Why the iPad mini Will Eclipse the iPad

| Particle Debris

The 9.7-inch iPad is the perfect size for a tablet. Then why is the iPad mini so insanely popular? Like the transition from the PC, in the post-PC era, a smaller tablet can do a lot of the things a full-sized tablet can, but at half the weight. But what will we lose?

Sometimes, often, I think about a saying attributed mostly to Konrad Lorentz. "Philosophers are people who know less and less about more and more, until they know nothing about everything. Scientists are people who know more and more about less and less, until they know everything about nothing."

Can it be that the very same forces that led us away from the full-sized PC, the realization that we could do 90 percent of what we need to do on a much simpler tablet, are themselves also working on the tablet itself? In other words, an iPad mini can do 90 percent of what a regular sized iPad can do, but at a fraction of the size, weight and cost.

Except when it can't.

Down we go, step by step...

No one, I think, would take great pleasure in reading a full-page conventional magazine on an iPad mini's tiny 7.9-inch display. And the process of watching a major theatrical release, like The Bourne Legacy, on a tiny screen has to pale compared to watching on a 55-inch Plasma. Or even a 9.7-inch iPad, whose visual subtent, rivals that of an HDTV, held at a reasonable distance.

And yet the history of our technology continues to drive towards the smaller and simpler and cheaper. Remember, a decade ago, when audiophiles complained bitterly that kids listening to MP3s, encoded at 128 kbps, were losing out on the majesty of real music? Well, we still have audiophiles, we still have home theaters, we still have PCs, and we still have iPads.

But even as those technologies continue, injured a little, but still surviving, the drive to smaller, cheaper continues. And when you can get 90 percent of your iPad stuff done for $329, then it's a hard proposition to reject. Perhaps, soon, we'll see iPads with a 4-inch screen. Oh. Wait...

More on that below in the News Debris.

Tech News Debris

RFID is a technology that started out with great promise, but has more or less stumbled along lately. That slow process of maturity has companies concerned about the risks -- and probably the relationship to NFC. (RFID has a longer range, but is one-way.) Here's some background: "RFID: Befuddled by FUD." And come to think of it, "What's the difference between RFID and NFC?"

Ben Bajarin, with a cool head, has written another one of his wonderful, insightful pieces, this time: "Toward a More Informed Discussion on Android."

Related to Google Maps for iOS 6, recently approved by Apple, both sides made tricky, risky, calculated business decisions. Here's the best article I've seen on that by Ryan Tate. "Why Google Just Made iPhone King."

You may have read some things here and there about a U.N. treaty for the administration of the Internet. The New Scientist explains what's going on: "Why the world is arguing over who runs the internet."

The Apple iPad has been shipping since April, 2010, and there is still no version of MS Office for it. There was a time when it was thought that Microsoft would jump all over that in order to protect that product, but that was probably before the Surface tablet was a gleam in Microsoft's eye. So it was pushed back. Is it too late now? Will it ever ship for the iPad now that the Surface is shipping. WIll there be one, but with the typical strings attached? Here's some interesting discussion by Ryan Fass: "Has Microsoft waited too long to release Office for iOS and Android?"

I've been referencing some cool Kickstarter projects lately, the Phorce and the Brydge. So I figure I could throw in a reference to this one too. Kickstarter is just fabulous.

Finally, here are some interesting predictions for 2013 by Tim Bajarin. I agree with most of them except for #3 and #4. The ChromeBook isn't going anywhere and neither are hybrids. Tim is dreaming there. But the others are good, especially the 7-inch tablet thing. Perhaps, some day, we'll all forget about what Steve Jobs thought of 7-inch tablets. What was that you ask?  Um, nothing, nothing at all.

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here are some interesting predictions for 2013 by Tim Bajarin. I agree with most of them except for #3 and #4.

and #9. Apple making a hybrid laptop? If #4 is unlikely, this is beyond the pale.


I would like to see some demographics on whose hands the iPad mini gets the most use. My wife is next up for an iPad. We stopped at an Apple Store so that she could get a hands on comparison. She wants the iPad 4 and didn’t like the smaller screen size of the mini.

Lee Dronick

Skipaq I was going to give my wife an iPad Mini for Christmas, but she too didn’t want the small one after trying it. Not that she was unimpressed with, but she wants some other stuff and said that she was happy just to use her iPhone and MacBook Pro.

Well I am off to the jewelry store.


I’m still wishing I had bought an 11-inch MBA instead of an iPad ...


Glad to know that Mr. Martellaro was “born at an early age”.  Since most of us are born at a nearly age, at least we can relate.



If I may make an appeal to you and TMO management, this is not the first time that I have written a post on the revised website and have it disappear into the ether without posting. A bit frustrating - and yes, I was logged in. It simply didn’t post. Might I request that this be looked into?

Let me briefly summarise my lengthier original post.

Regarding the iPad mini, I remain somewhat sceptical that it will replace the standard sized iPad at least in near term. I can see it occupying a niche in certain sectors, like doctors for whom the mini is a better fit in lab coat pockets when doing hospital rounds, and using the iPad mini for pocket references like the Harriet Lane or Nelson’s textbook. We’ll have to see, but for me, the standard iPad remains the right size for replacing my laptop on work assignments, where that extra bit of screen real-estate remains important.

While I found the Ben Bajarin piece informative, I found the five-part series by John Kirk on ‘Why Android is winning the battles but losing the war’ more informative still, and a succinct summary of many of the arguments that have been made here on TMO. Android is a case study, in my view, of ‘being careful what you wish for’, in that it has gained an upper hand in market share but amongst markets primarily in low to middle income countries where Google currently haven’t a prayer of deploying their business plan of ad revenue gains. These are not markets where many, if not most, of the handset users even have regular internet access, let alone sufficient disposable income to purchase apps, forget online purchasing (credit cards are only just being introduced into these markets, and online purchasing effectively non-existent).

Too many analysts, in my opinion, do not distinguish the marketshare and profitshare dominance that MS enjoyed with the desktop PC, from the current state of Google’s marketshare dominance with Android on handsets, while profitshare dominance is, overwhelmingly, enjoyed by its rival iOS, which also enjoys both market and profit share dominance in the tablet sector. It remains a valid question whether this is even a sustainable position for Google, never mind a profitable one, to which we have a negative answer - at least for the foreseeable future.

As for whether or not MS missed the train on offering Office for iOS, I’d argue that it may well have. I do a fair amount of writing on my iPad, and no longer feel the need for Office, at least on iOS. This places even more pressure on MS’s strategy of relying on Win8 to buttress the company’s fortunes, and carry them forward into the future as top player. I should think that their business plan is in urgent need of revision, but what do I know; I’m a doctor, not a market analyst.

Lee Dronick

Wab95 wrote “If I may make an appeal to you and TMO management, this is not the first time that I have written a post on the revised website and have it disappear into the ether without posting. A bit frustrating - and yes, I was logged in. It simply didn’t post. Might I request that this be looked into?”

And I have a problem where I am being auto logged out on daily basis. This happens on all of my Macs and iOS devices which leads me to think that the culprit is not on my end.  I have discussed with someone in the forums who I assume is the webmaster. He isn’t having this problem, and having worked tech support for several years I know how that can be. Anyway as a result I am lurking more and commenting less. 

One other thing. “Notify me of follow-up comments” doesn’t always send out notifications.


Lee wrote: “One other thing. “Notify me of follow-up comments” doesn’t always send out notifications.”

Agreed. This, too, seems like a bug in need of a fix. More often than not, I have to come back to the site and reload the page to see follow-on comments, and, more often than not, there are some about which I have not been notified.

Many thanks for mentioning, Lee.


I copy my comments to the clipboard before hitting “Submit” ...  just in case.


“I copy my comments to the clipboard before hitting “Submit” ...  just in case.”

Good suggestion, L-W. I occasionally think to do that, primarily after I’ve been burnt by the ‘submit to aether of oblivion’ outcome; either that, or I compose in something like Pages then copy and paste, as I have done for some longer posts.

My feeling is that there is a gremlin afoot at the backend that just needs to be put down - hopefully by plucky TMO staff, and then all will be right in the quiet countryside of the comment section.

Lee Dronick

Unless it is just a line or two I will compose in TextEdit, or Pages, I have documents titled Scratch Pad. I do that be the copy meant for here, Facebook, or somewhere else. That way I can check homophones, punctuation, spelling, syntax, grammar, et al.

Adam Christianson

wab95 and Lee,
I am very sorry for the trouble you’ve both experienced. I can tell you that we have worked very hard and long to try and figure out what the issue is, but so far I have no answer. I continue to search. Myself and a couple staff members have tried various browsers and scenarios but are unable to get kicked off by the login system in the way that has been described. I don;t doubt that you both are, but not being able to replicate the issue makes tracking down a fix much more difficult. We WILL continue to try though. In the meantime, the suggestions offered above are very good ones. Again I sincerely apologize for the trouble while we continue to pursue a fix. For now unfortunately I don’t have an ETA on when this bug might get squashed. On the notifications, that should be working. I know it sounds odd since you do seem to be getting some notifications, but please make sure you check your SPAM filters and junk mail boxes. I know i’ve had instances where a message from the same thread comes through and then the next one gets caught.


Many thanks, Adam.

In my case, these have been inconsistent occurrences. Yesterday, for example, I got all my notices, just after stating that I often don’t. Go figure.

The vanishing comment submission, presumably by some aethereal comment swallowing goblin, is the most annoying, but this too is uncommon, and I will simply modify my practices accordingly.

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