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NZ first in world to get iPad mini today: a review of reviews

UPDATE Nov 2: Apple's iPad mini will go onsale today in NZ, priced from $479 (see specs and full NZ pricing details below).

Thanks to the international dateline, NZ is the first in the world to get the fun size tablet. 

A pepped up version of the full-size iPad is also being released locally today. The fourth generation iPad gets a faster A6X processor and the smaller Lightning connector that also features on the iPhone 5 and iPad mini.

Some US  and UK reviewers have had their hands in a iPad mini for the past few days. Here's a review of reviews:


Walter Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal:

In shrinking the iconic iPad, Apple has pulled off an impressive feat. It has managed to create a tablet that's notably thinner and lighter than the leading small competitors with 7-inch screens, while squeezing in a significantly roomier 7.9-inch display.

And it has shunned the plastic construction used in its smaller rivals to retain the iPad's sturdier aluminum and glass body.

I've been testing the iPad Mini for several days and found it does exactly what it promises: It brings the iPad experience to a smaller device.

Every app that ran on my larger iPad ran perfectly on the Mini. I was able to use it one-handed and hold it for long periods of time without tiring.

My only complaints were that it's a tad too wide to fit in most of my pockets, and the screen resolution is a big step backwards from the Retina display on the current large iPad.

Mossberg adds he found the battery life excellent at 10 hours in an intensive test. And that although the screen doesn't allow high definition video playback, clips look "fine". Read his full review here.


David Pogue, The New York Times

Apple’s masterstroke was keeping the screen shape and resolution the same as on the iPad 2 (1,024 by 768 pixels). As a result, the Mini can run all 275,000 existing iPad apps unmodified, plus 500,000 more iPhone apps. The text and graphics are a little smaller, but perfectly usable.

Sadly, the Mini doesn’t gain Apple’s supercrisp Retina display. Nobody’s going to complain about the sharpness — it packs in 163 pixels per inch (ppi) — but it’s not the same jaw-dropping resolution as the big iPad (264 ppi). Gotta hold something back for next year’s model, right?

By pricing the Mini so high [$NZ479 to $NZ979], Apple allows the $US200 class of seven-inch Android tablets and readers to live (Google Nexus, Kindle Fire HD, Nook HD). Those tablets also, by the way, have high-definition screens (1,280 by 800 pixels), which the Mini doesn’t.

But the iPad Mini is a far classier, more attractive, thinner machine. It has two cameras instead of one. Its fit and finish are far more refined. And above all, it offers that colossal app catalog, which Android tablet owners can only dream about.

Read Pogue's full review here.

ABOVE: Two parody clips. At least NBR thinks they're parodies ...


Joshua Topolsky, The Verge

The iPad mini stands head and shoulders above the competition in terms of design, the caliber of its components, and the solidness of how it's been built.

But it also has another quality, one that's nearly as important: the device has personality. I've started to think of it as a constant companion — small enough to throw in a bag or carry around the house.

There's something endearing about the mini that makes you want to keep it on-hand and use it often. It's a feeling the larger iPad never elicited in me.

Topolsky's does have some quibbles, including that the design is too thin, and smooth ("I actually had a little trouble holding onto the device when I wasn't using the Smart Cover"). See his full review, including video, here.


Charles Arthur, The Guardian

iPhone apps' behaviour can be hit-and-miss: some fit the screen neatly when expanded to the "2x" size, others overlap the edges (I'm looking at you, Tube Deluxe), others just look blocky (hello, Amazon – though there is a proper Amazon iPad app). There isn't the spare room that the larger iPad has around the edges when you expand the size of the iPhone app on the mini's screen. Then again, with the huge number of iPad apps available, this probably won't be a problem.

It's not a retina screen! It's only 1024x768, so that the resolution is 163ppi. This has been a big complaint (or snark, in some cases) that I've heard from people who haven't laid eyes on this device. If all you read is specifications, then the iPad mini screen is far worse than the Kindle Fire's or Nexus 7's, right?


Well, put them beside each other, and the story changes ...

What will surprise you is the weight. The specs already show that the iPad mini is lighter than the Kindle Fire, 308g v 395g (and 340g for the Nexus 7); even if you add on a Smart Cover, it's still lighter than the uncovered Kindle Fire. It's thinner too. This is a device that will be ideal for holding in one hand for reading on train rides or other commuting; or you might even forget it's in that coat pocket.

The iPad mini (308g) feels like it isn't really there. Certainly you'll not get tired of holding it, which could happen with the iPad (652g).

Read Mr Arthur's full review here.

Apple unveils iPad mini – specs at a glance, NZ details

Oct 24

iPad Mini

  • 7.9-inch (4th generation iPad: 9.7-inch)
  • Keeps boxy 4:3 ratio of earlier iPads, not iPhone 5 widescreen 16:9
  • 1024x768 resolution, 132 pixels per inch display (iPad 4: 2048x1536, 264 pixel per inch Retina) 
  • Weight: 312g (iPad 4: 652g)
  • Dimensions: 200 x 134.7 x 7.2 mm (iPad 4: 241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4 mm)
  • Lightning connector
  • Onboard storage: 16GB, 32GB or 64GB
  • Front camera: 720p HD video; rear: 5 megapixel
  • Dual-core A5 processor - the same as the iPad 2 (iPad 4: A6X)

At an event in San Jose this morning NZ time Apple CEO Tim Cook has unveiled the iPad mini, confirming media speculation the company would release a smaller version of its tablet.

The company also refreshed the full-size iPad, and launched thinner, faster versions of the MacBook Pro, iMac and Mac Mini.

The iPad mini has a 7.9-inch screen (1024 x 768 resolution), weighs 308gs and is 7.1mm thick.

By comparison, the full-size iPad has a 9.7-inch 2048-by-1536-pixel resolution display and weighs from 652g and is 9.44mm thick.

The iPad mini shares the same, smaller Lightning connector as the iPhone 5 and the refreshed 9.7-inch iPad just announced.

That means if you follow the ABC (always-be-charging) lifestyle of the modern gadget owner, with separate chargers for home, car and work, you'll shelling out $29 a pop for extra Lightning cables, and between $49 and $79 for an adapter for your speaker dock and other accessories.

While the iPhone 5 adopted a 16:9 ratio "tall and thin" display – common to most Androids – the iPad mini sticks with the fullsize iPad's boxier 4:3 ration screen.

Contrary to rumours, it is not wi-fi only; the iPad mini also has cellular options (including LTE/4G – nice for Americans, irrelevant to NZ).

The iPad mini's bezel is plastic, but its case is aluminium. Android rivals in the small tablet market have plastic cases.

There are two colour options, following the iPhone 5: black and slate or white and silver.

Claimed battery life is 10 hours.

Critics: pricey
The iPad mini is not nearly as cheap as its key Android competitors in the small tablet market (the Amazon Kindle Fire, which sells from $US199 and the Google Nexus 7, which sells from $159). But the iPad mini ($US379 for US buyers) is cheaper and lighter and, thanks to its 4:3 ratio screen, has 35% more display area.

Nov 2 NZ, priced from $479
The iPad Mini will be released in a number of countries, including New Zealand on Friday, November 2, priced from $479. Pre-orders open October 26 through Apple's website.

A cellular-capable version of the iPad mini will follow two weeks later.

The fourth generation iPad will see New Zealand release on the same date.

Full NZ pricing:

iPad mini (wi-fi only)

  • 16GB - $479
  • 32GB - $629
  • 64GB - $779

iPad mini (cellular + wi-fi)

  • 16GB - $680
  • 32GB - $829
  • 64GB - $979

Fourth generation iPad (wi-fi only)

  • 16GB - $729
  • 32GB - $879
  • 64GB - $1029

Fourth generation iPad (cellular + wi-fi)

  • 16GB - $929
  • 32GB - $1079
  • 64GB - $1228

Additionally, iPad 2 remains on sale for $579 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and $779 inc for the 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model.

Full-size iPad gets refresh
First up, Mr Cook announced a refresh of the full-size iPad.

The two key changes to the fourth generation iPad are that it gets a faster processor the A6X, and the smaller Lightning dock connector recently introduced with the iPhone 5.

Mr Cook said 200 million devices have now been updated to iOS 6, including the duff Apple Maps. 

The company sold its 100 millionth iPad two weeks ago. It says the tablet is now outselling any single PC brand.

New MacBook Pro
A new 13-inch MacBook Pro has been introduced with a Retina display, and a 20% thinner chassis than previous model.

A 15-inch model will follow later this year.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro costs $2699 with a 2.5 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz, 8GB of memory and 128GB of flash storage and $3199 with 256GB of flash storage. Configure-to-order options include faster dual-core Intel Core i7 processors and flash storage up to 768GB.

Apple also launched faster, thinner versions of its 21-inch (from $1999) and 27-inch iMacs (from $2799), plus a refresh of the Mac mini (fom $949), which gains an extra USB jack.

Fusion drive
The key feature of the new iMacs is the so-called Fusion Drive, or a solid state drive (SDD) being traditional hard drive. SDDs are faster than HDDs, small, silent and (with no moving parts) more reliable, but also expensive. 

Under the "Fusion" setup, a 128GB SSD is combined with a 1 or 3 Terabyte (1000 gigabyte) hard drive to create a single storage volume. Apple says files are automatically allocated between the drives to maximise performance.

Investors shrug
Apple shares [NAS:AAPL] were down 0.96% to $US627.97 as the event kicked off and Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage.

After the iPad Mini announcement they were trading down 0.48% for the day at $US630.96.

Comments and questions

Not sure if Steve Jobs would approve of this. Would be interesting to see how Apple would position the device, they would not want to fragment the tablet or the iPod Touch segments.

Who cares what Steve Jobs might of thought about this??

HE IS DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'd wager that Apple will seek to imitate Samsungs success in the phablet space - lets all sit back and watch the litigation fur fly

Google's Nexus 7 is available from Dick Smith.

The "Tablet Wars" are definately heating up -- I just bought another Android tablet that launched last week called the Novo 7 Flame by Ainol Electronics, priced at $189 at a site called TabletSprint - it really gives Kindle and Nexus a run for the money with a high resolution screen, a 5 megapixel Rear Camera and 2 MP webcam, Full 1080p HDMI, a Micro SD card storage slot & an option for 3G Wireless - definately worth checking out and comparing - especially for the price of $189 -- Ainol is the company that won "Runner Up" as the "Best Tablet of the Year" at CNET / CES 2012 -- Price is by far the biggest advantage of Android devices - I'm sure the anticipated Mini iPad is going to be at least a $100 more - and for such a small screen device, I'd rather pocket the savings and go with an Android --

Yeah, a 7 inch Android Tablet will be cheaper than a 7.85 inch iPad Mini and will probably have more features too. On the other hand, a full kitted up Geely has a lot more features than say a Corolla and it's a lot cheaper but more folk will buy a Corolla.

It's a question of branding... (which is why not everyone buys Home Brand at Woolworths) and what you already have and are used to. We've got an iPhone, iPods and an iPad at home to go along with a Windows PC running iTunes that supports 5 devices so if there's a iPad mini then we'd probably prefer one than going and getting a Nexus on the Android platform... even though being wedded to the child of Jobs still grates.

its not just spin that the Surface PC is more powerful than an iPad its true

The key change in the new iPad (full size) is the Retina Display.

The Retina display was introduced with the iPad 3.

I think the smaller iPad will be a flop. I haven't heard anyone say they want a larger iPhone or a smaller iPad.

I have been WAITING PATIENTLY for the smaller ipad, will fit in my purse perfectly and great for my emailing and work when traveling.
I hardly ever lug my ipad with me and grin and bear on my tiny iPhone screen instead...

I know many others who feel the same... Maybe it will be more popular with woman and handbags!

Im so seriously over all this tablet and phone BS, seriously how lame are we that we are buried in our electronic devices 24/7 and also encourage our kids to do the same.

Since becoming a parent ive realised there are more important things to life.

It's the perfect size. More convenient than an iPad, less convenient than a iPhone... Huh?

I thought Steve Knob didn't like a 7 inch tablet. Oh, I'm sorry. This is an 8 inch highly innovative, and insanely great new iPad. I must be having one of those reality distortion field today.

Steve Hart - You haven't been talking to people who carry handbags - I've not yet bought an Ipad because they were too big to fit into my handbag - if I go as big as the standard size I might as well have a skinny laptop with more functionality.

Personally, I think that a low cost, ultrathin laptop (with a proper keyboard), hi resolution screen, AND amazing battery life (and without Windows) will do very well... And possibly eat both Apple's and MS' lunch. Here's one of the first of many:

yawn yet another tablet in a sea of the thousands already available.... I think predictions of Apple losing the ability to lead, influence and be a visionary for the wider market are beginning to happen.

I have had a 7" tablet for the better part of a year and it is great but it also isnt an iPad

I waited in line at yoobee to buy the ipad mini this morning. I asked the yoobee staffer standing outside if they had stock, so I wouldn't waste my time, but got the usual "you'll have to wait until 8am". I'm so sick of the way the customer gets treated when it comes to Apple releases. They think they are creating hype, but really they are just annoying 12 people (yep, not a deluge).

Just saw the new iPad mini duty free at Auckland Airport departures this morning - that was quick!

How much was it?

Another fanboi review gushing over apple ... Journalism yeah right