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The wait is over: Apple launches its much anticipated iPad mini

Even before Apple sent out its vague and short-of-information invitation for today’s press event, speculation had been growing about the imminent launch of an iPad “mini”. At today’s event, Apple satisfied the media and its consumers by confirming that it would indeed be coming out with a 7.9-inch version of its popular iPad, called iPad mini.                      

Starting at $329, Apple boasted that the 7.2 millimeter thin iPad mini is “every inch an iPad”. “As thin as a pencil” and “as light as a pad of paper”—weighing only 0.68 pounds—it will be available in black and white versions. Like the previous iPads, it will have a 10-hour battery life. The iPad mini is available for pre-order starting Friday, October 26.

Despite Steve Jobs’ vehement assertion that 7-inch tablets were “dead on arrival”, he suggested prior to his death that he might be receptive to smaller-sized tablets. And it’s a good thing that Apple switched its position. As we reported earlier in the month, Apple’s share of the US tablet market substantially decreased from 81 percent in 2011 to 52 percent in 2012. Smaller and cheaper models such as the Kindle Fire have been eroding Apple’s dominance, and with Google and Microsoft entering the playing field, competition is getting stiffer.

Those of us in media are well aware that mobile is the future, and in this increasingly mobile future, tablets and smartphones will become essential for media companies, consumers and brands alike. Consumers are not only turning to their mobile devices more often to stay updated, but they are also consuming more news through their mobile devices. Media companies looking to grow should be creating content that appeals to these mobile users, and brands looking to get their messages heard and their products bought should be advertising to these users.

I was torn about whether or not to buy an iPad, but since I first heard the iPad mini rumors, I’ve been anxiously waiting for it. As an avid reader who spends at least an hour-and-a-half each day navigating through the maze that is the New York City subway, I love the portability and the lightness of my Kindle. It fits very easily into my bag without taking up much space, and has become such an important device that I never leave the house without it. I was initially put off by the size of the iPad because it’s not exactly easy to hold up and read with one hand on a packed train with people pressed against you. The iPad mini resolves these issues.

Stay tuned to this blog for a future update on whether the iPad mini is indeed all that we’ve hoped it would be. Is anyone else purchasing the iPad mini? What makes you consider purchasing the iPad mini over (or in addition to) the iPad? When do you plan to use the iPad mini?