As you know, the iPad Mini was announced earlier today along with a 4th Generation iPad. I read a few of the live blogs about the event (since Apple only live streams to Apple devices), made the above graphic in Photoshop and started writing this post from my Windows 8 tablet. I’ve got a 12″ screen and an old heavy convertible HP TouchSmart TM2 from the age before the first Apple iPad was even announced, so it’s probably time for something new. The iPad Mini is certainly much more portable than my current Windows 8 tablet dinosaur. It looks very comfortable to hold, probably fits easily into one of my large jacket pockets, and certainly has better battery life! You can hold it in one hand by reaching your fingers and thumb across its width, but you still need a second hand to use it. The larger 4th generation iPad doesn’t sound much different from the 3rd generation iPad other than a processor speed upgrade and a different port on the bottom along with some graphics processing upgrades. Nothing deserving of magical incredible superlatives really.
I already have an iPod Touch that I hardly use (partly because iOS 6 makes it frequently crash). That’s much more portable than a Mini iPad. I also already have a smartphone that I keep with me at all times, and that does just about everything I would need an iOS device for; location research, navigation, transit directions, SMS, phone calls, email, Facebook, Facebook chat, games, music, videos, ebooks, news updates, etc.
What I really would need a larger screen tablet for while on the road is actual work. I need to be able to plug in my DSLR or camcorder and batch process RAW photos with my pre-programmed camera lens profiles. RAW image editors on iOS are nowhere near professional quality. The same is true with editing video on iOS. However, part of Apple’s big announcement today included new wired adapters for the lightning port that let you connect USB peripherals and SD memory cards. I’d rather have those built into my tablet like I do already.
Of course, I’ve never really expected any iOS device to be useful for professional applications anyway. So what’s the use of it? My smartphone handles my mobile communications needs more efficiently, and my Windows 8 tablet handles my mobile productivity needs with more power and capabilities. The new iPads are just more iOS devices with slightly different screen sizes. Maybe if you don’t already have all of your mobile device needs satisfied by other products and don’t already have at least one Apple iOS device already, then a new iPad Mini or 4th Generation iPad might be attractive, but for me I’m still looking for a new Windows 8 tablet that will really handle my productivity needs in addition to entertainment/consumption needs without having to compromise. How about you?