Finally...mostly... (an ode to the iPad mini)
Well, I've been waiting for this day for a long time. Really. I thought we'd get here sooner, but better late than never. Apple has finally released a tablet that meets my size requirements. The complaints about price and processor are already rolling in (as are the incredibly stupid "it's just a big iPod touch/small iPad" comments), but as for size and weight, Apple killed it. The iPad mini is exactly the size of tablet I've wanted from Apple for years. Is it everything I wanted? No. But let's discuss things for a minute.
The comparisons to a certain unnamed Android tablet was particularly damning, even without the comparison of tablet optimized apps. That Apple has squeezed a bigger screen in a comparably sized body and is able to squeeze out 10 hours of battery life in something 2/3 as thick as its competition is pretty amazing. It's also slightly lighter while using better materials. All this makes me happy.
As for price and processor? I'm not going to begrudge Apple for making a profit and I don't think $329 is crazy. Let Amazon and Google just break even on their offerings. I'm personally just not that interested in buying into another ecosystem. Sure, I would have liked it cheaper, but honestly, the pricing works for me just fine. I'm also willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on the processor. It works fine in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4s, and we're not pushing any more pixels here, so I think it's going to be fine. Is it last year's tech? Sure. But Apple's tech last year was pretty solid.
So am I satisfied? That's a hard question. The one other thing I really want (and expect in the future) is a Retina screen. I'm willing to wait for it, though, because the truth is that a Retina screen would have increased the size and weight of the iPad mini while decreasing battery life. Whether or not those are acceptable trade-offs is a matter of opinion, but when weighing that choice for myself, I'd side on lighter, thinner and better battery life. I also am willing to accept the trade-off in not going with a higher pixel-density screen that would have raised the ppi without going completely Retina and perhaps put it directly on par with the Nexus 7 et al. But the fact that they will, at lease for now, not require developers to program for yet another screen size is a welcome relief to them, I'm sure. Keeping the pixel dimensions the same as the iPad 2 means every single iOS tablet app will work out the door. There is value in this, even though as a pixel density enthusiast, I can't help but be a little disappointed. The only other thing I really want, but don't ever expect to get, is hard page turn buttons. Once again, I totally accept this is a personal quirk of mine, but for a device that is so obviously made for reading (and will most likely replace my nook simple touch), I would really like hard page turn buttons. I just like them.
So will I be buying an iPad mini on day one? Maybe not on day one, but I fully expect Santa will have one waiting for me under the tree on Christmas morning.