Compromise, iPad mini and MacBook Air

Fraser Speirs just wrote up some thoughts about his iPad mini. A section in his article stood out to me: where he discusses the inherent compromises in a first generation product: something I have been thinking about recently.

The iPad mini reminds me of my first MacBook Air. When the Air first shipped it was a Mac with some serious technical compromises with a design and form factor so compelling that you would re-arrange your entire digital life to make it work. The iPad mini reminds me of that except that it only has one serious compromise: the non-retina display. In every other respect, it's a full-bore iPad.

The MacBook Air is the most popular Mac. Does that mean the iPad mini will be the most popular iPad?

The iPad mini is for Everyone

My buddy Sam has owned an iPad mini for a few days now — and, like many others, is surprised at just how well it fits into her life:

I have said for some time now that games that involve driving, therefore lots of steering, are particularly cumbersome on the full size iPad. The weight not only makes it more difficult to control but your arms feel tired before long. The lightness of the iPad mini means I don’t get aching arms and I’m able to control the tilting action way better.

My iPad is a third generation model: the first with a Retina display. This means I find it relatively heavy and both warmer and more cumbersome than I'd like. Whilst I haven't played with an iPad mini yet, I can see myself preferring its size and weight.

The iPad was launched in early 2010. It's been two and a half years, and now the iPad mini is out.

I feel that in the first two years, the iPad was for geeks and people with a solid amount of disposable income. That's no longer true; the iPad mini is cheaper, lighter, thinner and more importantly still an iPad. The iPad mini is now for everyone.