Well, that is the goal anyway. Today, Apple releases upon the world it’s smaller, lighter, cheaper iPad mini with the intention of making the iPad the tablet of choice no matter the thickness of your wallet. Whether you have $300 or $800 to spend, there’s now an iPad for you.
We’re going to do our best to convince the boss to let us try this out for ourselves. For the time being, however, here’s a rundown of the overwhelmingly positive reviews from the major tech news outlets.
There’s no tablet in this size range that’s as beautifully constructed, works as flawlessly, or has such an incredible software selection. Would I prefer a higher-res display? Certainly. Would I trade it for the app selection or hardware design? For the consistency and smoothness of its software, or reliability of its battery? Absolutely not. And as someone who’s been living with (and loving) Google’s Nexus 7 tablet for a few months, I don’t say that lightly.
It also seems optimized for kids. My almost-nine-year-old son loves the size and weight of the Mini. Reading apps may not be computationally taxing, but games are, and there is no compromise in the iPad Mini’s performance. In both the Geekbench and SunSpider benchmarks, the Mini performs identically to the iPad 3 — about 750 in Geekbench (where bigger means faster) and 1,450ms in SunSpider (where lower times are faster).3 The new iPad 4 blows those numbers away (1,750 Geekbench, 850ms SunSpider), but I’d say iPad 3-caliber performance in a $329 radically smaller device is pretty good. I was not expecting iPad 3 performance in the Mini. But it’s there, and that makes the iPad Mini great for games. I think there are going to be a staggering number of iPad Minis in Santa’s sack this year.
The iPad mini has been rumored for nearly as long as the original iPad has existed, but it wasn’t clear early on how many of those rumors were based on fact and how many were based on hope. Hope, that was, for a smaller, more portable tablet that would bring access to all the Apple ecosystem had to offer, in a package you could easily hold in one hand. Specifically, a package more affordable than the 10-incher.
That’s this, the 7.9-inch, $329 iPad mini that sports a screen with the same resolution as the iPad 2 — only smaller. As we put this one through its paces it quickly became clear that this is far more than a cheaper, smaller iPad. This is a thinner, lighter device that deserves independent consideration. In many ways, it’s actually better than the 10-inch slate from which it was born.
Walt Mossberg, Wall Street Journal
In shrinking the iconic iPad, Apple has pulled off an impressive feat. It has managed to create a tablet that’s notably thinner and lighter than the leading small competitors with 7-inch screens, while squeezing in a significantly roomier 7.9-inch display. And it has shunned the plastic construction used in its smaller rivals to retain the iPad’s sturdier aluminum and glass body.
In the end, it’s about an overall package, an experience which Apple is offering. Not the fastest tablet, nor the cheapest, nor the one that prioritizes the most pixel-dense display, but the one with the lion’s share of tablet applications, the integration with the iOS/iTunes ecosystem, the familiarity of usability and, yes, the brand cachet. That’s a compelling metric by which to judge a new product, and it’s a set of abilities that single the iPad mini out in the marketplace. If the iPad with Retina display is the flagship of Apple’s tablet range, then the iPad mini is the everyman model, and it’s one that will deservedly sell very well.
Clayton Morris, FoxNews
After a few days I started to prefer the mini to my larger iPad despite its lack of a Retina screen. It even made my larger iPad look old fashioned. Awkwardly large. The mini is fast, impressively light — weighing in at just over 10 ounces — and easy to keep with me at all times.