In the wake of Apple’s most recent event, users are now forced to choose between a host of highly (and not so highly) differentiated tablets. The new iPad Mini is a 7.9″ tablet with offerings from 16GB Wi-Fi to 64GB Wi-Fi + 4G LTE. The iPad 4 was released with a mildly updated processor, the same screen resolution of the iPad 3, and the same options (16/32/64GB and Wi-Fi/Wi-Fi + 4G LTE).
So iPad buyers are now stuck with a host of options. In my experience with tablets, the most useful I’ve found is in the 7″ tablet. They are handheld, great for games, easily stored and can provide an e-reader experience along with tablet applications. I have found 10″ tablets to be lost in the middle ground. With the proper accessories, they can be useful for content creation, yet most applications are not fully ready for true content creation. Applications such as Google Drive and WordPress make it possible to do a small amount of work, they are shadows of their respective full Web applications. Likewise, there is still not a full MSOffice replacement available on any mobile platform, and it shows. Thus, expecting a tablet (iOS or Android) to replace your PC is expecting too much, and you will be disappointed.
That said, for most people I’d suggest the iPad Mini, in the size of your choice. The 16GB will be enough for most, some games, some music, maybe even a few TV shows. You’ll find it perfect for the couch, and reading any content. Most can fit into a suit pocket, or a purse. These tablets work well with Bluetooth accessories or are reasonably easy to type on in portrait mode. As well, the proper stylus and application can lend itself to note taking in any environment.
However, in comparison to the regular size iPads, the Mini is lacking in some respects. The resolution is half that of the new iPads, and the chip set is the same one from the iPad 2. this can lead to problems for iPad Mini adopters – as the product life might not be much longer than one year. Sure, it will work well now, but for how long? The iPad Mini 2 will most likely bring the Retina display and a far more future friendly chip set. The chipset is not necessary for the current resolution as it is not even HD.
It is unlikely the iPad 3 will continue to be sold for too long (until current supplies are exhausted) and Apple will still sell iPad 2s. The decision comes down to the iPad 4 vs the iPad Mini, and unless you’re a big photo person, I don’t see the value of the more expensive tablet. It’s not as flexible nor as functional as the larger tab, and less of a financial investment. So if you’re looking for a new iPad, I’d recommend the Mini.