I’ve had the iPad mini for a solid month now. I have more thoughts on it.
I still use the iPad every day. I think i have figured out why I reach for the iPad instead of my phone during breaks or in the evenings. Its the screen size. I have a 5.5 inch Note II but the extra 2.4 inches actually makes a big difference to apps and to the experience. Its something that has been repeated time and again over in blog after blog but has never really been explained. Maybe it its one of those things that you need to experience.
The midsize tablet screen is very nice. Its small enough to hold and read for an extended period of time, show off pictures, and watch the occasional video (Chromecasting still reigns supreme). I have even chosen to get games (Simple Rockets and Star Command) on the iPad rather than my phone due to the screen size alone.
It has actually got me to consider getting a smaller (normal) phone, a 5in Nexus 5 perhaps?
I upgraded, against my better judgment, to iOS7. The majority of my stock apps banished to the third page in a folder I managed to avoid much of the cotton candy theme but I’ve had to adjust to the new photo, camera, contacts, and settings icons. Its not a huge deal.
Control center is leagues better than the previous solution of “nothing at all” but it still pales in comparison to Android Quick Settings panel. Apple continues its stance of “We know best”. Its not customizable, period. If i want to connect to a specific Bluetooth device or wifi network I still have to go through the settings panel in contrast to just a long press in Android. The Audio controls are completely worthless since I don’t use the substandard stock audio apps. AirDrop is useless to me for two reasons. First I don’t have other iDevices to share with. Secondly, I’d rather have the data in dropbox, google drive, or my server than floating around isolated on devices.
The upgrade to notifications is still lackluster compared to Android. You can’t dismiss individual notifications, the information displayed is hit and miss on importance, and they still lack any functionality other than a shortcut to open the app.
Apps is the background it still a joke. Tap a notification the app still has to launch and update. Auto-backup for apps like Dropbox and Google+ still require you to have the app open for the backup to happen. I’m used to any picture I take on my phone to be in the cloud seconds after it’s taken. Its a huge disappointment that I have to remind myself to perform an action on the iPad that just works on my phone.
The launch of iOS 7 has opened a floodgate of updated apps. PocketCasts is new and pretty with its cross platform synchronization. Which works better than expected. Calendar 5 is the BEST calendar app on iOS I have found to date with a seamless use of google calendars.
My overall reactions to the months so far? I like the tablet form factor. When this tablet goes back in 2014 I’ll be buying another (Android most likely). I was differentially wrong when I said that tablets fulfill a need that doesn’t exist. They have the potential to replace the basic functionality (Internet, email, Facebook) for a large segment of the consumer market. You’re still kidding yourself that a tablet could replace a PC for a power-user, but with a little ingenuity and code I could see myself PC-less soon. I’m considering moving away from my desktop (perhaps mothballing it) to more of a cloud based solution at home. (More posts come about this).