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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The iPad Mini, Perfect for My Desert Island

If you're still on the fence about whether you should buy the iPad Mini, I have a tip for you: you're on the wrong fence.

At first, when I saw almost teeny little iPad I thought it was just another screen, another size, and another marketing ploy by Apple. But, it has quickly become my Desert Island Device.

Desert what device? Let me explain.

When I was younger my friends and I would sometimes sit around and discuss this difficult problem: If you had to take one device â€" yes, only one! â€" with you on a desert island, to live out your days, alone, which gadget would you bring? (We assumed, of course, that there is a power outlet on the island and a speedy and reliable Internet connection.)

For years it was my Nintendo Game Boy, then it became my computer, a Compaq PC. In 2007 my hypothetical Desert Island Device became the iPhone, and for years, it never changed. That is, until about two weeks ago when I started using the iPad Mini.

I was skeptical, to say the least when I saw this little gadget. As we all know, Apple sometimes gets a little excited about its latest wares. Every time the company puts out a new product it recycles the same trite statements about it. “It's the fastest laptop we've ever made,” “It's the best screen we've ever made,”or, more recently, “It's the best iPad we've ever made.”

I often roll my eyes at these statements. Marketing ploys by the kings of marketing. Yet when it comes to the iPad Mini, I have to agree with Apple: It is, by far, the best iPad the company has ever made. Even more, it's the best tablet and reading device anyone has ever made.

Why? Because it is truly portable, while maintaining its speed, and remaining in the iOS app ecosystem. (I used it for two weeks and my concerns about the screen's quality are completely irrelevant.)

The first iPad, although revolutionary and a long list of other wonderful adjectives, was never really a portable device. It weighed 1.5-pounds, not much less than the 11-inch Macbook Air. Because of its heft, it made prolonged reading or game-play feel like doing reps at the gym. The second iPad, though slightly lighter, was still too big. I found myself leaving it at home because it felt more like a coffee table book than a portable device.

Not the iPad Mini. Because of its size, the iPad Mini, like paperback books or magazines that roll-up, can fit in most jacket pockets. As a result, just as I used to with print books, I now find myself throwing the iPad Mini in my pocket when I'm heading for lunch, coffee, or out for the evening.

So, for now, I have a new Desert Island Device: a 7.9-inch tablet. And yes, I'd even leave my smartpho ne at home in place of it.