Why I Will Buy an iPad Mini

[Update: Ordered 32GB Wifi version and it will be here Nov 2nd.]

On Friday I will order an iPad Mini. Here’s why:

I’m an Apple fan. I’ll admit it. I have a little white Apple sticker on my car. I am typing on a MacBook Pro. I have an iPhone 5. My son has an iPod Nano with a watch case. My wife has an iPod Nano (older generation), We have an iPod Touch. I have an iPad 1 (64GB, 3G). I like Apple products. Obviously, we don’t buy everything they make, but we do choose them for many of our electronic desires.

I like the quality of their stuff. There is a reason that Mac computers cost more, and still sell well. There’s a reason that iPads and iPhones sell so well. The interface is great, the quality is great. Their products do what most people want and need. And they do it without complications.

Someone mentioned this to me yesterday, and it is so very true. Apple announces a product, and then delivers it a few weeks later. They don’t talk about prototypes and what they will hopefully deliver, they just deliver. The iPad mini is announced and I will own one the first week of November.

I’m cheap. I like technology, but I am not rich. I can’t buy the latest greatest everything. I still use an iPad 1. I got that device when I worked at a church. They bought it for me. And I got the biggest, baddest version available. When I left, the 3rd gen iPad was already out and they let me take the iPad 1 with me. Which is good because I wasn’t going to be able to upgrade myself. I can’t just drop $600 on a tablet.

In fact, in order to finance the purchase of the iPad Mini, I’m selling the iPad 1 and some other stuff. I’m giving up the screen size, but look at what I’m getting.

The iPad Mini either meets or surpasses the iPad 2’s tech specs. It has cameras, faster processing, runs iOS6 and all my apps. Even Siri. My iPad 1 is discontinued and can’t update to iOS6. I get a lot, and give up a little size. Which I actually like.

I want the form factor and my apps. I own a Nook Tablet. Actually, now I’m selling it. When I first got it I was sure I would be using it all the time. I really liked the smaller size (compared to my iPad) and was just sure it would be my new favorite tablet. And while I did carry it around for a while, I went back to my iPad. I wasn’t a huge fan of the interface. I could read all the same books using my Nook app on the iOS devices. (and read iBooks and Kindle as well) Forget typing on the thing. Not because it’s small, I type on my iPhone all the time. The keyboard just didn’t work very well for me. I had planned to use Evernote on the Nook, but couldn’t get past the keyboard.

I wanted to carry a smaller tablet. I ended up using my iPhone more. I didn’t want to lose my apps. I didn’t want to adjust to a new interface.

So now, the iPad Mini comes out. I won’t buy the 3G version. I have used 3G on my iPad a total of 3 times in the years I’ve owned it. I expected to use it all the time, but I just don’t need it. And because of cost, I won’t get the 64GB version.

I wish the iPad Mini had come in starting at $299. Would have loved $249. But when the specs were as good or better than the iPad 2 which is priced $70 more, I get the price. The $329 price settles in the range of Apple products nicely. New iPod Touch is $299. Larger iPad Mini is $329. iPad 2 is $399.

The only way it could have been in the $200-249 range is if they severely reduced the capability of the device, and made it out of cheaper material. Think about it, if they had released a bulkier, cheaper made 7″ tablet, people would be complaining about how poor the product was. They would rightly be pointing out that this isn’t the brand that Apple has built. People want Apple quality. And now that they have it, some pundits and blogs are complaining about the price tag.

I learned something about shopping a long time ago: If you can’t tell the difference between products, buy the cheaper one. If you can, by the better one.

I have (soon “had”) a cheaper 7″ tablet. I don’t use it. The Apple products are better. So now, I will buy a better small tablet. And I will be making a significant upgrade from my iPad 1. I haven’t been this hyped about a new Apple product since the iPad first came out.


Widen Your Perspective: A Photosynth App Review

The other day I discovered the Photosynth app for iOS. Currently free, and from Microsoft, this handy dandy little photo app makes panoramic pics so simple. You just tap the screen, and move the iPhone/iPod/iPad around. The app take pics automatically, and then stitches them together into a virtual view. Inside the app and on Photosynth.net website, you can explore them in quasi virtual reality. Or you can crop a version and post it to Facebook.

Above is an image I quickly took of a rehearsal for our Easter production. It makes the Worship Center look huge. I find that I get best results when I manually capture the images. Sometimes the app gets confused, and needs a bit of help. You can only upload to Facebook or Photosynth from within the app, but the images are saved to your camera roll. So you can leave the app and post at will.

For free, hard to beat this fun little photo app.

Why I bought an iPhone 4 After the iPad 2 Announcement

The same day that the iPad was announced, i went out and bought an iPhone 4.

I know what you are thinking, “Why would you do that? You know the iPhone 5 is just around the corner. Now you cannot upgrade. What are you thinking?”

I bought an iPhone 4 because of the market for used iPhones.

I, like many, have two phone lines. My line was up for an upgrade, and my wife’s line will be ready in just a few months. She does not care about her phone. When I upgraded I sold my iPhone 3GS for over $300. The 3Gs would drop in value when the iPhone 5 was announced, so I got top dollar by selling now. I cleared about $100 after everything was done. (Yes, I know I will spend more than that in a contract with AT&T, but I would spend that anyway.)

Once my wife’s line is ready to upgrade we can do some wheeling. I will get another basic phone for less than $100 with no contract, so she can get an upgrade, too. Then I will use her hardware discount to upgrade to the iPhone 5. Then sell my iPhone 4. Right now they are going for well over $400 without contract. I estimate they will still be hitting over $350 after the iPhone 5 comes out.

I should clear at least $50, when it’s all done, and both my wife and I will have new phones. If you can brave the world of eBay to sell your iPhones, you can fund your upgrades to the latest hardware.

New iPad Speculation

It’s a rainy MLK day, and I’m home. What better time to speculate on what the next iPad version will be? Last year about this time a lot of people were wondering about the new tablet device Apple was about to unveil. Many thought it would be a real tablet computer running OSX, but a few thought it would be something else. There were plenty of different reactions after the announcement, but it didn’t take long to see that the iPad was going to be a huge success.

Now, a year later, the rest of the computing world is trying to develop the iPad “killer, and more rumors swirl about the next iteration of the iPad. How will it change?

The Outside:
For a while now people have been speculating on the new enclosure. There have been cases and mock ups that show a larger hole for a speaker. That would address one complaint about the current iPad, the speaker is just OK. It’s not bad, just OK. Many say flatter thinner case. Some have said that the bezel may be thinner, but I’m not sold on that. It all depends on the size f the new display and how the rest of the stuff inside has to fit together. Either way, it’s probable that your old iPad case won’t fit the new one.

The Inside:
There will be a higher resolution display for the new iPad. It probably won’t be as dense as the retina display on the iPhone, but several sources are reporting that it should double the current resolution: 2048×1536, 260 DPI. This would likely require a new graphics package that would have a bonus effect; 1080p HD output capability. There will probaby also be a ne version of the A4 chip, which would then filter out to all iOS devices.

I think it’s a safe bet that the new iPad will at least have a front facing camera. The more devices that Apple can add Facetime to, the better for them. I still don’t think a rear camera (like the iPhone or even the lesser one on the iPod Touch) would be used very much. It’s just not the right size device for a rear camera.

iOS 4.3 is rumored to have some very nice touches. The ability to turn your 3G iOS device into a mobile hotspot (depending on carrier implementation, of course) as well as a more open AirPlay function. Third party developers should now be able to take advantage of streaming video via AirPlay. Just in time for the boxee app!

I said last year, and I will continue to say, the key to the iPad’s success is the apps that are developed for it. One year in, the hardware upgrades will be nice, but they still need apps developed to take full advantage of the potential.