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10/23/2012
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Apple iPad Mini: Pros And Cons

Apple's tiny tablet impresses, but still leaves out some key features. Here are some pros and cons of the new, smaller iPad Mini.

Apple announced the iPad Mini, a smaller version of its popular tablet, Tuesday. By itself, the device is fairly impressive. It takes all the good features of the iPad 2 (circa 2011) and squishes them down into a smaller, thinner, lighter device.

The iPad Mini has a 7.9-inch display with 1024 x 768 pixels, an A5 processor, 16 GB of storage (base model), a 5-megapixel main camera and 720p HD FaceTime camera, and the Lightning port.

Prices start at $329 for the 16-GB Wi-Fi version. The Wi-Fi version hits stores November 2. Prices increase to $429 for the 32-GB Wi-Fi version and $529 for the 64-GB Wi-Fi version. Adding LTE adds another $130 to each model; for example, the 16-GB iPad Mini with LTE 4G costs $459. It comes in white and black.

[ What's up with all that silicon in Apple's new Lightning cable? Read Apple Lightning Cable Teardown Reveals Mysterious Circuits. ]

Pros:

Design -- The iPad Mini is truly smaller than its larger brother. It measures 7.2-mm thick, weighs just 0.68 pounds, and can be held and used in a single hand.

LTE -- The iPad Mini supports the LTE networks of AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless (no luck, T-Mobile!). This means it has access to 4G mobile broadband in hundreds of markets around the country.

Apps/Ecosystem -- There are 225,000 iPad apps in the App Store. All of them will work on the iPad Mini without the need for developers to lift a finger. The iPad Mini has the same aspect ratio and resolution as the iPad and iPad 2, so all of those apps will just flow right on over. Beyond apps, the iPad Mini will automatically be able to hook into Apple's vast content ecosystem.

Battery Life -- Even with LTE on board, Apple says the iPad Mini will still get about 10 hours of battery life. That's an incredible amount of uptime when considering the productivity needs of today's mobile professionals.

Cons:

Slower Processor -- Apple insists that the dual-core A5 processor is more than capable of providing enough power to run the iPad Mini. That may be true, but the iPhone 5 has an A6 chip and the 4th-gen iPad (also announced today) has an A6X chip. An older processor is an older processor, no matter how you slice it.

No Retina Display -- The 1024 x 768 pixel display of the iPad Mini boils down to a resolution of 162 pixels per inch. That's better than the original iPad and iPad 2, but it's no Retina Display.

iOS 6 -- Apple calls iOS 6 the most powerful mobile platform in the world, but the operating system still has plenty of weaknesses that competitors, such as Google, will be able to exploit. For example, consider the lack of support for widgets and other dynamic home-screen content.

Price -- It's no surprise that Apple is charging a price premium for its smaller tablet when compared to other 7-inch models. With an introductory price of $329, it costs a full $80 more than the 16 GB Nexus 7. Of course, the Nexus 7 is thick, heavy, and made of plastic, while the iPad Mini is thin, light, and made of aluminum.

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mmuldoon52501
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mmuldoon52501,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/2/2012 | 3:58:58 PM
re: Apple iPad Mini: Pros And Cons
Now with the pricing on the Nexus 7, larger available memory configurations, and a wireless option the iPad mini doesn't look so hot. Also, the new Nexus 10" has a better than Retina display and very fast and smooth Android 4.2 so the iPad 4 (or is it the New new iPad) has real competition. I have used products in the iOS world and wouldn't trade my Nexus 7 for any of them.
Tom LaSusa
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Tom LaSusa,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/23/2012 | 9:27:17 PM
re: Apple iPad Mini: Pros And Cons
That price tag...wow. I think it's safe to say that Amazon and Google are both breathing a small sigh of relief.

Tom LaSusa
InformationWeek Community Manager
melgross
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melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
10/23/2012 | 8:59:29 PM
re: Apple iPad Mini: Pros And Cons
The only negative to this that I can see is the starting price. I'm surprised, despite an apparent pricing leak several days ago, to see at $329. While that's only 10% more than $299, the psychological movement from the $2xx level to the $3xx level will seem greater than it really is.

If Apple priced this at $249 for 16GB, they would take away almost the entire Android tablet market. But I have to assume that Apple actually wants to make a profit on these, unlike what seems to be happening with everyone else. In addition, the cost to make this, along with the usual other products costs likely didn't give Apple that room to price it lower. Maybe next year.

But to the markets they are aiming this at, it will sell pretty well. This is still $70 cheaper than what the iPad 2 was going for this year. For K-3 this will be a better product than the 10". Model, and the difference in price will induce schools to buy lots of them. They are also much less likely to get broken by small kids because of the light weight when they fall.

I also don't think that business is too interested in Android tablets at this point, and this will add to the full size tablets marketshare there.

They will sell a lot, just not as many if it were cheaper.

Just as an aside, there are over 275,000 tablet apps in Apple's App Store, not 225,000.
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