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The iPad Mini’s Meaning and Impact

by Joe Murphy Librarian on November 8th, 2012

iPad Mini brings the power of the iPad into more spaces, further expanding the Apple iOS ecosystem.  Apple also unveiled a 4th generation full size iPad.

Big Impact from the iPad Mini:

The most impactful detail is that the iPad Mini can be held in one hand and has a greater ease of carrying. This change in size alone impacts how we engage and where we consume. Its smaller imprint on our lives may expand the times and places that users have their tablets with them and feel comfortable reading on them. As with the larger story of mobile engagement, tablets are not just about portability for using on the move, but also for content engagement where we choose; in bed, on the couch as second screen etc.

The iPad Mini specifically brings Apple’s mobile iOS and its content, resources, and platforms (think of the apps ecosystem) into more corners of more of our lives.

That it beats the iPad 2 in specs and reviews means we’ll see a swarm of users who will leapfrog to this new device.

For Libraries:

With this smaller device, the reach of the Apple iOS and resources through it expands to more of our patrons (those preferring the smaller device size and smoother integration into their lives) and into more of their spaces. So be prepared for more iOS mobile engagement with your content and services.

For librarians’ use: the Mini may be better suited for mobile library staff: easier use with Square and mobile payments, more portable for roving reference, for checking out tablets to users.

Competition and the Tablet Field:

The iPad Mini competes for single handed use in a space that has up till now been dominated by the diminutive tablets from Amazon and Google (an interesting point in the battling balance betweenAndroid and iOS). iPad Mini does not compete with consumers who prioritize the lower price points. It also competes, and in some ways over shadows Microsoft’s new Surface tablet. This may mean our enterprises (libraries) may pay less attention to Microsoft’s attempt to enter the mobile sphere.

In the trends context – This is a unique turn for Apple which responded to tech trend pressure instead of creating it.


  • 7.9 inch screen (compared to the iPad’s ~10 inch screen)
  • It’s 50% thinner and 53% lighter than the full size iPads, and “lighter than a pad of paper” (less than 7/10ths of a pound). “So light that your hand has basically no real sensation of weight, just of presence” John Koetsier.
  • About same height as tablets from Amazon, Barnes And Noble, and Google. However, the iPad mini screen is a third larger than competitors’ tablets (Kindle Fire and Nexus 7) of equal device size.
  • LTE connectivity for an additional $130
  • Same pixel count and processor as the iPad 2
  • Uses Apple’s new Lighting connector
  • Front facing camera (think more FaceTime = more communication). 5-megapixel camera on back.

Bottom Line:

Full power of the iPad in a slightly more form fitting size brings the Apple mobile ecosystem, and all the content and behaviors that come with it, to more of our patrons and into more aspects of their lives.

New Full Size iPad:

The new full size iPad has improved speed (twice as fast as previous iPad), boasts LTE cellular data, faster wifi, and will sell at similar pricing points as previous iPads. The iPad 4 features an A6x chip that doubles its speed and graphics performance, has a 10-hour battery life, FaceTime HD and the new Lightning connector.

- Joe Murphy

From → technology

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