Apple’s Mini: Worth It?

iPad MiniWhile the standard iPad series has been hugely popular with over 100 million sold in the last two and a half years, its price point (currently starting at $499) has opened the door for competitors like the Kindle Fire ($159) and Google’s Nexus 7 ($249) to capture market share.

This could be the biggest impetus for yesterday’s announcement of the new iPad Mini. The Mini, which will start at $329 when it becomes available for pre-sale tomorrow, has a thin line to walk, capturing the major features that have made the iPad popular, without creating something that is so close that the standard iPad is no longer attractive.

Apple’s attempt to differentiate the two comes in a few key areas:

  • Size. The Mini’s screen stands 7.9 inches high in comparison to iPad’s 9.5 inches. This is of course the most obvious difference with the new Mini. The scaled-down Mini also weighs less than half of a standard iPad.
  • Display. Mini’s screen is a slight improvement over iPad 2, with a slight increase in pixels per inch (ppi). What still makes iPad a standout though is the Retina display, which is not available on the Mini. Retina packs in four times as many pixels for high res display.
  • Processor. Again, the upgrade to the A6X chip that marked the most recent iPad is skipped in the Mini. This means that the iPad will remain both more visually stunning and significantly faster than the Mini.

From there, much between the Mini, including FaceTime HD, WiFi and cellular support, Lightning connector, Siri and more will be the same as the latest iPad model. For a full comparison, visit Apple’s site here.

So Which Should You Buy?

If you’re wondering whether the new iPad Mini is a worthwhile buy, the verdict may be out until after release. Still, if you’re looking to use an iDevice for business, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Mini will likely deliver solid performance for general everyday use. Need to check your email on the go? Want to store photos, ebooks, music and more? Mini’s got what you need.
  • If you want to use your iPad as a sales tool, as through a custom iPad app, the Retina display on the iPad is the clear winner in customer experience. The larger screen is better for readability and the crisp display is great for showing off products or your portfolio.

The iPad Mini marks an interesting shift for Apple towards more competitively priced devices. If you’ve been considering a tablet, the Mini’s lower price may be just what you needed to take the leap.

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