Apple’s smaller iPad, the iPad mini, made a lot of news headlines yesterday. Most of the media focused on the new hardware, but it’s the apps that really matter. Here are a few things iPad mini users can expect when it comes to apps.
* iPad mini apps won’t need to be updated. The iPad mini has a smaller screen than the iPad 2 or current-generation iPad, but developers won’t have to downscale their apps. That’s because the iPad mini has the same pixel resolution as the iPad 1 and 2. Even so, smaller in-app buttons might make tapping them more difficult.
* Gamers should be happy. Compared to the bigger iPads, the iPad mini is lighter and thinner and you can hold it in one hand. Translation: The mini should be a killer tablet for game apps. However, keep in mind the iPad mini uses Apple’s A5 processor, and the new fourth-generation iPad has the faster Apple A6X chip.
* E-book fans should be ecstatic, thanks to the iPad mini’s smaller size and easy-to-hold design (compared to bigger iPads). iPad mini users get a bigger screen than the ones on an Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble dedicated e-reader, too. Apple’s bookstore works with the iPad mini, and you can also download and read Kindle, Barnes & Noble and Google e-books on the device.
* Productivity won’t be a selling point. Let’s face it, the bigger iPads are only marginally viable as laptop replacements, because tablet apps simply aren’t as full-featured as their desktop software equivalents. (See my earlier post on this topic, “Why I’m Resisting the Post-PC Revolution.”) Throw in a smaller screen, and the iPad mini is even less attractive as a laptop alternative.
If you’re hot to buy an iPad mini, here are a couple of other things to keep in mind.
* Get a model with as much storage as you can afford, especially if you’re a gamer. The file sizes of iOS apps continue to grow, and they increased by 16 percent on average between March and September 2012, according to ABI Research. While the average iOS app across all categories was 23 MB in September, the average game was 60 MB in size—an increase of 42 percent over the same six-month period.
* If you plan to sell your big iPad, give Amazon a try. Selling used electronics is so much easier on Amazon than on eBay, in my experience. And you’ll get a better price for your used iPad on Amazon than you would sending it to Gazelle.com or other sites that buy used electronics. For example, a third-generation 32 GB, Wi-Fi-only iPad could fetch about $430 on Amazon, compared to Gazelle’s $300 offer.