The problem with the iPad mini 6

Every time Apple is going to introduce the new iPad mini model, I wonder if they will fix the wrong positioning.

▸ iPad mini is the smallest Apple tablet, but not the cheapest one.

▸ Dedicated Apple users have already learned that the iPad mini is a mid-range model, but what about someone who wants to switch from another platform? The first thing they do is check the price of the smallest tablet.

▸ The most affordable iPad mini 5 version (64 GB Wi-Fi only) costs $400, compared to $330 for the entry-level iPad 10.2 (32 GB, Wi-Fi only).

▸ iPad mini has bigger internal memory and faster processor, but the fact it comes with only the 8-inch display – no matter how crisp it is – limits most of the device’s potential.

▸ iPad mini will never be a smaller iPad Pro – it is too small for professional work (such as designing) or to turn it into a fully-fledged laptop replacement.

▸ iPad mini will also never be a more affordable alternative to iPad Pro or Air. The basic version of the latest iPad Air 4 (64 GB, Wi-Fi only) costs $600 – $200 more than iPad mini. $200 makes a hell of a difference. The problem is that you would never use the mini the way you’d use the Air.

▸ The 8-inch display makes the iPad mini “a passive-mode” device. You can use it for checking emails or social media, reading news and books, browsing the web, doodling, or playing Netflix videos. I can’t imagine creating a detailed hand-lettered typography on the iPad mini. The smaller screen prevents you from performing more complex tasks.

▸ Sooner or later, you will end up using iPad mini as a supportive device, a replacement, in cases there is no sense of taking a MacBook Pro with you.

▸ iPad mini is a great Sidecar device? Don’t even think about it. It’s too small, for instance, to be used as a Wacom pen tablet. I use my 11-inch iPad Pro to draw in Affinity Designer, and I imagine how wonderful it would have been if I had more money to invest in a 12.9-inch Pro.

▸ If you want a fast and powerful tablet, the weight (too heavy) and size (too large) don’t really matter. iPad Pro 12.9 with all accessories and peripherals (charger, cables, keyboard, sleeve, powerbank) is not much heavier than iPad mini with the same set of peripherals.

▸ iPad mini is so small that making a dedicated keyboard case doesn’t make sense – until Apple or third-party case producers find a patent to make the keyboard unfold to the sides to enlarge the typing area.

Apple iPad mini 6 concept render by Michael Ma Behance

iPad mini 6 is about to be launched. It borrows the design from iPad Pros and Air, and will most probably feature – for at least the same price as before ($400 and up) – a bit larger 8.3-inch display, as well as a Touch ID.

▸ Even if the iPad mini 6 sports the mini-LED display, it wouldn’t impress you that much as on the 11 or 12.9-inch. By the way, both iPad Pro models still don’t have mini-LED.

▸ Despite all the excitement about iPad mini 6, you should ask yourself a question: would I buy an 8-inch tablet for $400?

▸ Let’s ask a different question: would you buy an iPhone that offers all Pro features but sports a 4-inch display instead of 6-inch?

▸ iPad mini should be an entry-level Apple tablet, with features comparable to the basic iPad 10.2. It should cost between $200 and $250, and offer a more affordable look to win the hearts of users switching from other platforms.

Keep exploring. Here are other tips and lists for iPad users:

[gu-archive number=5 tag=”ipad”]


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