One of our heavy-rotation pieces of technology is the iPad we got two years ago, shortly after they first came out. Robin uses it for therapy with her patients, the kids play games on it, and I find it handy for watching movies in the evening.
With our upcoming trip to Germany, we figured that we should get a second iPad. The kids fight over our current one at home enough as it is, and a transatlantic flight basically requires two of these wonderful attention-absorbing devices so we don’t have battles over whether to watch Iron Man or My Little Pony at 30,000 feet. So Robin went out and got a new iPad mini the other day.
I will admit to skepticism when they revealed the iPad mini. We already have iPhones and the larger iPad, and the mini didn’t really sound like it would fit a niche in our household. But now that I’ve had a chance to play with it for a few days, I find that I enjoy it more than the bigger model. There’s a CNet review of it that says the mini is “shockingly nice to hold”, and that pretty much nails it. It’s the size of a Kindle Fire, but much thinner, and the texture and the tapered edges are—in typical Apple/Jony Ive fashion—just right in the hand. Technologically, it doesn’t have much that our old iPad lacks, aside from the rather nice built-in cameras, but the form factor is ever so much easier to use when you use the thing as an ebook reader or movie player or a handheld video console for kids.
We got the 64GB WiFi version (our Verizon iPhones can function as hotspots for the iPads if we need that capability on the road), and overall I like it much more than I expected. Hand it to Apple—they know how to make some slick gadgets.