How the iPad mini can thrive in 2021
How the iPad mini fits in the Apple lineup and a quick note about Safari changes
Where Does the iPad Mini Fit in the Apple Ecosystem?
I have been thinking a lot about the iPad Mini lately. I can't pinpoint exactly why, but I have a few links peppered in this that got my gears going. Furthermore, I have many questions about the iPad mini now and the future of the iPad mini.
The iPad mini might not be for everyone, but people who have used it will tell you that it just works for them.
Shortly after he wrote this, Lee shared that due to new circumstances, the iPad mini doesn't quite fit like it once did for what he's doing. Now, he is rocking the M1 MacBook Air as his main device.
What I’ve found this year is that since getting the larger screened iPhone 11 I’m using my iPad Mini less. It’s just always with me and easily accessible. I use the iPad Mini now for about 20% of the time in my week. Maybe to read a magazine or look at my RSS but I’ve found its use has dropped off.
With all this said, José Adorno posted an article on 9to5Mac sharing other use cases for the iPad mini.
The iPad mini has some things going for it, mainly because of its size. The first thing is it’s a great reading device. Whether you are scrolling a book, reading a digital magazine, or skimming a New York Times article, the mini provides a Retina screen that can be held in your palm with ease. That being said, there is the argument that the iPhone can do all of these things too. For me, though, I have found that reading on my phone for longer than a few hundred leaves me wanting a larger device to read things on. I also get fatigued holding my 11-inch iPad Pro, or even the regular iPad when I had one.
All this to say that the mini can be argued that it deserves a spot in the Apple iPad lineup, but I am still not sold on the iPad mini 5. To me, it seems time that the iPad mini fit between the 10.2-inch iPad and the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max.
How Can the iPad Mini Improve?
There are several ways that the next iPad mini can be improved upon to make it more enticing for users, and for people who already have an iPad and iPhone to want the iPad mini.
The current 10.2-inch iPad is selling at the starting price $329, whereas the 7.9-inch iPad mini 5 is being sold at the starting price of $399. Selling the iPad mini $70 more than the iPad is like selling an iPhone 12 for more than a 12 Pro. It just doesn't make much sense. It also isn't like they differ in any meaningful way.
They both are using the same A12 Bionic chip, and both support the Apple Pencil. One of two things needs to happen if Apple wants the mini to thrive going forward. They either need to lower the price to lower or at the very least match the iPad. On the other hand, they could offer an updated version of the iPad mini with a better ship and better features to justify the added cost.
The iPad mini is only 1.2-inches bigger than the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which isn't enough to make it appealing to users with larger phones like the 12 Pro Max, or any iPhone Max device in the last few years.
It is rumored that the iPad mini will be getting a larger screen size, one place estimated 8.9-inches for the screen size, all without changing the footprint of the iPad Mini. This means that the bezels are getting thinner and the Home Button is going away in the next version of the iPad mini.
Thankfully, it seems that there are several sources sharing rumors and information indicating that the next iPad mini will indeed be larger.
Support Apple Pencil 2
This seems like a no-brainer to me. It is time that Apple cut the cord from the Apple Pencil 1 and make the move to generation 2. Not only is it magnetic and can be stuck to the side of some supported devices, the Apple Pencil 2 is much more accessible to purchase compared to the first generation.
This is a more edge-cased thing, but in my opinion, Apple should lean in with MagSafe and start implementing it in the iPad lineup. The iPad mini is a perfect place to start. It isn't much larger, the battery size is comparable, and it wouldn't look so silly with the current MagSafe puck.
Safari Brings Back Old Design (Sort of)
Apple released new betas for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. the biggest change is the revert back to the old tabbed Safari design on the iPad.
The most notable change this time around is Apple's work on Safari's massive redesign. On iPad, Safari has reverted to an older tabbed design, though the option still exists within Settings to enable the updated compact UI. This will surely satisfy some users who have had qualms with the redesign. It will be interesting to see where Apple will end up come this fall.
I am happy to see that the new design is taking a back seat on the iPad, as that seemed to be the worst version of Safari compared to the iPhone and Mac. Still, I fear that there are more shoes to drop about this redesign before Apple closes the book on it for the year.
I truly cannot wait to hear about the details from inside Apple ten or twenty years down the line. It's happened before, and I expect it will happen again.