Why I Want an iPad Mini

I want an iPad mini. The device doesn’t even exist, but I want one. This post isn’t about whether the device is real, or when/if it will be announced or even what exactly it might look like. Instead this post is just about why I want one.

The iPad is a great device, and it excels at several things. It’s great for reading websites/RSS. It’s great for watching video. With a keyboard, it’s great for writing. But therein lies the problem. The onscreen keyboard is a terrible experience for me. With the exception of sending an iMessage or typing in a Google search, it really isn’t usable. My attempts to tweet, e-mail or blog with it have left me completely unable to succeed without my ZAGGfolio keyboard case.

As a result, my iPad has become basically an alternative to my MacBook Air. I generally make a decision about which of the two to bring based on several factors:

  1. Do I need to do any writing/coding/e-mail?
  2. If so, what kind and how much?
  3. Am I going to be in a small space like a car or airplane?
  4. How long will it be before I will be able to charge it?
  5. Is their WiFi readily available?

When it’s all said and done though, I usually make a decision to take one device or the other. And sometimes that leaves me in a position where I wish I had the device I didn’t bring.

The iPhone is also a great device. It’s probably my favorite device. It’s very much like the iPad sans keyboard, in the sense that it’s pretty good for reading but pretty horrible when you need to do some writing. I can get by with the touch keyboard most of the time for Tweets and the occasional e-mail, but things break down when I need to write anything longer than a sentence or two.

The problem is, if I drew a line with a scale from 1 to 100, and put the iPhone at 1 and MacBook Air at 100, the iPad would end up around 75-80. In a perfect world, it would be a lot closer to 50. That is where I am hoping the iPad mini would come in.

I would really like to see the best qualities of the iPhone and iPad combined into one device. It should be smaller than the current iPad so that it’s easier to hold with one hand, but bigger than the iPhone so that it’s easier to type on (bigger keys is important, but not so big that much of the screen is obstructed). About the size of the Kindle Touch (6 inch screen) wouldn’t be bad. A little bigger might be OK. Price would obviously be important. At $200 it’s a slam dunk. At $300 I would at least have to think about it. Having some sort of built-in cellular data would be nice too.

That device is the one that fills the void between a Mac and an iPhone. That is the one that makes sense to take along with those two devices instead of in place of one of them. That is the device that I can throw in my bag no matter where I am going and not feel like it’s too much.

Don’t get me wrong, the iPad is a great device. I think for many people it could replace the Mac for 95% of the things they do. Someday it might be able to replace the Mac for me. But in the meantime it fits awkwardly in my workflow and doesn’t fill the void I really have. Hopefully the iPad mini will.