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After spending a day with the iPad Mini, which has a screen size of 7.9 inches across the diagonal, versus the 9.7 inches of the bigger iPad, SplatF’s Dan Frommer decided: “This is the real iPad.””With the exception of screen sharpness, everything about it is better than the bigger, ‘classic’ iPad — and screen sharpness won’t be a deal breaker for the vast majority of people.”
“The best thing about the iPad mini is its weight — it’s almost effortless to use, and that’s a big difference.”
“The full-size iPad is more luxurious with its bigger screen, but its weight and density always made it a little tricky to use. I read on my iPad most nights to fall asleep, and even just holding it steady and upright requires actual effort. (The cracking blow of an iPad 3 falling onto my face and nose, after I’d drifted to sleep, is one I’d never like to experience again.) I feel more confident holding the iPad mini, which means I’m more likely to use it in more places — the whole point of an iPad.”
The Internet’s other two big Apple bloggers, MG Siegler and John Gruber agree with the sentiment.
In fact, Gruber and Seigler are both trying to figure out why in the world Steve Jobs and Apple didn’t make the iPad this size in the first place.
First, I don’t think they could have, technically. The original iPad in 2010 was pretty thick compared even to the iPad 2. If they couldn’t make it thinner then, I don’t think they could have made it smaller either — not at the same price points.
Second, thinness and weight aside, I think the 9.7-inch size was better to start with conceptually, to establish the iPad in consumers’ minds as something they might want to own. The biggest complaint about the original iPad upon its unveiling was that it was nothing more than a “big iPhone”. That would have been an even bigger complaint if they’d launched with the smaller 7.9-inch display instead. The bigger difference in physical size made it even more likely that developers would do the work to create iPad-optimised versions of their iPhone apps, too.
Another week in, though, and I’m more convinced than even a week ago that the iPad Mini is the best size for most people. It’s last decade’s iPod story all over again.
It took the 9.7-inch as a sort of proof-of-concept and perhaps just as importantly, a catalyst to get developers thinking about the tablet as different from the smartphone. The iPad mini directly benefits from both developers and consumers now willing to think differently.
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