With a report appearing on AllThingsD this weekend, it seems that the rumoured 7.85" iPad mini is all but officially confirmed by Apple. There has been much speculation on this already and with some very detailed and well thought out articles already being published about the technicalities, (like this one and that one by John Gruber to mention a couple of my favourites) I am not going to add to the noise on that front. Over the coming weeks, I'm going to focus on some of the practical reasons why the iPad mini makes sense and the first of these is all about the size of your hands.
As I have mentioned before, all 3 of my kids have iPods. Sure, they use them for listening to music, but mostly they are used for playing games and talking with friends on FaceTime or Messages. It really is the personal computer of their generation and for them, the small pocket sized form factor of an iPod isn't a feature, it's merely something that's tolerated. I've seen the way they look at my iPad, if they could upgrade, they would trade in their iPods in a heart beat.
So why don't they?
I can think of 3 good reasons:
- Size: I don't know if you've noticed, but an iPad in a child's hands looks quite unwieldy, there is a huge difference between the iPod's 3.5 inch screen the iPad's 10 inch screen in those little hands. I think 7 inches would sit in the sweet spot, analogous to an adult holding the current iPad. Remember Steve Jobs saying "7 inches is too small, you would have to sand down your fingers". Yes, down to, well, the size of a child's fingers.
- Durability: I've seen my kids drop their iPods onto a tiled floor (more than once) and thanks to only a TPU case, survive the ordeal. I'm not sure that the weight and bulk of an iPad would fare so well and as a parent, I would never put myself in the situation to find out.
- Price: $399 is a lot to spend on a child, and thats for last years model. $299 seems to break that psychological barrier. I remember when the 4th generation iPod touch first launched, it was $249 and I bought 2 at that price. It seems to me that I would be getting a lot more than $50 worth of extras in an iPad mini.
So it would seem that if Apple could make an iPad that was a little bit smaller, a little bit lighter and priced under $300 it would solve all of these problems and have the ultimate kids computing device. Why would this make good practical sense? Well it's like Michael Jackson said, "I believe the children are our future, teach them well and they will use our products for a lifetime" ...or something like that.