iPad Mini – One Week On…

It is a week since the launch of the iPad mini. Even though this is a short period of time, it is long enough to tell me I was wrong with some of my predictions!

As we have focused on putting iPads into the schools in our system (approximately 500 that I am aware of), we have gathered a lot of information. Teachers and students love the versatility, the ease of use, the integration of tools (camera, microphone etc), and the quality of apps. How much of this would transfer over to a smaller screen and smaller device was a concern.

We have yet to put the iPad Mini into classrooms (we are two weeks away from this delivery!), so I did the next best thing and gave one to my own four-year-old iPad user. It was immediately apparent the the size was no issue to her. In fact, the way she was able to work with it showed the smaller size to be advantageous. When asked, she had no doubt that the mini was her preference – “it is just more my size, Daddy”.

So the question became my own use. I have an iPad 3 as well as an iPhone and now the mini. Where does the mini fit into this equation? Initially I thought the mini might replace my iPhone, especially after I configured the ‘Talkatone’ app to take care of my phone calls. What I have found a week on, though, is that I am consistently using the mini instead of my iPad 3. The size is a partial reason (you have no idea how heavy the iPad 3 feels now!), but it is more about the functionality. In fact, more about the fact that I have lost no noticeable functionality with the mini and feel it is even more mobile than devices I have used before. As evidenced by the fact I am writing this on the mini, I have found typing to be no issue either.

The big test will come when we put it in student hands. We will be placing 20 of them alongside existing iPads to make a side-by-side comparison. We want feedback from teachers and students. If my personal experience is any indicator, any concerns about size are unfounded and students will love this device as much as they do the iPad 2.

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Posted on November 9, 2012, in Thoughts and Questions. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I appreciate your review. I am considering the iPad mini for my sister in law, who is in my care. She is an adult with developmental disabilities and has had trouble using a laptop on her own. I think the mouse is too complicated for her fine motor skills, plus the concept of clicking a mouse to perform a function adds an extra step to her processing, and causes confusion. I am encouraged that your young daughter has found this device easy to use. Have you had any problems with her accidentally erasing apps or changing settings? Are there ways of locking these? Would you recommend the mini over the larger iPad for an adult with developmental disabilities?

    • Hi Leah,

      Good questions. I agree that fine motor skills are an impediment to using the mouse, as well as the abstract nature of moving one object to control another.

      I think one of the reasons my daughter is having no issue with the iPad Mini is that she has very strong fine motor skills. The certain settings can be locked, and the process of deleting apps is such that it is tough to do by accident.

      If fine motor is an issue, I would suggest the bigger screen may be better, not because of any performance or app features, but purely the icons are bigger and clearer and offer greater margin for error, whereas the smaller screen does require a little more precision.

      Hope that helps!

      Chris

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