It has only been a matter of weeks since the release of the ‘iPhone 5’ and Apple feel it’s already time for that “one more thing”. To cut straight to the point, it is likely to be the release of the ‘iPad Mini’. This rumor has been circulating for a while now and it has been pretty much confirmed by a press invitation that reads ‘We’ve got a little more to show you.’
It has been suggested that the upcoming event will be aimed at the educational market, an area that has become more important to Apple. The ‘Mini’ will be scaled down in size and also in terms of hardware, this should allow for a lower retail cost, which is more likely to interest students. You will be looking at around 8” screen diameter, and I will put my neck on the line here and say it will be without retina display. I have a feeling that the memory will be significantly reduced to 8GB un-configurable, maybe less. The reason being that the main goal for this device is a reader, not a multimedia hub. As for 3G/4G data plans, I doubt they will be an option. Designers have been quick to create mock-ups of the new device and most of these look impressive. However, I for one have been slightly disappointed in the new iPhone design and expect very little exterior change to the mini device.
Apple has done well over the last year by attracting publishers to join ‘iBooks’. They have also created the ‘iTunes U’ app that neatly keeps all your courses in one place. Additionally, you have ‘Newsstand’, an app that places newspapers and magazines all in one tidy rack. You cannot escape the growing e-reader market, and lets face it, who wants to carry book upon book?
Students, who have their hands on an iPad already, will undoubtedly appreciate its incredible usability. As a Literature student, my head is constantly in iBooks. More so now I can highlight paragraphs in many colours, make sticky notes and bookmark important pages. Everything about iBooks is well designed. But the most important thing is the amount of free books! There are tons of novels and short stories for free, fully illustrated, a bonus for students on a limited budget. I expect the new ‘mini’ iPad will push the development of iBooks further, making it one of the best ways for students to read. Other useful apps for study are ‘Notes’, which comes already installed on your device and is perfect for lectures or seminars. Meanwhile ‘Pages’ is Apple’s useful word processing application, perfect for applying the finishing touches before a deadline and offers printing via WIFI. However, if you’re a Windows fan, there is talk of a dedicated ‘Office’ app from Microsoft that is said to be in development.
To round up, fellow tech fans, make a note of the 23rd of October. The rumors and speculations will be confirmed/denied on this date as Apple hit the stage one more time; thankfully we do not have to wait long. A mini iPad looks to be another great (but obvious) addition to Apple’s line-up. It is likely to appeal to students for a number of reasons, not least it’s reduced size, making it very easy to carry around at all times. So, if the rumours are to be believed and the ‘iPad mini’ is real, lets hope for once, Apple give a ‘mini’ price tag.