Mini Musings

After months, nay YEARS, of speculation by Apple Watchers, a smaller version of the iPad finally arrived last month. The iPad Mini is just like the regular iPad, except it’s smaller — a 7.9-inch screen compared to the 9.7-inch on the iPad Maxi.

While the higher-than-expected price point ($329 for the 16GB WiFi-only version and northward from there) and delay of the WiFi + Cellular models — not to mention a big nasty hurricane on the East Coast a few days before — made for mini-lines at the Apple Store on Release Day, the new product was mostly well-reviewed.

Here are a few takes from around the Web:

And Gizmodo gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars with a number of specific gripes, including the less-than-Retina display, the slower processor and the aforementioned price point.

Let’s take a ride in the History Helicopter for an overview and speculation on why the wee tablet may be a bit underpowered: The the iPad Mini seems to be following the path Apple took with the original iPod Touch back in 2007. Start with lower-quality components (no camera or a really lousy camera, slower processor, etc.) on the first couple generations of the device just to get it out there. Then march along a clear upgrade path with a handy supply of parts that have already been in the iPhone for a few years until you get to a more useful version of the device that inspires people to either buy it at last — or upgrade from their early-adopter models with the wussy specs.

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