During Apple’s announcement on Tuesday that it was releasing the iPad Mini, a 7.9-inch version of its popular iPad tablet, the media industry was abuzz. What could be better than another device on which consumers can read and watch content? Now that a few days have passed, we reached out to Lean Back 2.0 contributors to get their insights on the petite tablet. Will the iPad Mini save the publishing industry—or is it just hype?
The iPad Mini enters a space that has already been pioneered by devices like the Google Nexus 7 and Samsung Galaxy Tab. Demand for smaller tablets is proven and the emergence of this market isn’t surprising. In a world of mass tablet usage, a variety of viable formats will emerge.
The lesson is that the consumer is calling the shots. Whether tech giants or publishers, all players must respond by adapting their products to consumer preferences. The FT’s multi-channel subscription model is designed to accommodate the changing needs of our readers, with a single log-in and password giving access to FT journalism on many devices. The iPad Mini will immediately be incorporated into that model via a scaled version of the award-winning FT web app.
iPad Mini. I yawn.
What does the iPad Mini mean for magazines? Great things, actually. The iPad Mini has a screen resolution of 1024×768, which matches the original iPad (the pixel density is greater, which lets the screen be physically smaller). This is a clear sign from Apple that they want developers and content creators to relax and feel safe in the fact that the 275,000 apps that were created for the original iPad will run with zero updates needed on the iPad Mini. This means that all of the magazine apps and straight from print magazines that were created for the larger iPad run right out of the box. This is a huge win for the digital publishing market, and really does contrast quite a bit with the variance in sizing for Android. Kindle tablets are a bit easier with three sizes and resolutions to manage, and the jury’s still out on Surface until it really hits the market.
To me, the launch of the iPad Mini has less to do with the particular brilliance or appropriateness of the 7.9-inch form factor, and everything to do with Apple’s competitive strategy versus Kindle, Nook and and the range of Android offerings. Since most days I carry both an iPhone and full-size iPad, I would only want an in-between model if I could stop carrying both current devices in favor of the iMini. However, if I owned an iPhone 5 and I was considering the purchase of a Kindle Fire vs the new expensive iPad, having a competitive mid-range product could ensure that Team Apple continues to dominate.
It’s from Apple right? So it’s probably AMAZING and REVOLUTIONARY and THIN, and also the maps likely suck.
Photo from John Bradley for Wired, courtesy of a Creative Commons license.