Lately I've been finding myself spending late nights thoroughly reviewing different tablets in the market rather than smartphones, mostly because I'm in the market for a new tablet due to the fact that my Kindle Fire HD has become more of a $200 Kindle FreeTime machine for my toddler and less of a do-it-all e-reader for myself. It's nice to see that my toddler has fun with it, and it is a very nice tablet for anyone in the market who is looking for a tablet that serves primarily as an e-reader and not used for other things like e-mail and note taking. That being said, it's time for me to move on to another tablet, and for some reason I keep coming back to the iPad Mini.
When I first started looking for a smaller tablet, the iPad Mini was at the top of the list. I was coming from a first generation iPad, which was too big and uncomfortable for me to hold, and it seemed that the perfect solution for a replacement would be the iPad Mini. However, as any good shopper should do, I did some comparison shopping beforehand and found that I could find similar tablets with higher specs for much better deals. Now that I’m back on the market after finding that the Kindle Fire is a great device, but not the device for me, I’m reminded of why I decided not to choose the iPad Mini in the first place.
What caused me to reconsider the iPad Mini was finding out that some stores, like Best Buy and Wal-Mart, are having sales on some iPad models like the Mini and the 3rd generation iPad (a.k.a. "The New iPad", which was a silly name in the first place unless you knew you were never going to produce another iPad again - which was not the case.) The 3rd generation iPad is on sale for $449.99 ($50 less than retail value) and the Mini is on sale for $299.99 ($30 less than retail value). While not a fantastic sale, a sale is a sale when it comes to Apple products and as we know that's just not something you come by every day - and that generally leads us to come to other conclusions. Something is up, and it might just mean new iPads are on the way.
I both love and hate the speculation game, because I hate setting myself up for failure but I can't help but conjure up all of the things I would like to see in next generation mobile products. The game is no different when it comes to the iPad Mini, and going over the specs I decided to make some changes for what I'd like to see in a second generation baby iPad.
I've heard there were a lot of reasons why Retina display was left out of the original iPad Mini, but it also played into a main factor of why I didn't want to buy it. I’m willing to admit that having Retina display has spoiled me, for when I had my first generation iPad the pixels were clear as day. If I had a dollar for every pixel I could count on that screen, I would have 4 dollars. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but for whatever reason bouncing from Retina display to LCD was irritating and surprisingly noticeable. Even though Retina display no longer sets the highest bar in the industry, I'm still quite pleased with it and would like to think that it could help boost sales in an iPad Mini 2.
8-megapixel Rear-Facing Camera
One of the coolest things about the iPad Mini is that it featured a rear-facing camera - a good rear-facing camera. Rear-facing cameras on a tablet might seem silly, but to me it's there to be used as a sort of an emergency feature - it's there if you need it. It's kind of like having a phone on your tablet (okay, that one is still a little funny to me but I do see the benefit in it). Either way, I would like it if Apple would build on this feature and include an 8-megapixel camera in an iPad Mini 2 to top off the 5-megapixel camera the iPad Mini currently sports.
Trading "light and thin" for a little bulk
It seemed that light and thin was the idea behind the original iPad Mini, and while I suppose in many ways it is convenient I honestly wouldn't mind if Apple sacrificed the "light and thin" aspect in exchange for the device to have better specs. If a light and thin device is what was preventing the iPad Mini from having a Retina display or a faster processor, I'd deal with the bulk for the sake of the specs in a heartbeat. You could also probably fit a longer lasting battery in there as well.
Since I'm not sure where the standard will be whenever an iPad Mini 2 may hit the market, all I ask is that it runs comparable benchmarks to competitive devices. The iPad Mini had a Geekbench score of 745, while the much cheaper Nexus 7 rips the Mini apart with a 1481. Can we say ouch? Yes we can. Ouch. The iPad Mini was stated to be a competitive product against other small tablets like the Nexus 7, but when you model your Mini after a device that came out nearly two years before (the iPad 2) you can’t hope to keep the specs comparable with minimal changes.
Yeah, I think that about covers it without being too unrealistic. I don’t want to jump too far ahead and assume that the next version of iOS is going to be anything breathtaking as it seems Apple has become the designated dream-crusher in our industry by planning to "simplify" and "flatten" iOS, whatever that's supposed to mean.
Apple wants to price its products with a high price tag; that's fine, I can respect that. However, if you're going to play that game then I'm going to need you to step it up with the specs. Give me something I can write home about. When I give you that much money, I don't want to hide my new shiny gadget from the judging eyes of the general public or defend why I felt compelled to spend $330 on a device based on last year's specs when I could just as easily get something that works better and costs less.
I want to love you Apple; let me love you. If you can't give me a better OS, at least meet me halfway and try a little harder on the next iPad Mini. Please?