Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday Gadget Close-Up: iPad mini

With its 7.9-inch screen, Apple’s iPad Mini could be just the right size for your library’s OverDrive collection. Last month, we previewed some of the “Hottest Devices for Library eBooks,” and throughout the holiday season we’ll be spotlighting the best gadgets for accessing your library’s OverDrive collection.  Today, we focus on the iPad mini. –Ed.

It’s bigger than an iPhone, but smaller than an iPad—it’s iPad mini. With a 7.9-inch screen, this device shouldn’t give you any visibility issues, but it also won’t be a burden in your hand.

Let’s get the boring, technical stuff out of the way first. Dual-core A5 processor? Check. Fingerprint resistant coating? Check. 1024×768 resolution at 163 pixels per inch (ppi)? You know it. Wi-Fi only and cellular options? Yes, indeed. OK, maybe the wireless options aren’t so boring.  And with cellular service available via AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon, you’ve got portable internet in your hands.

Let’s talk fun options. The iPad minis come in either “Black & Slate” or “White & Silver,” both with the trademark shiny Apple logo on the back. Storage is divvied up into three sizes; 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, with the size driving the price. Just want to cruise the internet a bit, and maybe watch some videos or listen to music?  $329 will get you the 16GB model and plenty of mileage on the web. An extra $100 added for each storage tier gives you 32GB at $429 and 64GB at $529.

Another thing worth noting is the enhancement to the navigation, with respect to the size of the device.  Apple has taken care to move the on-screen keyboard toward the middle of the display, just about where your thumbs would be while holding the device. You also have the option to split the keyboard for a more comfortable typing experience, giving this little iPad a fairly satisfying form factor. One thing we’ve noticed: the back of the new Black & Slate version seems to show more fingerprints than the silver-backed iPads we’ve all used before.

What else can this little machine do? How about OverDrive Media Console? As with iPhones and full-sized iPads, iPad mini supports OMC for iOS, giving you quick and easy access to your library’s eBook and audiobook collection. The experience of downloading and installing the app is the same as on the bigger Apple tablet, and the navigation through your library’s collection is equally smooth. Reading eBooks is pretty easy on the eyes with the gentle display, and this iPad can handle audiobooks, too.

Apple may be late to the 7-inch tablet game, but they showed up ready to play. The late, great Steve Jobs may have said “No” to the iPad Mini, but if you’re a fan of Apple devices, and you want something smaller, but not hand-sized, you’ll want to say “Yes.”

Justin Noszek is a Support Specialist at OverDrive.

No comments: