Why Mini? Apple Announces Smaller iPad

Comparison of the two iPads.

On Oct. 23, 2012, Apple announced that next Friday would see the release of their newest product, the iPad Mini. The Mini is indeed exactly what it sounds like, sporting a reduced screen size of 7.9 inches rather than the 9.7 inches of the other iPads. Still, the new Mini has the same technical specifications as the iPad 2, just in a compact package for $70 cheaper. Despite Apple acknowledging and fixing problems with the iPad in this new model, it still begs the question: who is the iPad Mini for?

A problem that has plagued the iPad since its inception is Apple’s indecisiveness of what they want it to be. It’s too big to be used in a portable way like an iPhone, too small and limited to be an alternative to a laptop, and bigger than most tablets these days. The outlandish “Apple brand name” price is even less enticing (seriously, you can find a better laptop for the same price as the iPad).

So, who is the Mini for? Despite the lower price and smaller size, the new iPad doesn’t really solve any of the product’s problems. It still costs more than many other tablets of its kind, and it runs on the same specs as the iPad 2–which is a pro or a con, depending on how you feel about the original. Another big flaw is the fact that it runs the same apps as the iPad 2, so it doesn’t offer any answer to the criticism that it’s too limited. The final issue is that unlike with the original iPad, Apple is releasing the newest tablet into an already flooded sea of products, with the well-received Amazon Kindle Fire HD tablet and Google’s Nexus 7 tablet having been released recently.

In spite of these complaints about the newest member of the Apple family, the product will undoubtedly sell like silicon hot cakes based on the appeal of having “the newest iDevice” alone. Hopefully, though, the Mini will just be a single step in the wrong direction for Apple–and not the beginning of a long walk down that road.

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