Size Matters- Who Prefers a Smaller iPad?

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On Monday, I asked if anyone cared about the 12.9″ iPad Pro, and many of our readers took the time to tell me that they definitely do (and a BIG thank you to all who took the time to join in the discussion). I was actually surprised at how much enthusiasm was expressed for the device. I see now that I’m not alone in preferring the larger size of the original model, and that several fellow users have some really cool and unique use cases for which the larger screen is advantageous. It’s always great to share experiences like that and learn from fellow users. The 12.9″ model may not have as much Apple marketing push behind it these days, but it is obvious to me that it should continue to have a place at the iPad table.

Shifting gears, I would now like to hear from everyone who either isn’t using the 12.9″ iPad, or who currently is and may be re-thinking what size works best for them. Right now we have a 9.7″ version that is thinner, lighter, and less expensive. For those of you who have this model, what are you using it for? What do you think of it? What are some specific advantages and use cases that highlight its form factor? Inquiring minds want to know.

Any amount of variety is better than none at all, but we all know that more iPad choice may be coming very soon. I’ve already heard from a few users who are curious about the potential 10.5″ model that looks like all but a sure thing now. Are any of you with a current iPad Pro looking for some middle ground? Are some of you considering a Pro, but waiting to see what this new model will bring to the table?

Also, is anyone interested in the rumored $299 9.7″ iPad Air 2 revamp? For those who don’t need Pencil or Smart Connector support, that is a pretty inviting entry-level price for a new Apple tablet. I’ve already heard from a couple of users who have older devices that still meet their needs, and know several more personally. Would this price point be enough to sway you towards an upgrade?

Last but not least, are there any iPad Mini/Mini Pro holdouts among us? I wrote this model off in an earlier article, but the device is evidently still selling better than the 12.9″ Pro, so I guess there is still something to be said for a small form factor at a cheaper price. If Apple were to release an iPad Pro Mini, which has come and gone through the rumor mill (but is currently back on the outs again, it seems), would any of you be interested? While the Mini really doesn’t appeal to me that much, the thought of having the closest thing to a digital steno pad with Pencil support is at least interesting.

Thank you to all of the readers who commented on their 12.9″ iPad preferences and use cases earlier this week. I hope we will hear from those of you with a different point of view this time around. If you are a fan of any of the smaller iPads above or have an interesting use case you want to share, please let us know in the Comments section below, on our Flipboard channel, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog or @jhrogersii. I look forward to more lively discussion.


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17 thoughts on “Size Matters- Who Prefers a Smaller iPad?”

  1. I have been using the ipad mini for the past four years and haven’t considered any other hardware given its functionality for me. The ability to hold it in two hands with the on screen keyboard having simple reach (my hand span is only slightly above average) for typing is a winner. The weight and ease of carrying from location to location are ideal. I do note that prior to purchase I did always prefer my hard copy diary to be of A5 size rather then A4 – so this could be one of those preference things. Hope this helps.

    1. I see what you mean.

      My own iPad is a 9.7″ Air 2, but after using a family member’s Mini 2, I kind of wish I had gone that route. When the Mini first came out, I thought it was too small. I thought wrong.

  2. I love the iPad Mini, I switched over to them about 3 years ago, a lot more portable, easier to transport and just makes sense to me.

  3. I switched over to the ipad mini about 3 years ago from ipad air and won’t look back. I read a lot on it and want to be able to hold it with one hand. I can’t do that with the ipad air as my arm gets tired VERY quickly. I do have a bluetooth keyboard for the mini and am very much looking forward to an ipad mini pro

  4. I have 1 0f each… the 12.9 pro, the air 2 and a mini. I use the pro for art, and magazine reading, and occasional movie. The air 2 I use for surfing, magazine reading and movies, it’s the one I travel with and take to the office etc. the mini I use for photo viewing, taking photos, and have it in my bag during trips or when I’m walking around the city. It’s usually what I use for reading on bus or train. Each has it purpose and use. I’ll probably switch out the air 2 for a pro this year so I can use the pencil with it. And depending on the upgrades I may upgrade the pro.

  5. I have a severely aging iPad2 (or whatever it’s called – it was the first iPad with a camera). Because it’s slowing down under the weight of increasingly hefty system updates, I considered buying an iPad mini. For the fun of it, I bought a little Amazon Fire Tablet for $35 on Black Friday. What I am discovering is that I can do almost everything I need to do, at the expense of missing out on all the Apple universe connectivity and the inherent messiness of Android apps. But I’m getting used to somewhat inferior appearance for the advantage of portability and downright cheapness!

  6. When I traveled more on business and used my iPad as a laptop replacement, having a larger screen and virtual keyboard made sense. Since I travel less these days, my iPad has become more a content consumption device and I therefore would prefer a smaller device. If Apple discontinues the iPad mini, I may choose an Amazon Fire tablet, the same inexpensive device I’ve bought for my children.

  7. I use the 9.7 Pro at work and have been using it more and more. Screen size is the only real limitation for me. I mean, I can’t record and a podcast the way I would like to, and editing it on the iPad would be a bit of an adjustment for me, but that aside I think if I had a larger iPad I would use the it as my daily driver. For me, 10.5 isn’t big enough for that, so I am curious to see what the new 12.9 looks like. The $299 model is perfect for schools. If they put a slightly faster processor in the Air 2 and sold that for $299 I think it would sell really well as the Air 3 or whatever they want to call it. I could see the Minis going away, or just selling the Mini 4 as a stop gap until the next refresh when they ditch the Mini altogether. That size never worked for me but I know others that swear by it.

  8. I bought a top spec iPad Pro when they came back… and sent it back. Much as I’d love the pencil and keyboard, the size of the mini is just perfect for me. If they don’t update the mini soon, I have no idea where I go next, as my iPad Mini 2 is showing its age. I’d happily pay the same price as the 9.7 to get an iPad Mini Pro. This is not a price issue.

  9. I’ve had an iPad2 running IOS7 that I bought the day it was introduced. It has travelled to Europe twice with me as well as on many trips around N.A. I haven’t gone beyond IOS7 due to all of the perceived issues. As it is currently, it still crashes regularly due to the weight of loading of today’s apps. I have been waiting since last spring for the intro of the next version and will be deciding between the 9.7 or 10.5″ models as soon as they are available. My wife’s mini is used to control Wemo, Alexa, etc, where my IOS7 cannot tread. I have been putting money away each pay since last year nervously awaiting the new models… Almost ready to pull the trigger!

  10. I have both: ipad pro and ipad mini. For my work I am often travelling and I see me taking the mini with me, because it is light, the screen size is just enough for reading news, articles I have saved, checking/writing mails and even watching tv.
    The pro stays at home, is my access to the web in my living room, is perfect for writing, photo work, watching tv/you tube, graphic work. It is perfect for more detailed activities, but it is too heavy to hold in my hands.
    The pro is not my laptop replacement for me, everything is set up on a macbook air, everything I need for presentations, external hard drive, usb sticks, connectivity to beamer etc. hard to imagine, to completely switch to the pro for these purposes.
    One thing concerning the pro, that I do not like: battery life is pretty short. This is completely different wit the mini.
    I am happy to have both, should I come in a situation i would have to decide – it is the mini.

  11. I use the iPad Mini 2 in University for tsking notes. Using it with a pressure sensitive Adonite Jot Touch and the GoodNotes App, it makes a perfect little A5 note taking platform. Sometimes i wish a bigger size but othertimes I’m thankful I have the smaller one. I have a “lazy arm” iPad holder and it’s able to support my iPad so i can watch it in bed. It’s perfect for reading books too.

  12. My primary iPad is an Air 2 that took the place of an iPad 2. I use it for general browsing, reading, social network stuff as well as various music activities: PDF music reader, on-stage monitor mixing, setlists, music creation, music learning, etc. As much as I would love an iPad Pro for the size (especially as a sheet music replacement), I just can’t justify the extra $400 (over an iPad Air 2) for equivalent storage. The Pro is also laptop-priced. Personally, if I’m paying laptop prices it would need to be a full-on laptop replacement.

    We also have an iPad Mini 2 which is gradually slowing to a crawl. It’s too small for me, but my kids play games on it without complaint.

  13. I have a regular IPad, a mini, an Hp split, Samsung Galaxy, Laptops both Windows and Mac, etc. Just bought the 12.9″ Pro and for me it will be the perfect device to store and display my sheet music PDFs when performing on the Piano. Screen size and battery life make if the perfect replacement for music books!

    1. I know what you mean. I know some guys who would have loved using an iPad in Place of a jazz standards fake book in college. Those things were always huge and expensive.

  14. I have a 12.9″ Pro, which I love but it never leaves home. I also have an original Mini which I also love for it’s form factor. Seeing it has pretty much the same internals as an Ipad 2, it’s becoming very limited in it’s capabilities now.

    I would love to see a Mini-Pro. It’s hard to go back to a regular stylus once you’ve used the Pencil. So a Mini.pro with Pencil tech would be phenomenol in my opinion.

    I wouldnt even consider any sizes in between at this point. Bring on the Mini-pro!

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