January 25, 2013

What The iPad Mini Won’t Do

I’m a happy iPad mini owner. I swapped out my iPad 3 for a mini with cellular. Yes, the screen is a lot worse compared to the retina iPads, but you don’t have them next to one another do you? Yes, the processor is a step down, but other than a few laggy games that doesn’t bother me much. And yes, it is light and sexy and I totally get the reasoning that this is the iPad as it was supposed to be.

Except that it is not. It is an option, treat it as such, for now.

Here are some things the iPad mini does not do, which the full sized retina iPad did, for me:

  • Drawing on this thing, wireframing and such, is not something I can do. I even deleted Paper from the iPad mini, which is usually an app I install right away.
  • Editing is harder due to the smaller screen. That goes for both text and images. The latter on any iPad should be limited to cropping images and nothing more, and that works on any device. The former used to work well enough on the full sized iPad though, albeit not being perfect without a bluetooth keyboard.
  • I type less on this thing. It isn’t a matter of the smaller keyboard actually, rather the fact that the iPad mini does not sit well on my lap. There is no chance balancing it like you would a full size iPad (or a laptop), although I can manage for shorter periods of time. Luckily the same apps will do the work so there’s at least that.
  • The Smart Cover for the iPad mini, well, there is no way to put this lightly: It sucks. Compared to the original Smart Cover, the iPad mini version fits poorly and barely works as a stand. Still worth buying, but be prepared for a let-down if you had one for your full-sized iPad.
  • The iPad mini does not work well with a lot of the accesories I use, like the Incase Origami stand. This is and was expected of course, but still. My setup is broken now, broken I tell you!

I’m happy with the iPad mini thus far, but I’m torn. There just isn’t any easy choice between the full-sized retina version and the mini, they’re good at different things. The smaller form factor is great for reading, but the screen is worse. If you’re into comics then the larger version is probably a better choice, and if you do intend to replace your laptop with an iPad then I’d go with the larger one. At least I think so, I’m not entirely sure just yet.

It’ll be interesting to see what my next iPad will be, and how apps adapt to the smaller form factor, if at all.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.