The iPad mini, announced on Tuesday at an Apple event in San Jose, Calif., is the hot new tablet on the block. You may very well be excited about Apple's pint-sized new tablet -- so excited, you'll rush out and do something foolish, like stand in line to buy a gadget you can pre-order online.
If that's the case, you might want to read this first.
Along with the 7.9-inch tablet, Apple also announced the fourth generation of its 9.7-inch iPad. Before you forsake large tablets forever, know that the new regular-sized iPad boasts some features that make it a better buy for certain people (yes, even when it starts at $499 and the iPad mini starts at $329).
Check out the gallery below to see 5 reasons why a big iPad might suit your needs more than a mini. To see how the smaller iPad stacks up against rival 7-inchers from Amazon, Google and Barnes & Noble, take a look at our handy spec chart. Then be sure to check out which feature might sink the iPad mini.
Let's start with the painfully obvious: Though Apple's Phil Schiller assured us that that "iPad mini is every inch an iPad" on Tuesday, it still is 1.7 inches smaller, corner to corner. The mini's screen displays web content, images and text at a smaller scale than its predecessors (and has to do so at a lower resolution than on more recent full-sized iPads). That's going to turn some consumers off to an iPad mini before they even step foot in an Apple Store. CORRECTION: An earlier version of this slide incorrectly stated that the iPad mini is 2.2 inches smaller than its larger cousin.
Speaking of resolution: The new "big" iPad has Retina display, and the iPad Mini doesn't. Retina is the brand name Apple put on its LCD screens with resolution so dense the human eye can't see individual pixels. The fourth-generation iPad's disaply qualifies as "Retina," with 2,048 by 1,536 pixels. The iPad mini does not, with 1,024 by 768 pixels. Mini owners will have to suffer through the same screen resolution that the iPad 2 and original iPad had. The horror!
Isn't it what's on the inside that matters? The "big" iPad sports an Apple A6X chip, while the iPad mini has the Apple A5 chip, the one used in the iPad 2. The tech blog Gizmodo warns that "the iPad mini's processor is a relatively underpowered dual-core A5, compared to the Fire HD's 1.2GHz dual-core OMAP and Nexus 7's quad-core Tegra 3." Thus, the iPad mini may run noticeably slower than not only the 4th-generation iPad, but also the 7-inch tablets it's competing against. Even Apple admits that "new A6X chip inside iPad is up to twice as fast as the previous-generation A5X chip." And that A5X chip is more advanced than the A5 the iPad mini has.
If you were hoping to be able to pull the SIM card out of your old iPad to use for data on a cellular-enabled iPad Mini, you're out of luck. "iPad mini is not compatible with existing micro-SIM cards" used in other iPads, Apple's website reads. The 9.7-inch fourth-generation iPad doesn't have the same compatibility problem; the micro-SIM from your other iPads should work just fine with the new full-sized tablet.
Many of the cases and screen covers that you used for your old, 9.7-inch iPads will fit Apple's full-sized, fourth-generation iPad. This isn't the case for the 7.9-inch iPad mini, for which you'll have to buy a whole new batch of accessories, including an adaptor that will connect the mini's Lightning charger port into peripheral devices that were designed to fit Apple's older charger port. Suddenly that $329 starting price for the iPad -- high as it is for a 7-inch tablet -- isn't as appealing.