Is iPad Mini the “Fun-Size” tablet, or does it mean business?

As the end of October approaches, so does Halloween. And with Halloween, most people would think of ghosts, witches, vampires and other monsters along with other spooky stuff. As for me, I think of trick-or-treating and the all important CANDY. Mind you, the candy usually given out is not full-sized candy bars, but rather “fun-size” candy–usually miniature versions of the tastes we know and love.

Apple decided to provide us with a new fun-sized item just in time for Halloween–the iPad Mini. It was highly anticipated, and naturally, I sat and watched the announcement. The iPad Mini appears to be about the same size as the most popular e-reader/non-iPad Mini devices, such as a Kindle Fire HD or a Nook. It is small enough to fit in one’s hand, and Apple claims that it’s a new design–and stressed that it’s not a shrunken iPad, but rather a concentrated one. It has all the same features of the iPad 4th generation (which was also introduced during this event), but it’s as thin as a pencil and as heavy as a pad of paper. The screen size is significantly larger than its competitors even though the device is of comparable size. I’ll leave out most of the other details, but needless to say, it performs the same as the new 4th generation iPad also introduced today, and runs all the same iPad only apps. The nice thing that Apple stressed about development for iPad Mini is that it doesn’t change from what is done for iPad–what works on iPad works on iPad Mini. NICE. Everything is faster and more powerful than before, and that makes for a great experience.  Its flash storage is the same as a full-sized iPad as well, coming in 16GB, 32 GB and 64 GB. That’s great in itself too.

Photo from AllThingsD.com

So, is it fun-sized? It sure looks like it. Am I getting one anytime soon? No, I don’t have a need for one, considering I just got my cool new iPad 3rd generation not too long ago, and am very happy with that.  But I can see a lot of benefits for the iPad Mini, especially for m-learning and use in schools. Sure, having all those cool new features alone make it great, but knowing that it has the same functionality as its full-sized counterpart, there are two features that will make it really great for education and schools.

First, it’s the smaller size. The smaller size will make the device even more portable than a standard sized iPad for students. It’ll be easier to fit in a backpack, or even to use in a classroom or on a field trip. For the elementary school students, the size will make it easier to use for smaller hands. I’m sure that typing with littler hands will be facilitated more easily on a smaller devices. It’s almost as if iPad Minis were MADE for the elementary school crowd! The size also makes reading e-books more like reading from a competitor’s device, in that it’s not much bigger than a paperback novel. The device itself allows for even more mobility than its larger counterpart. It seems to me like this will be a winner in these respects.

The second feature is the price. At a starting price of $329 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version of the iPad Mini, that’s a savings of $150 over the 16GB Wi-Fi version of the full-size iPad. Multiple that $150 many times for all the students that would be given iPads at schools… incredible savings, and maybe more iPad Minis to be bought!

Now, I’m not knocking the full-size iPad. It’s been revolutionary since its introduction two years ago. Tim Cook of Apple spouted off a lot of incredible statistics about iOS downloads and upgrades that were staggering, like 200 million devices upgraded to iOS6 in the past month, and the 100 millionth iPad was sold two weeks ago! (I wonder if it was mine? Ha ha!) Apple stressed their role in education not only with the introduction of iPads and their impact on schools, but also the impact of iBooks as well. (There is a new upgrade of both iBooks and iBooks Author available today as well). iPad full-size will always have a place, just like full-size writing pads have not gone away just because smaller writing pads can be made. There are advantages to full-size iPads, especially when doing larger scale work. Having more screen to view is easier on the eyes in that respect.  Like I said, I personally wouldn’t give up my full-size iPad even if given the opportunity to trade it for a smaller one. That’s just me.

But then I think about my middle-school aged son. Having his own iPad Mini would be perfect for him. Not too big, not too small, and at a relatively affordable price, and he’s still get all the features found in the full-sized one. Or for someone who isn’t an avid computer geek, but wants something that’s more beefed up than the Android tablets and e-readers, this is an excellent choice.  Or, someone who’s been wanting an iPad but couldn’t afford one, now they can in a “concentrated” size.

I think this means that the iPad Mini is both fun-sized, AND means business!

Now, will the next one be available in chocolate with nuts, caramel and rice crispies?

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