Is the iPad Mini the education tablet?

After months, if not years, full of rumors and speculation from tech journalists, bloggers and pundits alike, Apple has finally announced a smaller iPad. The iPad mini, as it’s being called, weighs in at just 0.68 pounds (0.69 for the LTE version). The screen measures 7.9″ across, and the entire thing is only 7.2mm thick. Apple claims it’s as thin as a pencil and weighs the same amount as a tablet of paper. It’s tiny.
Ranging in storage sizes from 16GB to 32GB to 64GB, with a Wi-Fi only, or a Wi-Fi + Cellular model. Pricing for the base 16GB Wi-Fi model starts at $329, and maxes out at $659 for a 64GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model.

I realize that’s a lot of numbers without much context. In comparison, the standard iPad Apple has sold up until this point has had a 9.7″ screen. The total weight and thickness has varied from generation to generation, with the 4th generation (yes, a new “bigger” iPad was announced as well) coming in at 1.46 pounds and 9.4mm.

Compare the iPad mini to a couple Android based tablets, the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire, which both have a 7″ screen. According to Apple, the additional 0.9″ in diagonal screen real estate actually translates to a screen that is one-third larger. Apple’s math, not mine.

The 4th generation iPad announced during the event was with minor updates to the processor and to incorporate the Lightning adapter first introduced with the iPhone 5. No design changes were introduced, it’s all under the hood. Although, this change comes just half a year after the 3rd generation iPad was introduced, which is sure to upset a few owners.

Back to the iPad mini, the Wi-Fi only model was made available for pre-order on Friday October, 26th and will be on store shelves starting November 2nd. The Cellular version will begin shipping two weeks later.

With the huge fan base and adoption rate of Apple products into classrooms, it’s clear the iPad mini is made with education in mind. The iBooks application, which can provide class textbooks for students, along with iBooks Author (for making said textbooks) both received updates at the same time the iPad mini was announced. The updates, along with a more affordable iPad, make it easier for schools, parents and students to adopt and implement iPads in the classroom.

Whether or not Apple can do just that is yet to be seen.


By Jason Cipriani

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