iPad mini has had an interesting story. When Phil Schiller first showed us a look at it in 2012, I was connected immediately. Even though I did not have a retina screen, I was in love with it. It was a great size to read books, watch video and surf the web. In some ways, it showed us the way to bigger iPhones. Fast until 2018, and we're just on the 4th generation of iPad mini. The iPad Mini 4 was released over three years ago and we still do not have a replacement. Despite being three years old, it's still a great iPad.
To make the grade: Every Saturday, Bradley Chambers publishes a new article about Apple in Education. He has managed Apple devices in an educational environment since 2009. Through his experience of distributing and managing the 100's of Mac and 100's iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple's products work on a large scale, stories from IT management decks , and ways Apple can improve its products for students.
The iPad mini in education is something I will look at when we enter 2019, and rumors about a 5th generation version are unfortunate. I own three of them (for my kids), and my eldest has told me that he prefers it to the big iPads he uses at school. The IPad mini 4 is certainly not the most effective compared to the other iPads in the lineup (A8 chip and 2GB RAM), but it does not matter. For people who want the form factor, it's the perfect device. While there are rumors about the iPad mini 5 next year, we enter the Christmas season with the iPad line as follows: iPad mini, iPad 6 generation and iPad Pro (3 sizes). Where does the iPad mini fit in that setup? Is there something that K-12 schools should consider?
While I prefer a Kindle Paperwhite for long periods of reading, iPad mini is the best iPad for reading eBooks from Kindle app and Apple books. Its 7.9-inch size makes it easier to hold a hand relative to the 6th generation iPad. Although iPad Pro can run round the iPad mini 4 with hardware, I'd rather use iPad mini for books.
Looking forward to iPad mini 5, a killer app for Apple would be some hybrid e-ink mode where iPad becomes much more like a Kindle. When you read for long periods, Kindle is more comfortable on your eyes.
If I'm on a plane for five hours, it's always nice to have some episodes of a TV show to watch. Which iPad is best for this task? It's going to come down to personal preference, but I'll almost lean towards mini because it's easier to handle when it's cramped. The last thing I want to be on my flimsy plane is the big iPad. Like e-books, it's playing movies that the iPad mini 4 can handle easily, but the screen will probably not be as enjoyable as one of the newer models.
Note and Drawing
Currently the iPad mini 4 is going to be the worst device for these tasks. It comes down to Apple Pencil support. When the iPad mini 4 was released, the Apple pencils were announced at the same time. It was exclusive to the iPad Pro models, though. People have long been fantasized about using the iPad mini in a meeting to take notes with Apple pencil, but it is not possible now. If the iPad mini 5 supported the new Apple pencil, I think it would be a hit . From notes to drawing on the move, there can be a big hit among students and teachers.
What do I expect iPad Mini 5 to include?
Although I have no knowledge, I expect the iPad Mini 5 to look a lot like the current 6th generation iPad that was announced on Apple's Winter Learning Event. I expect it to include an A10 chip with support for Apple Pencil (all models). Would it be as nice as the iPad Pro? No, but that would be nothing. At pricing, I could argue for more angles. I'd expect it to be $ 329 with the 6th generation iPad, but I could also see it at $ 399 that match the price of the current iPad mini.
What is the role of the iPad mini in education?
The iPad mini is the most portable iPad Apple has released, but the trend in recent years has moved to larger devices. I think my answer will eventually come down to the price and what your own program will be. If your school plans to use it in specialized applications, and Apple will match the price of the 6th generation iPad, then it will be a good choice.
If Apple gets the $ 399 price, it will be hard to justify it over the sixth generation iPad. If Apple lands somewhere in the middle, I'll let the students and faculty help you decide. You can also watch a split rollout where the younger characters get the iPad mini, but the upper characters get the iPad with a larger screen.
The iPad mini, while not appreciated by anyone, is one of my favorite iPads in setup. It's extremely portable, easy to hold in one hand, but still gives the same experience you're used to when using an iPad. I hope Apple gives it the attention it deserves in 2019. My school is looking at a possible iPad update in the spring and a 5th generation iPad mini would be something I would consider.
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