The "new iPad" is soon expected to give way to the "new new iPad." Rumours, inside information, analysis and gossip point to a smaller iPad mini – apparently to be revealed the week after next – possibly with the aim of competing with the 7in form factor made popular by the Google Nexus 7 (and Kindle Fire).
You can certainly make the case from a business perspective. Over in the States, General Motors' Alfred Sloan developed the "ladder of success," which priced Chevrolet as the common man's car and the Cadillac as the automobile of the executive class. I doubt that Apple would carve out a separate brand, but it's been willing to use cheaper options – such as discounting older phones or making them free – to encourage more customers to enter the Apple ecosystem. An iPad mini would fit the bill.
From a user perspective, Apple has to realise that certain things don't work so well on a tablet. I'd argue, frankly, that a rear-mounted camera doesn't make a whole lot of sense – more on that in a moment.
There are certainly reasons for developing an iPad mini, most of them revolving around full-size tablet weaknesses such as weight and general awkwardness. It's undeniable that a smaller form factor like an iPhone or an iPad mini works better in certain cases. In this article, we'll detail six of these cases – starting with…
An obvious one, but as we’ve just mentioned, a smaller iPad would just generally be easier to carry about in terms of weight and size. It would be more likely to fit neatly into small bags, or indeed perhaps large pockets, and generally be more convenient and portable.
Augmented Reality is a lovely use for a smartphone or tablet, but lugging a full-size iPad around, then whipping it about to virtually explore the region around you, is just asking for trouble.
In addition to the risk of whacking folks walking past you, you're going to look like a bit of an idiot. With an iPad mini, this sort of usage would be more palatable, and less likely to get you into trouble clouting a passer-by.
A full-size iPad is essentially a two-handed device – great for browsing the web and watching video, but a bit awkward while trying to read Fifty Shades of Grey on a crowded train. That’s where an iPad mini would have another advantage.
Most driving games (not all) allow you to use the iPad or tablet as a steering wheel, turning the entire tablet to steer right and left.
While the additional screen size is a nice plus, there's the "gorilla arm" problem: The extra weight just gets tiring after a while. Less so with a lighter, more compact slate…
It's just awkward to hold up a hefty tablet to take a picture, and it draws attention to yourself in a way that an iPhone or other smartphone doesn't. (Perhaps that's why there are no camera settings on the new iPad). Look at the picture below from Imgur, with the following caption: "You thought people taking pictures on their phones at concerts was annoying? I present you with... iPad Man."
Some rumours have pointed to the fact that the iPad mini will lose the camera to keep costs down – so if you’re not a fan of tablet cameras, you won’t be paying for something you don’t use. Other speculation has indicated that there will be a rear-facing camera, but even if that’s the case, at least with the mini-slate’s more compact nature, you’d get away with some photo-snapping to a greater extent.
We can assume that a smaller iPad will be cheaper, right? That means more money to spend on apps, videos, food, and of course more beer. And who can argue with more beer?