PHOENIX - It's called the Apple iPad Mini and that is exactly what it is. If you ever thought to yourself, "the iPad is great but I'd love to shrink this thing down a bit." Your wish has been granted.
It's slim, sleek and exactly what we have come to expect from Apple. The back of the iPad mini is aluminum, the front is glass. Buttons and ports are all placed in the same spot as the big brother version of the iPad. There is a 5 Megapixel camera on the back and a 1.2 Megapixel camera on the front. There is no flash but the camera does take decent photos and 720p videos. Don't plan on snapping any stills if the lighting is bad. Apple also doesn't allow panorama or HDR photos on the iPad mini. I'm not sure why this feature is disabled on the iPad mini. It's too bad but luckily there are plenty of 3rd party apps to do the same.
The 7.9" iPad mini screen looks fantastic. The resolution isn't quite as high as the new iPad (3rd version). It's the same resolution as the iPad 2, 1024x768. That's perfect for compatibility and also looks even better on the mini since you're cramming the same number of pixels into a smaller space. The iPad mini has 163ppi (pixels per inch).
New dock connector
The other major difference is the new port on the bottom, the Apple lightning connector. It has angered some Apple users because now you'll need an adapter for existing chargers, docks and any of the other gazillion iOS accessories. Nonetheless, it HAD to be done. The new, smaller connector makes sense and works well. I love that there is no "wrong way" to plug the cable in. You can flip the plug and it still works just the same. I would have loved if Apple used micro-USB like every other company in the world. At least they opted for their own plug and actually made it better than micro-USB.
On the software side of things there is nothing new, it's iOS6 at its best. The dual-core A5 processor keeps things zipping right along. The iPad mini feels as fast as the other iPads in my casual testing. Sure, it lacks the same A6x power as the "new" iPad but I'm not sure it's necessary. The lower resolution screen doesn't require as much power to keep things humming.
The iPad mini is an iPad inside and out. It's a smaller version of the most popular tablet computer in the world. It's size is nearly perfect and the screen is gorgeous. I love the size. For me, it's the best iPad yet! For many, it's the iPad that so many of us wanted from the day the original iPad launched.
The question is; is a 16GB 7.9" iPad mini worth the $329 price tag? A full-size 16GB iPad 2 is only $70 more . Personally, I think the price tag is a bit steep. Even $299 would have been easier to swallow. You can't question that Apple can and does expect a "premium" on its products. The 7.9" screen compared to other 7" tablets makes it hard to compare them side by side. With that said, I still feel that $329 is bit too high. In the end, consumers will decide. My guess is people will be willing to pay the premium for Apple quality in a smaller package.
The Apple iPad mini is available right now in stores and on Apple.com . Pricing starts at $329. The most expensive model is a 64GB model with cellular connectivity. It sells for $659.
What do you think about the iPad mini? Is it the iPad you've been waiting for or too expensive? Find me on Twitter and Facebook .