In trying to position its long awaited iPad Mini, Apple managed to avoid employing the overused expression, "less is more." Instead, it offers a more perplexing value proposition: Less is the same. Apple on its website says about its iPad Mini, "There's less of it, but no less to it."
As Apple designer Jonathan Ive put it, the iPad Mini is "a concentration, not a reduction, of the original." Ignore for a moment that a "reduction," at least in the culinary sense, is synonymous with "concentration." Apple insists that the iPad Mini is the same iPad you know and love, but in a different size.
However, sameness and difference don't play well together. The iPad Mini is clearly less capable in the graphics department: Its display, while sharp, is not the Retina display that makes the 9.7-inch iPad, now in its fourth generation, so compelling.
The iPad Mini also features a less powerful processor than its big brother. The Apple A5 is a fine chip. It powers the second generation iPad. But it's no A6X, which runs about twice a fast, in the fourth generation iPad.
The iPad Mini is less bulky than the 9.7-inch iPad and competing 7-inch tablets. Measuring 7.2 mm thick and weighing 0.68 pounds, it's "pencil-thin," to borrow Apple's characterization. It's just the thing for traveling light, and it nicely fills the gap between its full-sized sibling and the even smaller iPhone 5.
As a wireless device, the iPad Mini includes almost everything you'd want to see, except for 802.11ac. It supports dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless networking, at speeds up to 150 Mbps, and those models that include a cellular chip support LTE and DC-HSDPA.
The iPad Mini comes with an Apple Lightning connector, designed for a more compact connection port. Intriguingly, the Lightning connector can support a USB adapter, enabling direct connection of cameras or SD cards, as well as VGA or HDMI digital video sources, to the iPad Mini and the fourth generation iPad. This could make it even easier to get files on or off iOS devices, if Apple and its third-party partners support peripherals designed for this purpose.
Then there's the price: $329 and up. The iPad Mini costs more than Amazon's $199 Kindle Fire HD and more than Google's $199 Nexus 7. It remains to be seen whether the iPad Mini would have been better off with more "less to it" in terms of price.
Dig into our slideshow to get a close look at the tiny tablet and see how it compares to its larger peers.