I might have been wrong about the iPad mini. While I still think Apple should have put on their big boy pants, and given it a higher resolution display, I played with one in an AT&T store the other day. It was pretty cool. Here’s why:
The display fills the device. That’s it. Seriously, the full size iPad has a huge bezel around the edge, like an extra inch in all directions. While Apple loves to tell you how thin the latest generation of iPad is, they never talk about the 800-pound bezel in the room. The iPad mini has a quarter inch bezel on the sides, and enough room for a camera and a home button on the top and bottom, respectively. It may not seem like a big deal, but it makes the screen feel bigger. When I hold an iPad, or a Kindle Fire HD, I spend a lot of time wishing the screen were bigger or the bezel was smaller.
Seriously, the only difference between a smartphone and a tablet is the battery and the display, so why is it that Samsung can make a Galaxy Note II with a screen that goes almost edge to edge, and their Tab II has a stupid, fat ring around the display? Apple is proving that, in a market that is still dominated by psychological tricks in marketing and design, the product with the better eyefeel* will win.
The resolution is still underwhelming, but I suddenly find myself almost wanting a dumb, gimmicky Apple product for the same reason that I almost want a Galaxy Note, less plastic, MOAR SCREEN!
*Eyefeel is not how something looks, but how it feels, as a result of how it looks. Remember, Mr. Webster, you heard it here first.