iPad mini: Not what I hoped it would be

Summary:Apple unveiled the smallest member of the iPad family to great fanfare. Tech addict that I am I figured I would order one as soon as possible but now I have my doubts.

iPad Minis

Yesterday the folks at Apple presented the 7.9-inch iPad mini to the world to much fanfare. The newest member of the iPad family is thin, light, and much as expected. Most of the rumors that surfaced about the iPad mini were accurate, and in this instance they were not what I wanted to hear.

The fact I don't need a smaller iPad is what has me hesitating on pulling the trigger on one. If it had something totally new for the genre, like a Retina Display, that would push me over the edge.

The iPad mini is a beautiful piece of engineering. It is about as thin as possible (.28 inch) and as light as can be (.68 pound). The IPS screen is 7.9 inches diagonally fit in a case only 7.87 x 5.3 inches. It displays at the same resolution (1024 x 768) as the bigger iPad 2.

That resolution is what has me having second thoughts about picking up an iPad mini . The screen isn't bad, it is probably quite nice for the size. But it's not a Retina Display, something I felt strongly that Apple would produce. I am disappointed that the iPad mini display is not Retina quality.

This is the first new mobile product that Apple has introduced in a while without a Retina Display. My older iPhone 4S has one as does my iPad 3. The Retina Display was touted as a game-changer when introduced, and using those two devices backs up that claim.

I understand why Apple chose to forego the Retina Display for the iPad mini. It makes perfect sense for both Apple and iPad app developers to have a screen resolution that is cheaper and lets existing iPad apps display perfectly without changes. I get that. But I'm not Apple nor a developer, I am a customer, and I would prefer a Retina Display on the iPad mini.

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I am willing to pay for that display, would do so willingly. Using a Retina Display is simply wonderful, and it would be so on an iPad of this size. I may be in the minority on the price thing, but that's me.

I certainly don't need another tablet, I already have a third generation (no longer current) iPad and a 7-inch Nexus 7. The latter is what had me jonesing for an iPad mini with a Retina Display. I know first-hand the benefits of a smaller tablet so I don't have to be sold on the utility of an iPad mini.

The fact I don't need a smaller iPad is what has me hesitating on pulling the trigger on one. If it had something totally new for the genre, like a Retina Display, that would push me over the edge. As it is I am glad Apple chose to delay preorders until Windows 8 launch day. It gives me a few days to mull over a purchase.

Mobile tech addict that I am I admit I will likely hit the Buy Now button for an iPad mini at some point. I suspect the model with integrated LTE will end up winning the day over the Nexus 7. I have come to appreciate having high speed connectivity integrated in a tablet, and my Share Everything plan on Verizon would let me add the iPad mini for just $10 per month.

Those who don't own a 7-inch tablet might find the iPad mini to be a good choice. In my experience iPad apps are better than the competition's across the board. Using the iPad mini should be as good as usin an iPad but in a more mobile form.

The lack of a Retina Display turned the iPad mini from an instant purchase for me into a maybe. When I use my Nexus 7 I miss the quality of iPad apps, but it's not bad. I can just as easily keep using the Nexus 7 for now; until my tech addiction gets the better of me.

See also:

Topics: iPad, Apple, Tablets


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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