iPad Mini as laptop replacement
So I recently went into an Apple Store with the intention of upgrading my first gen iPad with an iPad 4. I walked out with an iPad mini.
I had been using my original iPad as my primary computer for a long time, but it was getting very slow, and wasn't upgradable to iOS 6. I was very excited to move to a Retina Display iPad, but once I held the iPad mini in the store, I was swayed by the weight and feel of it.
Like a lot of people, I don't have huge requirements for a computer or tablet. I want to read, write, browse the web, and play casual games. After less than a week of using the mini, I think it will be fully sufficient for 90% or more of my computing needs. I write using a combination of iA Writer, Byword, Day One, Pages & Evernote, all of which work very well on the mini. And despite the lack of Retina, the reading experiences in Flipboard and the Kindle app are wonderful. For reading and general use, the comfort in the hand outweighs the lower display quality. Chrome and Safari both work well, and most of the games I play aren't graphics intensive and render well. (I have noticed some graphics in Newsstand (like in the recent Wired issue) look sub-par, by that is rare.
What really sold me on the mini was the typing experience. I know a lot of people have said they don't enjoy typing on iPads, especially minis, but I do. I have become a good touch typist, and after testing out typing in the Apple Store, I soon found I can type quickly and comfortably in landscape mode on the mini. What's more, I can also type in portrait orientation while holding the tablet without getting fatigued--something I could never do with a full sized iPad. (I've written this whole post thumb-typing in portait, while laying on my stomach and holding the iPad in my hands.)
Although it isn't the most powerful machine, I think it may be a more intimate one. There's little barrier to using it: use it standing, use it sitting, use it laying down--it's light enough for the situation to be inconsequential. Sure, it can't do everything, but it can do the few things I want very well. That sort of limitation can be a powerful and edifying form of restraint for a person like me, who is obsessed with new tech. It's a type of device that encourages use in nearly any situation because it is so small and portable.
I can read, I can browse. Most importantly, I can write. I know I'm in the honeymoon phase with this device, and all it is is a device; I know my own discipline will be what determines how I use it. But the design of the iPad mini fits my needs and wants very well. It's the closest thing to the ideal tablet I've had in my mind ever since the 2002 Tablet PC Bill Gates keynote. And that's pretty amazing.
Has anyone else had similar experiences? Are you using an iPad or iPad mini in similar ways?