Posted on November 19, 2012 by Steve Mu

It’s time to confess. I’ve never personally owned an iPad until this point. Not the original iPad, not the iPad 2, and not the “new iPad”. For the past year whenever I needed to design or test anything on the iPad, I’ve resorted to approaching my friends sheepishly (very, very sheepishly, with big watery eyes and all that), “Hey, you mind if I borrow your iPad for a bit…?”

I know, it’sĀ embarrassing, so why haven’t I purchased my own iPad until this week? Most importantly, why iPad Mini?

I was tempted by the first iPad, but at the time I also wanted to upgrade my iPhone. Although I was confident that Apple will sell a ton of these devices by the virtue of being Apple, I wasn’t so sure that it was going to stick around as a lifestyle product. By the time Apple released iPad 2, I think it was proven that this “tablet-thing” wasn’t going to be just a fad. iPad was becoming a whole new category of its own, and it’s going to cannibalize some existing market of computer sales.

Still, with a 10″ iPad, I felt like there were too much overlap between my daily usage of a laptop and the iPad. It’s too similar in size and profile to my Macbook Air, and I won’t be doing any work on it. So I fought off the siren’s call as I walked by one of the nearby Apple Store, each and every time for the past few years.

My resistance gave away with the iPad Mini. Curiosity struck when I was in the mall this past weekend and walked by the Apple Store. As I held the iPad Mini in my hand, I knew I had very little choice in the matter. The smaller form factor is significantly lighter, and it fits in my hand that much better. I no longer felt that this was a form factor that overlapped with my laptop. In a way, I thought that the iPad Mini got the balance of size and usability much better than its bigger brother.

Sure, it’s not a retina display, and I too, was disappointed at the price point when Apple made the announcement. However, I recall this conversation that I had with a non-techie friend (who is a pharmacist that works at a medical tech company, but not a techie):

Me: “Yeah, they announced the iPad Mini, it’s priced a little higher than I thought they would.”
Friend: “How much?”
Me: “$329.”
Friend: “Oh, isn’t that really cheap for an Apple product?”

The truth of the matter is: Outside of the tech bubble where we scrutinize over every little detail, the average consumers aren’t nearly as discerning. They look at the iPad Mini and just go, “OMG it’s so cute!” and “Wow that’s cheap!” They don’t care that iPad Mini doesn’t have a retina display, and they don’t care that it’s not $250 or $200 or whatever price point that pundits thought was necessary for iPad Mini to be a huge success.

In the end, neither did I.