Divergence

February 3, 2013

When I picked up my iPad mini, my personal reasoning was that it would be the travel iPad and my 3rd gen iPad would effectively act as a desktop computer for me. Honestly, the idea was that I’d be able to shave even more weight off of me when I’m away from home.

Whether fortunately or unfortunately, or both, my iPad mini hasn’t ended my 3rd gen iPad’s presence outside of my home. I now travel with both, so the initial goal was to shave off weight failed miserably as now my bag is heavier. 3rd gen iPad, iPad mini, and chargers for my two iPads and iPhone. It’s kind of mental.

The more I use both iPads, the more they diverge in use cases, and the more it’s beneficial to carry around both.

Apple advertises the iPad mini as just like a full-sized iPad, only smaller, which I’m beginning to think that that’s deceptive. The two devices are incredibly different in usage and complement each other to create a near-perfect computing setup. Some examples:

The large iPad has a full-sized keyboard which is easy to type on. The iPad mini’s keyboard is too small for long form typing and that alone eliminates it as the traditional computer replacement that the large iPad is.

On the other hand, the large iPad is too big and heavy for leisurely “consumption” of information. Whereas one can hold an iPad mini in a single hand for hours and scroll or flip through pages with the other, the large iPad commands two hands or a surface to support for long periods.

Returning to productivity, the iPad mini is too small to effectively create big Keynote presentations, where the large canvas on the big iPad is perfect for manipulating objects. The exact same thing applies to spreadsheets, music creation, and drawing.

If we turn to gaming, we also return to the fact that the large iPad is kind of relegated to tables or other surfaces. It’s fine at tabletop games like Monopoly, but one of my favorites, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy? The large iPad’s size makes it less fun. The iPad mini’s handheld-ability transforms the game into something super fun.

In my line of hobby — writing — the iPad mini’s casual browsing chops makes finding news and inspiration a breeze. It outright speeds me up and frees up a bit of my time in each day. The large iPad alone caused me to be slower, and if I used the iPad mini alone I’d be an even slower blogger than that.

But that’s just me. However if one assumes that the majority of people don’t do more than web browsing, email, office productivity stuff, and some games on the side, a large iPad and iPad mini is effectively the perfect computing setup. In the future when iPads get more horsepower and a Wacom digitizer built in, and more size options, two iPads combined will make the perfect computing setup for nearly everybody.

What I’m most curious about is if Apple actually believes that the large iPad and iPad mini truly are “two of a kind”. Either Apple has its own ideas or it’s intentionally making the iPad mini seem like something it isn’t, which in my experience is a mistake.

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