Apple quite expectedly introduced the smaller iPad in October 2012 and with 3 million units sold during opening weekend it was extremely successful product launch. It was better than for any previous iPad model. The reviews about the device were mostly positive, and battery life, form factor and portability were cited as some of its main selling points.
Waiting for the next iPad Mini model
Although it is without any doubts a great product, and I would also say that it is worth the extra money comparing to its competition, I decided to wait for the next version. Before I describe the main reasons why I’m not going to buy the first version I will look at what I like about it.
At first, it is the form factor – iPad Mini is very light and thin (it weighs just 0.68 pounds and is 7.2mm thin) and this opens a whole new ways of using it. You can hold it in one hand and use it for many hours without noticing any pain. Let’s say it straight, its bigger brother is too big and heavy for carrying around or holding in hands for a longer time. It is also easier to use the LTE version (that has GPS) as in-car navigation. On the other hand the hardware is basically taken from the iPad 2 so you can expect the same speed and functions available – which is not a problem at all. The main difference is the new Lightning connector. What’s surprising is the fact that it has stereo speakers (no other iPad has them) with a great sound quality.
So what are the reasons to postpone buying the iPad Mini and wait for second generation?
The lack of high-resolution display is a main deal-breaker for me. Although I understand that it probably wouldn’t be possible to have full iPad retina display (resolution 2048 x 1536) in such a small device at this point, I take it as a BIG step back. As someone using iPhone with retina everyday this is a real drawback and I notice the pixelated text and graphics almost immediately.
The lack of retina can be seen mainly in the pixelated text.
Many people say that it is fine, but for me it’s a real eyesore. If we consider that reading books is one of the main purposes of using the iPad Mini, this can be a real pain. If you’re considering buying the iPad Mini and you have been using iPhone 3GS or iPad 2, my answer is “Go for it, you will not regret the money!” If you own anything with retina display, don’t buy it or at least try to read few pages on it and decide whether the pixelation is a problem for you.
I’m pretty sure that the next version will have retina display and rumors only confirm my guess. Several Apple related websites noted that next version is likely to have retina at the pixel density 326ppi pixel (the same as on the iPhone 4/4S/5).
First generation problem
Apple apparently has some internal strategy that it uses when introducing new products. We have seen this in first generation of iPhone and iPad. The first generation always looks different from its successors. Let's take the first generation iPhone (2G) as an example. It has aluminum back and generally weird appearance comparing to 3G or 3GS.
Same applies for first generation iPad which was much bigger and the look of iPad 2 was the one that its successor versions followed.
First generation is on the left. The difference in a design of the second generation is obvious.
It is probable that the second version will have look differently and will set the appearance of forthcoming versions.
The market with accessories for iPad Mini is not that big at the moment. We can expect to have much more options to choose from at the time of the next version coming out. And remember, if the form factor changes for the second generation iPad, most of the accessories for the first version will be useless.
So, what are your reasons of (not) buying the first generation iPad Mini (other than buying a Kindle or Android tablet)?