also lends itself well to typing quickly. For some reason I found myself being more willing to answer work emails on the mini than the finger-stretching iPad and the iPhone’s cramped keyboard.

Another bonus with such a light device is that holding it up during a Skype or FaceTime conversation is much more appealing. My lucky colleagues, friends, family and clients no longer have to look at the underside of my chin during a call. It really adds to the whole Startrek PADD feel of it 😉

In terms of app development, everything we were running before works perfectly on this device. We’re going to have to reregister it with TestFlight [clients take note!], but once that’s done the beauty of iOS + iCloud means there’s no down time when buying a new device.

It’s not all fantastic however, with most noticeably the lack of a Retina screen. I’m hoping there is a reason why Apple didn’t include it. Perhaps to keep costs down, perhaps because it would mean a slower, warmer and bulkier device. Either way, if you are used to Retina text and pictures, you will definitely miss them.

As you can imagine, we have a lot of devices here in the Applingua office. Unfortunately the iPad mini introduces a new Lightning connector which has really put a spanner in the works when it comes to power outlet availability. At the moment it’s also limiting us to charging the device in one place, or alternatively carrying the charger around with us – in other words not as portable as you’d like the mini to be. We could of couse buy additional cables, but at £15 a pop, you can imagine we’re not super happy about that.

I’m convinced from just 24 hours usage that this is the future of iPad. I don’t know whether Apple will keep their “Pro” line and this will be the “Air” akin to the MacBook range, but I have no doubt that the iPad mini will be the hottest gadget this Christmas and I’m pretty positive that success will continue into the future. Let me know what you think if you’ve bought one too!

Robert Lo Bue

Rob is CEO of Applingua. With over a decade's experience, he is at the forefront of tech localization.