The new iPad mini was purchased to replace the netbook that I had purchased several years ago. Usually, I protest the purchase of any new thing. (Seth ignores me and gets me things anyway.) For a while, I was insisting that my netbook (an Asus Eee PC) was just fine.
Sure, it couldn't manage certain webpages. (Notably, the TRX website made it freeze and have to hard reset every single time.) Sure if I opened more than a couple of tabs in my browser things would stall. The important thing was they would eventually start moving again. You know, if I waited long enough.
The final straw -- the moment that even I had to realize that my netbook was no longer working for me -- came about a month ago. I was updating my blog. I was also trying to listen to some tunes on Spotify. All of a sudden, my Eee PC let out a startling and continuous grinding noise. Everything froze.
I was not deterred by this "minor" setback. After all, the netbook has crashed before. (Recall the TRX website trouble.) I hard reset my computer. I logged back into Windows 7 Starter Edition. I re-opened my blog post. I re-opened Spotify. After all, I was only streaming music and updating a text box online. And this was a netbook -- designed to surf the net.
After my netbook froze two more times, I gave up, listed to Spotify on my iPhone, and realized that if I was very very gentle, maybe my netbook could just update blog posts.
I could have gone on in this state of extreme denial for a very long time had Seth not heard of the situation. He insisted that this made no sense -- I had a computer I could barely use. It was a three year old netbook, apparently old for a netbook.
Next thing I knew, Seth was requesting I consider a quotation for free engraving for the back of my iPad mini that he was ordered online. (I chose a Tennyson quotation from "Locksley Hall".)
I was not home last night when the mini arrived, since I was working the evening at the Phonathon, Seth took a quick video to introduce me to the new mini.
I have only been using the iPad mini for a little while. (I was at work until 10:00 p.m. last night and then went in for 8:00 a.m. today -- my normal Tuesday night hours to Wednesday day hours switch.) There are already a few observations I have.
1. The iPad mini had a great form factor. It is compact and light, weighing about the same as my Nook Simple Touch Reader. The mini is very easy to bring around, as a result and comfortable in the hand. I put the mini in my bag and brought it to work today -- it was so light I barely noticed it.
2. For anyone with any device the uses iOS, the mini is a great tool. Everything between my iPhone and iPad is automatically synced, including apps, photos, my calendar, and task lists.
This is especially handly for pictures. In the past, I would take pictures on my iPhone and then have to upload them to Dropbox to get the on my netbook for posting on my blog. Now my photos from my iPhone automatically are on my iPad -- no extra effort needed.
3. I am considering using the iPad mini for reading. I do most of my reading on my Nook and get most of my books from the digital library, powered by Overdrive. When I want to get out a book for my Nook, I have to download the book from Overdrive into Adobe Digital Editions using my computer. I then have to hook up my Nook and transfer the file.
With the iPad mini, I can use the Overdrive app to take out and return books completely wirelessly -- no PC needed.
4. I am planning to use the iPad as my main computer, especially for blogging. So far, I have been experimenting with the app Blogsy -- the Blogger website doesn't allow me to pull from my photo roll and the Blogger app is terrible.
So far, Blogsy has been quite a bit buggy, despite good review on the App Store. I will have to play around to see if I keep it or go for another option.
All in all, I am very excited about the mini. I think it is without a doubt the best small tablet on the market with much more support than the Nook Tablet or Kindle Fire and much better hardware and software (including apps). I am excited to see more about what this device can do. I am ready for a life with just mobile devices.