Do You Want an iPad Mini? I Don’t Know… Maybe.

Poster for the new all-iPad mismatched buddy cop movie.

Yesterday, Apple announced not one, but two new iPads. Lost in the rush to write about the iPad mini was the new iPad (4th generation,) hereto after called the iPad 4. But wait, didn’t they just start making iPad 3’s a little while ago? Yes, earlier this year. The 4 is basically the same externally, but it has a chip inside that’s twice as fast. I have an iPad 3 and I think it’s plenty fast. An iPad 4 must be a real screamer.

Okay, so for $500 you can get the new warp-capable iPad 4, and it’s got front and back cameras, a retina display, Siri and voice dictation, and is twice as fast as the iPad of spring.

Say hello to my littler friend.

Or, you can spend $330 and get an iPad mini, which has the same front and back cameras, the same memory, the same Siri, but a smaller screen (that’s not retina,) and the spring iPad’s slower yet super-fast processor.

Assuming you have some cash sitting around, or a kid (in which case an iPad should be mandatory,) which one should you get? Well, to me, the regular iPad’s screen is just the right size. And the iPad itself isn’t too big or too small. When I read a book on it, i feel like I’m reading a hard-cover edition. But I think with the mini, it would feel like reading a paperback. I personally don’t need the reduced size. I think the regular iPad is plenty light and easy to carry.

Okay, but what about that $170 price difference? That’s not chump change. Well, there is another way to get a full-sized iPad without the full-sized price. One of the best-kept secrets in the Apple universe is the Refurb Store. Sometimes new Macs or iPads are returned for various reasons. It could be a hardware problem, or maybe the buyer was fickle. The machines are repaired, anything that’s broken is replaced, and the items are put up for sale in the Refurb Store at a reduced price, but with the full new product warranty, and with all the new product cables and such.

As I write this, you can get an iPad 3 for $380 on the Refurb Store. That’s only $50 more than the mini for an iPad that’s basically the same as the new one, but not as fast, though still super-fast.

What to do then? You can get a new iPad 4 for $500, or a refurb iPad 3 for $380, or a new iPad mini for $330. As I said, I think the regular iPad is the perfect size, and that the mini is a bit too small. But maybe you don’t feel that way. Or maybe you think that the smaller size means it’s easy to stick in your purse or wherever. Sure, why not? Ultimately, you should stop by a store (an Apple Store is best, as they’ll know what they’re talking about) and look at the two sizes in person. Then you’ll know for sure.

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