iPad mini round-table - reactions to Apple's latest and greatest product announcements
Yesterday was a busy day for Apple fans and we're rounding up reactions from all of iMore's contributors to see how they feel about the iPad mini, the 4th.-generation iPad, and other new products announced yesterday. We've also tapped some of our buddies from Android Central to see how they feel about the new Apple stuff, especially with the Nexus 7 figuring prominently in the keynote.
Overall I wasn't overly impressed with the iOS device announcements. The iPad mini didn't create any desire within to make me want to pre-order it and the iPad 4th generation kinda annoyed me. Out of all things announced, I'm more excited for the new iMac than anything. Let's not confuse my comments with how I think Apple will do with the new products though. It's still very much an iPad market vs. a tablet market and Apple will sell boat loads of them but the excitement for me personally just wasn't there this time around nor did Apple use the now famous distortion field to create it. Maybe Rene was right, I'm getting old.
I think the iPad mini was everything that was expected, small, beautiful and fully functional. I was all set to buy one before the event but now I am not so sure. I can't decide how small it is without physically holding one so I am going to hold off and see it in the flesh. If I do decide to go with it, I will want one with cellular services so I can't order yet anyway.
The biggest surprise for me was the 4th generation iPad release, this was only a minor update but a processor and graphics bump as well as a better camera are not to be sniffed at. Seems a strange move by Apple to refresh it in this way mid cycle; maybe it intends changing the release cycle in the future.
As the owner of a third-generation iPad, you might think that I would be irritated by the introduction of the fourth-generation iPad a mere seven months after the third made its debut. But I’m not. If Apple had stuck to the original release cycle, this is the same iPad that we would have seen in March, just five months earlier. Double the performance is nice, but I have no pressing need for the Lightning connector, and my current iPad has LTE. It seems that Apple wanted to shift the iPad release cycle to the fall, and they chose to debut a new iPad now rather than have users wait eighteen months for it.
I want an iPad mini. I want an iPad that I can comfortably hold in one hand. But I don’t want it yet. I’m waiting on a couple of things. First and foremost, a Retina display. I will not go back to non-Retina iOS devices. Seeing as the iPad mini is essentially an iPad 2 in a smaller frame, I also want to see how much longer the iPad 2 is going to last, and what it, and thus the iPad mini, might miss out on when iOS 7 comes around next year. But despite my reservations about its long-term usefulness, my immediate gut reaction is “I want one.”
As an owner of the new iPad, I'm a little miffed it's already deemed obsolete with the update to the 4th generation. I'm a gadget guy. I like having the latest and greatest. But this upgrade just came so soon. But I'll have to do it, if for nothing else so I can upgrade all of my cables to have the lightning connector. It's really frustrating at the moment to have the iPhone 5 with the lightning connector, but then the iPad with the old style.
As for the iPad mini, it's a nice of piece of kit but at a starting price of $329 it's not that compelling in my opinion. For the average consumer, it makes more sense to spend $71 and go for the iPad 2. Maybe if the iPad mini had a retina display (complications of that aside), it would be more worth it for the price. Though honestly, once you get used to retina on the new iPad, going down to non-Retina feels a bit like taking sandpaper to your eyeballs.
The new iMac is hot. I have the 15" Macbook Pro retina already which I love as my mobile workhorse, but may have to pick up the 27" iMac to have at home. It just looks cool.
I currently own a third generation iPad and really don't have any intention of getting a fourth generation model. Considering mine is typically used as the office point of sale, a reading device, and something to browse the web on or play games casually, it does what I need it to do and then some. While it would be nice to be able to ditch "all" my 30-pin cables, we ordered a bunch of adapters so it isn't a huge deal to disconnect an adapter when needed. After all, I only find myself having to charge my iPad about once a week anyways.
As far as the iPad mini goes, I'm intrigued by it but still unsure whether it's something I'll pick up. I could see it being a nice device to have around the office so I can keep my personal iPad at home and not have to worry about bringing it into the office everyday but other than that, I can't say I have much use for it.
To be honest, the real news of the announcement for me was the new iMac line. I'll be ordering a 27" in December and couldn't be more excited about that. The iPads, I can wait until the next go around to upgrade I think.
It is meaningless, unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of the present size. Apple's done extensive user-testing on touch interfaces over many years, and we really understand this stuff. There are clear limits of how close you can physically place elements on a touch screen before users cannot reliably tap, flick or pinch them. This is one of the key reasons we think the 10-inch screen size is the minimum size required to create great tablet apps.
iPad 4... Hmm, felt a little like Apple was throwing specs out there as a worthy upgrade. Didn't feel very 'Apple.' Felt more like an excuse to throw the new dock connector on there.
iPad Mini - the worst kept secret yet the least exciting product I've ever seen Apple release. I LOVE 7-inch tablets, I have a Nexus 7 and a BlackBerry PlayBook, but nothing about the iPad Mini excites me. Especially not the price.
However, the Mac stuff was impressive. If I hadn't just bought a Mini and a MacBook Air in the last 12 months I'd be all over it. Thin doesn't equal good to me, but the new iMac looks incredible.
I was very surprised at the extent Apple went to attack the Nexus 7 during their iPad Mini announcement. I believe this is one of the first times that we’ve seen such a pointed comparison at an event rather than slight references. But onto the actual device, I’m not overly impressed. Less resolution than the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD and a dual-core processor vs. quad-core for the 7 for much more money ($349 vs. $199 base price). Die hard iOS folks will likely want the device, but I think Google’s got a real chance next week to turn heads if they continue to drive down their price while maintaining the quality of the Nexus 7.
The only thing I really cared about from the whole announcement was the iPad mini, and two things struck me about it. For one, the 7.9-inch screen is a relatively unexplored size, but its difference from the established 7-inch norm feels completely arbitrary. The 7-inch tablet scene is getting pretty crowded, so I could see why Apple would want to stay differentiated. If they're going to go on inventing their own product subcategory though, Apple can't put the iPad mini in a side-by-side comparison with the Nexus 7, which is effectively punching at a different weight class.
The other thing that slightly irks me is the $329 pricetag. That amount seems palatable when compared to the minimum $499 you'd be paying for a 4th-gen iPad or even $399 you'd pay for an iPad 2, but that's going to be a hard sell with cheap Kindle Fire tablets available that will do 80% of what most users want for half the price. Of course Apple has a lot of additional selling points to justify the slightly higher price and I have no doubt that the iPad mini will sell in record numbers, but I don't see it turning the tide against Amazon.
But enough from us, how do you feel about all of the new products? Be sure to let us know what you're buying in our poll, and leave a comment here with what you think the announcements yesterday mean for Apple in the long run.