iPad mini: A roundup of the reviews
SINCE it’s launch last week, the iPad mini has been met with a mixed response, with some users praising the tablet’s lightness whilst others are bemoaning the non-retina display. Here, we take a look at some of the reviews and what people are saying about Apple’s latest product.
It’s lighter, and it’s thinner and above all, it’s smaller. But the iPad mini isn’t just a scaled-down iPad. Whilst not the fastest - or cheapest - tablet on the market, in terms of available appplications, the iPad Mini is streets ahead of its contemporaries.
Without a product to rival the Kindle Fire or the Google Nexus - a decision which was said to be down to Steve Jobs’ refusal to develop something that he saw as pointless - Apple was missing out on a slice of the market, as sales of Kindles and Nexus tablets increased.
The release of the iPad mini was met with a curious interest; Apple had been stung by criticism of its less-than-perfect Maps app (especially damaging given Jobs’ reputation as a perfectionist) and the battery life on the iPhone 5 was rumoured to be worse than that of its predecessor, the 4S. Not only that, this would be the first release of a brand new product since the death of Jobs in 2011.
Media outlets reported huge queues for the iPhone 5, released just a few weeks prior to the iPad mini, with stories of people camping outside Apple stores for days before the official release. Would it be the same story for the iPad mini?
Leaked reports and clever guessing from industry experts revealed a lot of the iPad mini’s specs well before the launch, with alleged pictures suggesting a 7.9 inch screen and insiders hinting that the tablet would not have a retina screen.
Come the day of the release, they were proven right, but those predicting a lukewarm reaction were also right. Scenes in the UK failed to rival the reception afforded to the iPhone 5, with critics predicting a surge in sales in the lead up to Christmas.
The response worldwide varied, with lengthy queues reported in Tokyo and huge numbers of pre-orders made in the U.S.
So what did the major gadget firms and media make of Apple’s new toy?
The good, the bad and the indifferent
Apple was praised by All Things Digital and The New York Times, which commended the company on pulling off ‘an impressive feat in shrinking the iconic iPad’ and described the tablet as a ‘far classier, more attractive, thinner machine’ respectively.
Engadget went a step further, calling it ‘Apple’s best tablet yet’ whilst The Telegraph described the iPad as being ‘still some way ahead’ in terms of tablet-specific apps.
However, CNET pointed out the ‘premium price’, advising that ‘good alternatives are available for less money’ unless users want the ‘full, polished Apple tablet experience in a smaller package’ whilst TechCrunch bemoaned the lack of a retina display, commenting that the difference in quality ‘goes away over time as you use the iPad mini non-stop’ but that the effect is ‘jarring’ if you switch back to a retina screen.
Fox News praised the possibility of being able to use the mini ‘with one hand’, suggesting that users would be able to read books and articles ‘whilst holding a pole on the bus or subway’ whilst USA Today was also taken with the tablet’s compact size.
Lastly, The Guardian and The Loop focused on the lack of a retina screen, whilst The Verge surmised: “The iPad mini hasn’t wrapped up the ‘cheapest tablet’ market by any stretch of the imagination. But the ‘best small tablet’ market? Consider it captured.’
Time will tell if the iPad mini will prove to be a hit. The lead-up to Christmas could make all the difference, and whilst sales haven’t been disappointing, we suspect that - non-retina screen aside - the iPad mini is a slow-burner and could soon be challenging the Nexus and Kindle Fire in the ‘small tablet’ market.
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