My take after spending a bunch of the weekend with the iPad mini:
This is the real iPad. With the exception of screen sharpness,
everything about it is better than the bigger, “classic” iPad —
and screen sharpness won’t be a deal breaker for the vast majority
I’ve been asked by several readers why, if this is a seemingly better form factor, Apple didn’t go with this size for the original iPad. I think there are several factors. First, I don’t think they could have, technically. The original iPad in 2010 was pretty thick compared even to the iPad 2. If they couldn’t make it thinner then, I don’t think they could have made it smaller either — not at the same price points.
Second, thinness and weight aside, I think the 9.7-inch size was better to start with conceptually, to establish the iPad in consumers’ minds as something they might want to own. The biggest complaint about the original iPad upon its unveiling was that it was nothing more than a “big iPhone”. That would have been an even bigger complaint if they’d launched with the smaller 7.9-inch display instead. The bigger difference in physical size made it even more likely that developers would do the work to create iPad-optimized versions of their iPhone apps, too.
Another week in, though, and I’m more convinced than even a week ago that the iPad Mini is the best size for most people. It’s last decade’s iPod story all over again.
★ Monday, 5 November 2012