2012 feels so long ago, right? Forever, even. That’s the year Apple introduced its smallest iPad to date, the iPad mini. And, since then, Apple has refreshed the device more than a few times, but it’s kept its primary selling point: the small size.
The current version of the iPad mini retains the small stature, with a 7.9-inch display. It doesn’t boast the smaller bezels, yet, but maybe that happens one day, too. It’s powered by Apple’s A12 Bionic, supports the first-generation Apple Pencil, and has a battery life that can span 10 hours on a single charge. It’s a smaller version of the larger iPad, a more compact, maybe more portable tablet.
And now I don’t know what to do with it.
I picked up the original iPad mini when it launched and, almost immediately, it became my favorite tablet. Not that the larger variant was bad or anything, it obviously wasn’t. The iPad has become the most popular tablet option out there for a reason. But I just loved how small it was. I could watch a show, read a book, or browse the internet on something that felt even more futuristic than the standard iPad.
I picked up the third-generation iPad mini, skipping the second, and then I skipped the fourth, too. But recently I decided to go all-in on digital books, rather than physical ones (a huge shift for me, but I figured it was time to bite the bullet). So I initially picked up the Amazon Kindle and tried it out. I used to have one of these things years ago and I loved it, but dropping the physical buttons sort of turned me off the new design. And while e-ink is great (especially on the Paperwhite version), I guess I just prefer reading on something like the iPad mini. Also, I prefer Apple Books in general.
So I exchanged the Kindle for the iPad mini and thought it’d be perfect. And, for the most part, it is. It’s been a while since I had one of these and I forgot how great it feels in the hand for daily use. The small and light form factor is great. And using Apple Books is just as good as you’d expect. I’ve even started listening to podcasts again, but I doubt this will hold (because it never does).
So there we go. Apple Books and Podcasts. I’ve decided I’m not going to put any games on the thing, not even from Apple Arcade. I was looking for a way to read books and that’s what I want to focus on with it. However, with that in mind, I’m really balking at the price. It puts me in a similar situation as my AirPods Max (before I returned them), but just slightly different.
I could use my iPhone to read books whenever I want, and someone would probably say that makes sense. The phone’s with me everywhere. And honestly I think I wouldn’t have any issues with the battery life, even if I did read on it as much as I already have with the iPad mini (or the Kindle for that matter). But I don’t want to impact my phone’s battery if I don’t have to, and using a dedicated device for something like this isn’t unappealing to me.
But is the iPad mini worth $400 as just an eReader? That seems kind of ridiculous! I’ve got myself an iPad Air, the one Apple launched last year, so I gave that a shot as my reader instead. But that’s just too big. It’s great as a writing station and Twitter feed and a device I play games on, but not exactly perfect for extended reading sessions. It’s great for what I use it for.
I could also pick up an Apple Pencil, I guess. I own the second-generation version of Apple’s stylus, but that won’t work with the smaller iPad. I’d need the older model to get any drawing done, and that doesn’t sound awful. Except for the fact that I’d need to fork over some more money for another Apple Pencil. Not the most awful thing in the world, but still.
So I’m hoping you might give me some ideas here. If you own an iPad mini, what do you use it for? Is it a dedicated eReader for you, too? Have you done the opposite of me, and exchanged an iPad mini for a Kindle? If so, are you happy with the switch? Let me know how you use the iPad mini on a regular basis.