The Dent

"We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?" - Steve Jobs

Finding a Niche For The iPad Mini

I picked up the 12.9” iPad Pro 3rd generation in November 2018 and haven’t looked back. The iPad, in one form or another, has been my main computer since getting an iPad Air 2 back in 2014 and I’ve worked my way through various shapes and sizes.

Up until recently, my iPhone had covered everything I need to do, in a day to day computing sense, that my trusty iPad Pro wasn’t suitable for such as reading or browsing in bed, or on commutes and lunch breaks etc. I thought going back to a 12.9” device, after downsizing to a 10.5” for the 2nd generation (from the original 12.9” iPad Pro) was going to be too much of a stretch and that I’d be bound to my desk when using the device. Thankfully, I was very wrong and the 12.9” fits my life perfectly.

I was content, and then it happened. Apple resurrected the iPad Mini in March 2019 and, while initially dismissing it, an unexpected bonus left me with a little spare cash so I went for it …

Seeing as this post is being written over a month after its release, this isn’t a review of the device. That’s been well covered by now. All I will say is the hardware itself does feel extremely dated after using the new design of the current generation of iPad Pros. The new Mini has bezels for miles and the screen, which lacks Pro Motion, among other things, is also looking very long in the tooth. That being said, however, I’ve found myself really liking the new iPad mini. That’s not something I thought I’d be saying in 2019.

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It turns out that the smallest iPad fits amazingly well into my particular use case alongside the largest iPad. It’s the perfect Robin to the Pro’s Batman.

Finding its niche

Now, for the majority of the time I need an iPad, I’ll be using the iPad Pro. This device, which I’m using right now to write this post, is still my favourite bit of Apple hardware I’ve ever owned. It brings me great joy to use, regardless of what I’m doing on it, being personal or professional uses.

I have, however, started finding a few areas where the iPad Mini, despite its many shortcomings,really does still shine above its bigger brother.

On a few occasions I tried to use my 12.9” iPad Pro to read books and comics in bed. I have a weird problem that, even when I’m not tired to start with, as soon as I start to read I get ridiculously tired. This condition paired with an iPad that’s bigger and heavier than some light aircraft, hovering above my soon to be sleeping face, is a recipe for disaster. I’ve drifted off in the past and it felt like I’d just been sat on by Godzilla. The iPad Mini, on the other hand, is barely noticeable when it slaps me across the face …

In seriousness, the iPad Mini is, and always has been, a fantastic reading device. The few comics I read still, generally, work better on the larger screen, but Apple Books looks great on the smaller device and it really does feel like carrying a small and light book around with me. I very rarely now read anything on the bigger model.

The Mini is also great for some YouTube / Apple TV (TV and films I’ve purchased) viewing whilst in bed as well. I really do occasionally do things not related to me being in bed, I promise.

I’ve found myself taking the Mini to work a fair bit as well, not to do any work on it, but to use during lunch break walks, or lunch itself, to again watch some films or read a book. It really does fit a niche as a great little media consumption device.

Another use I’ve found for it is to help keep my little one entertained in certain situations. I still have my now ageing iPad Air 2, which has been my daughters iPad for a little while. She’s still young, so I don’t let her (and she doesn’t want to) use it very often, but it was used for long car journeys and the like. Even though the Air 2 is still fairly light, and runs really well, the Mini is, unsurprisingly, much better for small hands. It’s been loaded up with a few emergency games and films, ready to roll at a moments notice. With a 4 year old prone to sulky moments, this can be worth the price of admission alone.

So, all in all, the Mini hasn’t set my world on fire, and it likely wont yours, but it has proven to be the perfect companion device for this particular iPad lover. I really hate the term ‘multi-pad lifestyle’, but it’s late and I can’t be bothered to think of something less cringeworthy, so I’m going to have to go with that when I say, thanks to the Mini, I’m now living my best multi-pad life …

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