I’ve been using the iPad mini, heavily, for over a month now. I also used a Kindle Fire HD for a few weeks and have been using a Nexus 7 for a few weeks now as well.
The Kindle Fire HD, just like last year’s model, left me unmoved and rarely interested in using it. The Nexus 7 is a lot more interesting and I’ve spent a lot more time with it, and I’m still just getting to know it.
One thing that’s becoming more and more clear to me as the weeks go by is how much the iPad mini’s display is growing on me. It’s not retina and text is definitely nowhere near as sharp, but I find my eyes feel far les strained when reading for a few hours on the iPad mini than on the Kindle Fire HD or Nexus 7.
I’m also finding that for photos and video the iPad mini display is not too bad at all. Yesterday I was watching a Saturday Night Live episode on Hulu Plus and Rihanna cam on as the musical guest – and the colors and sharpness of the screen just really struck me, so I though I’d share a couple screenshots.
I bought a WiFi iPad mini on its launch day a couple weeks back. This week I returned it within the 14 day return period; reason: I love it (see my iPad mini review for confirmation) and wanted to trade up to the WiFi + Cellular model as soon as I could get hold of one.
During the course of Thursday and Friday of this week I kept seeing reports that the iPad mini WiFi + Cellular (or LTE) models would be in Apple and carrier stores starting on Friday. So yesterday I called around to quite a number of AT&T and Verizon stores here in Austin – and none of them had any available, or any clue when they might have some. I called my closest Apple store twice during Friday morning and was told they had no iPad mini LTE models in yet and that they weren’t sure if they would get any during the day. I tried a third time just after midday and got the sad news that they had received a limited number of units and had sold out. I must’ve missed them by a very small window of time.
Last night I tried hitting the Apple online store right on 10PM – when they refresh stock availability – to see if I could manage to grab an LTE model with pickup at a local store, to avoid waiting 2 weeks for shipping. I spent a full hour giving my browser’s refresh button a workout and then finally the page changed and showed pickup options available for the 32GB LTE model I wanted. I entered my zip code and immediately saw that no pickup was available at any of the stores in my area. I tried several times with no change in the results.
The iPad mini is featured in Apple’s holiday gift guide and promo materials. The promotional onslaught for the holiday season has already started and of course Apple have got their promo machine running in top gear.
They’re sending out emails full of suggestions for the best Apple device gifts to get this year and they’ve got a Holiday Gift Guide section at their online store. The guide has sections for Mac, iPhone, and iPod gifts – as well as iPad gifts. And the featured item amongst all of it is the new iPad mini. As you can see in the screencap above, it’s touted as ‘The year’s biggest gift. Only smaller.’
Though there are no discounts offered on any of the items in Apple’s gift guide, they are offering free shipping on all of them.
I wonder how many kids and grown-ups have got the iPad mini right at the top of their wish list. It hasn’t made it on to my daughter’s wish list yet, though I think that may be more to do with the fact she knows she can mess around with mine. One of her top items right now is a Nintendo 3DS.
Are any of you planning to gift an iPad mini this holiday season?
There are more reports today of Apple shipping pre-ordered iPad mini LTE (or WiFi + Cellular) models much earlier than expected. 9to5Mac, MacRumors, and others are getting reports from users who are seeing that their units have shipped and that delivery dates are as early as this Thursday, November 15.
I’m sure that’s making for a lot of happy customers among those seeing these early shipping notices for their pre-orders.
Now what I’d love to see is for the ship times of the iPad mini LTE models to come down too. As of this morning, they are still at two weeks. I am going to be returning my WiFi only model later this week and plan to get an LTE model as soon as I can. I’m hoping they may get to Apple stores at the end of next week.
If you’re one of those lucky pre-order folks, here’s hoping you get your new iPad mini LTE model this week – if you do, be sure to let us know what you think of it in the comments.
The New York Times’ iPad app – NYTimes for iPad – has been updated today, to Version 2.5.3.
Here’s the entire change list for the update:
— Optimized for the iPad mini
Pretty impressive to see one of the US’ most prestigious newspapers updating their iPad app specifically for the iPad mini less than two weeks after the device’s release.
I’m not a frequent enough user of the NYTimes for iPad app to comment on how good, bad, or mediocre the update is – but it’s good to see the NYT giving some love to the iPad mini.
Apple has released a couple of new TV ads for the iPad mini – titled ‘Books’ and ‘Photos’.
The two new ads carry on theme of the first iPad mini TV ad, ‘Piano’ – showing a full-size iPad screen alongside the mini while they both run the same app. The Piano ad showcased Garageband and these two highlight the iBooks and iPhoto apps on the iPad mini.
I think this another good iPad campaign, with the focus staying nicely on apps and the cool things you can do with them on the iPad, big or small. I also especially like the old-school song selection for the Photos ad.
I couldn’t embed the videos here, but you can check them out at Apple’s iPad mini TV ads page.
What do you all think of these 2 new ones and the iPad mini ad series so far?
When the iPad mini launched last week, only the WiFi models were available – not the WiFi + Cellular models. Apple originally said the WiFi + Cellular models (or LTE models for short here) would ship around the middle of November. Today, there are numerous reports around the web (like this one) of users seeing shipping dates for their WiFi + Cellular models during the week of November 19 – with dates around November 21 and 22.
There are also reports that AT&T will begin selling the LTE models at their retail stores next Friday, November 16.
I’ve tried asking both a local Apple store and the online Apple store if they have a definite date for when the iPad min WiFi + Cellular models will be in stores and they don’t know as yet. The closest I got was that they’re ‘expected’ to ship in two weeks, which is November 23.
I’m definitely going to swap to an LTE model. I need to return my current model by around the 15th. I am hoping that the iPad mini LTE models will be in stores Thanksgiving week, so the gap between returning the one model and getting the other is not too long.
Have any of you got shipping status updates on an order for an LTE model?
I’ve had the new iPad mini for a little more than 5 days now, and I thought it was about time to share my thoughts on the smallest member of the iPad lineup. I went for the 32GB black model. I’m way too much of an apps junkie to try a 16GB model and I am hoping that 32GB on the iPad mini, backed by 64GB on my iPad 3, will be enough.
I definitely plan to get a WiFi + Cellular model, but they’re not available until later this month – November 23 is the expected release day I’ve heard for them. By then I’ll have figured out whether 32GB is Ok for me and will either stick with it or go the whole hog with a 64GB WiFi + Cellular model – but I’m very confident that 32GB should be fine.
So, on to some thoughts on the iPad mini:
The Wonderful Lightness
I knew of course that the mini was substantially lighter than the (now old) new iPad or iPad 3, and even lighter than the iPad 2. But it is just so wonderfully light. I thought the lighter weight was going to be my favorite feature, but even my high expectations in this area have been far exceeded. As soon as I took mine out of its box in the Apple store I was in love with the weight of it. I’ve been within the first 10 or so people into the Apple store for every iPad launch and this is the first time I have ever gushed about the iPad to the Apple staff person helping me with the purchase. I think my jaw dropped a little when I held it and I definitely shared my enthusiasm for my new little lightweight pal.
Gelaskins, makers of ultra-thin stylish, artistic skins for the iPad and many other devices, have now got a range of skins available for the iPad mini. When these guys say ultra-thin they really mean it – their skins are less than 1mm thick and add almost no weight at all to an iPad. For an incredibly light device like the iPad mini, that’s a very welcome feature.
Another big benefit of using Gelaskins is that they are quite easy to apply and remove – I know this especially because I am a clod when it comes to installing screen protectors and the like, and even am able to work with these skins with relative ease.
The artwork used on Gelaskins is always gorgeous and includes many images from famous artists – and if you don’t find an image you like, you can also create your own.
I’ve often mentioned here that a Gelaskin was my favorite companion for the iPad Smart Cover, in particular the Dr. Gonzo image by Ralph Steadman. Although the skins can be used for both front and back of the iPad, I like to only use them for the back of the iPad.
The new range of Gelaskins for the iPad mini go for $19.95 and you browse through the designs and check them out in detail at this Gelakins page for them. I think Dr. Gonzo or another of these skins may soon be making an appearance on my iPad mini.
Apple has announced today that they sold 3 million iPads in the 3days of the launch weekend for the new iPad mini and iPad 4th generation, or iPad 4 – which is double the amount of WiFi only models sold during the comparable launch period for the iPad 3 back in March. That’s comparable of course because there are no WiFi + Cellular models available as yet for the iPad mini or iPad 4.
Here’s the Tim Cook quote from their press release on these numbers:
“Customers around the world love the new iPad mini and fourth generation iPad,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We set a new launch weekend record and practically sold out of iPad minis. We’re working hard to build more quickly to meet the incredible demand.”
Apple didn’t provide any sort of breakdown on the sales totals for the iPad mini, iPad 4, or iPad 2 over these 3 days – but there are a number of reports around today, like this one, that noted analyst estimates that the iPad mini was sold out in 60% of US Apple stores this weekend – with the 16GB models being the most popular and the quickest to sell out.
Given the shorter than average lines at many Apple stores early Friday morning, and a lot of people’s doubts about the iPad mini price point, it looks like it was a pretty damn good weekend for iPad mini sales and iPad sales in general. Just as another little point of comparison on these numbers, it’s only a few days back that reports of 1 million sales per month for the Nexus 7 tablet were noted as being a huge jump up for one of the flagship Android tablets.
So how many of you dear readers bought a new iPad mini or iPad 4 this past weekend?
Apple has started airing their first TV ad for the new iPad mini. It’s called ‘Piano’ and it couldn’t be any simpler. There’s no voiceover at all for the iPad, but it still manages to be a powerful demo of what you can do on the iPad, big and small.
My colleague Alicia summed this up much better than I when we first saw the ad previewed by Apple at the iPad mini launch event:
With the iPad mini, Apple has given us an short but sweet ad that instantly delights and shows why they excel at what they do – displaying a sense of humour and giving the right sense of what the user experience is like. No need for specs list or complex layered content. Just a tune. Played on a piano.
What do you all think of the first iPad mini TV ad?