First, 100 million iPads sold to date. 100 MILLION! In two and a half years. That's absolutely stunning, and phenomenal, and way beyond my wildest expectations. I think it also speaks to a far greater degree of PC cannibalization than even I'd expected. I know the previously installed tablet base was essentially zero, but it certainly shows that an awful lot of people realize that an iPad can do 9x% of what they need, 9x% of the time, and often times way better than can a laptop.
Second, the price of the Mini. I'd hoped for $249, guessed $299 based on recent rumblings and the existing iPod Touch price point, and it came in at a starting price of $329. Hmm.
I think Apple missed an opportunity at the $249 level which probably could've been attained via the inclusion of an 8GB model. I know that's not much storage, but with the iCloud push they could've gotten away with it I think. And it would've been that much closer to impulse purchase price levels. I know everyone defines that differently – for me it would be more like $199, which I could see stretching to $249 based on faith in Apple. As it stands, $329 is not an impulse purchase for me and so I've not preordered one. I can imagine changing that stance once I hold one in my hands.
Weight and size. I'm extremely and pleasantly surprised by the weight. .68 pounds is definitely lighter than I expected given the overall size. I can't wait (ha) to feel one in hand. And to get a sense for the physical dimensions I cut out a cardboard mockup and you know what? I really can lay it in one hand and get my thumb and ring finger to grasp it. I have large hands however, and of course the proof will be in the pudding. But from the spec sheet, it looks like Apple got this right.
Screen. This is a 'meh' for me, which is to say I'm not not getting one because it isn't a retina screen. I think iPad 2 resolution shrunken down will work fine for most. That said, when the mini inevitably gets a retina screen it could conceivably push me over the edge to purchase one.
Am I getting one? Not straight away, no. It's a touch pricier than I'd prefer. And then there's the whole existential crisis thing for an iPad Alone guy like me. Would a mini make me an iPad + iPad Mini Alone guy? Do I excuse the Mini by being nonetheless an iPad, and so technically qualified to exist in my bag of tricks?
One of the main reasons I went all iPad in the first place was the enormous size and weight advantage the iPad held over laptops. The mini further extends that advantage, but combine it in a bag with a regular iPad and all of a sudden I'm hauling as much weight around as an 11″ Air. That doesn't sound so good. Which then means I have to decide which iPad I want to take with me on a given journey. Possible I suppose. For me it would come down to typing. I'm super fast in landscape on the iPad. Can't imagine taking the mini if I anticipated any reasonable amount of typing. Reading? Mini. Typing? iPad. Still, I'm not sure I'd like having to choose. So for the moment I sit this out (easy prediction: a future post wherein I explain why I finally got a mini).
The iPad “4” As you've no doubt seen, Apple also replaced the new iPad with an even newer new iPad. Improved guts, lightning connector, faster charger. Certainly nice, and something to make me jealous. But not enough to make me upgrade from my now-old new iPad. An incremental change without a killer new feature (for the original new iPad that killer feature was the retina screen). So I sit this one out. But new buyers will undoubtedly be thrilled.
I do wonder if Apple has now moved and synchronized iOS device update time frames to the Fall. That would make the Spring awfully boring however, something I can't imagine Apple doing, especially as they also just updated just about every Mac model under the sun. So what's left for Spring? Mild refreshes? An iPhone 5S and a really new iPad? We shall see.