Apple’s iPad mini “Special Event”: The Good, the Bad, and the Meh
As with all big Apple events, I once again find people turning to me for my opinion on the announcements from Apple’s iPad mini “Special Event”. Honestly I can’t blame them, as my opinion is often the only correct one when it comes to such things. I seem to have the uncanny ability to cut through the hype with laser beam-like precision, and somehow categorize the day’s events into one of three categories: Good, Bad, and Meh. Here’s how Apple’s iPad mini “Special Event” broke down:
We didn’t have to read this one! : Hey, a live stream of an Apple event? Been awhile!
iPad mini: Hooray! it’s kind of the iPad two! But with a smaller screen. And as thin as a pencil, so Apple has a fun visual for their website!
Well, I understand the market for this, and the educational push for this makes sense (well, as much as kids “needing” iPads to learn makes sense, anyway). But as someone who primarily uses their iPad/iPhones for playing games, I would NEVER buy anything other than the top of the line model of any iOS device. I have never experienced an OS/hardware combo that evolves as quickly as iOS/iOS hardware. Developers seem to embrace the latest hardware from Apple and leave the “old stuff” in the dust. A one year-old iPod touch feels sluggish now on many games. My iPad 1 takes about 1 minute to load DragonVale, and then crashes half the time. And that is NOT a demanding game. So yes, if you need a cool e-reader that can handle most iOS chores, the iPad mini is awesome. But not for me. (also, it will be interesting to see how that ultra-thin bezel on the sides in portrait mode works out…)
13-inch Retina MacBook Pro: This is great, and is a serious contender for the “Where will my money go after this event?” award. Of course, the problem with the retina’s is that half the stuff you’re looking at appears to look WORSE than on a regular notebook, but in a couple years the web will catch up. My only question is whether there is really a need for the MacBook Air line now that Apple has skinnied-down the Pros so much.
New iMacs/Mac minis: Both these models were pushing 550 days without an update, which is madness for a “technology” company. I’ve never understood why Apple needs a special event to update their computers, where all other technology companies just throw in whatever incremental processor bump or graphics cards as they become available to stay current. However, the good news is that all of us who have been waiting for the last 380 days or so for an update are about to unleash holy hell on Apple via our wallets. It’s been a long time since an Apple hardware event introduced anything cutting edge as far as features that aren’t available everywhere else (aside from cramming that tech into ridiculously small spaces) and these updates are no different. And while the iMac truly DOES look beautiful, the iMac still takes up the same amount of desktop space as the last 4 or so models and looks more or less the same from the front to the user (albeit less “chinny”), so I’m not sure what we’re REALLY getting by thinning out the “head” of the iMac from the side view (and I’m pretty sure we’re losing some things Apple COULD have put in there (extra ports? Optical Drive?)). However, we ARE now relatively current, and I am getting me a new iMac.
Updating the “new” iPad (the big one… 4th generation): Anyone who bitches that they “just” bought an iPad 6 months ago, and now Apple has updated it should really buy an iMac. Apple updates those things every 3 years or so. Honestly, I would love for Apple to update the iPad and iPhones every 3 months with a slightly longer lasting battery, faster processor, more RAM, etc. The once a year update model is simple, but I still can’t understand anyone viewing 5-6 months as a “short time” for an update when it comes to technology. So anyway, the iPad gets Apple’s A6 chip, for twice the speed, and twice the graphics of the “old” new iPad, and LTE. Price stays the same. Hooray. This is great. Stop your whining.
Apple’s new “Fusion” Drive: This SSD/HDD hybrid sounds cool. But it remains to be seen if the performance gains justify the risk of one drive failure taking down both drives in what appears to be a virtually unopenable/repairable machine. Also, we used to have room for 2 drives…
Jony Ive says “aluminum”: WIN!
Lumping in CPU updates: While I always appreciate Mac updates of ANY kind in these days of “iOS is King” (especially ones that have not happened for over 500 days) they really have nothing to do with the focus of this event, which was really to introduce a new product line to the Apple-verse. But hooray for the updates, it just would have been nice to give them their own event two weeks before or after this one. (Or 2 monthsbefore, really).
iMac Ships in December: The 21-inch model Ships in November, OK. But December for the 27-inch model?!? This sort of makes me a bt worried that Applehas pushed so hard to needlessly thin out the head of the iMac that it is leading to challenging production issues. Challenging production issues often lead to early adopters finding out there are display or heat issues that Apple will tell them are “normal”.
The event name: Seriously? This Apple special event is called “Apple Special Event October 23, 2012”? I can understand not calling it “We’re unveiling an iPad mini” but at least give it a cute name like “Lightning strikes Twice” or something. I guess since they tried to cram everything they make that’s not an iPod into this one it was a little tricky.
iPad 2 is still for sale: I don’t know… feels like they could have bumped up to the 3rd generation iPad as the “Low” end. The iPad mini is pretty much better than it in tech specs across the board.
So, that’s it, the Good, the Bad, and the Meh from today’s “iPad mini” event, as I’m going to call it. All in all, VERY little to complain about – and believe you me, I loves to complain! Feel free, as always, to tell me how dead-on correct I am in the comments.