Review: Surprise -- the iPad Mini doubles as business tablet

The iPad Mini's small size doesn't hinder many apps, whereas the fourth-generation iPad adds little value

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Small business tablet
Apple iPad Mini

Much more than a media tablet
When Apple announced the iPad Mini, I didn't really see the point. At best, I thought, it would be a portable iTunes appliance that would move past the book orientation of the Kindle-style media tablet. There's nothing wrong with that, but it didn't seem interesting. However, after spending several days with the iPad Mini, I get it.

Yes, it's a far superior media tablet than the Kindle Fire HD or Nexus 7 -- as Apple products tend to be when they enter an established market. And the iPad Mini outclasses both the 7-inch Nexus 7 and the 7-inch Galaxy Tab 2 7 as business tablets. But the iPad Mini is also every bit as good as a full-size iPad as a "regular" business tablet, at least if your apps are readable on it, as so many are. That surprised me. For people in highly portable field jobs, the Mini could make the regular iPad look as excessively bulky as the iPad compared to a laptop.

Meanwhile, the fourth-generation iPad is perfectly fine if you have an iPad 2 or earlier model (or no iPad at all). It's for all intents and purposes the same as the third-gen iPad, but sporting a new connector that will force you to buy adapters and new cables. Don't buy one if you have a third-gen model.

The iPad Mini has not created the frenzy in stores of earlier iPads, but I suspect as more people use it, the real value will be clear, and Apple will have again established a new category of must-have product in which it has no serious rivals. It's that good.

This article, "Review: Surprise -- the iPad Mini doubles as business tablet," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in mobile computing, read Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog at InfoWorld.com, follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter, and follow InfoWorld on Twitter.

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