iPad mini – hands on

Yesterday I (finally) got to try out an iPad mini. The “sorry, we’re sold out” sign outside the Apple Store suggests that it can’t be all that bad. And I don’t think it is.

The size is really nice. It’s small enough to hold in one hand, but the screen is definitely big enough to interact with. It does indeed remind me of the 11″ MacBook Air with its diddy but high density screen, which allows you to get everything done just as well. I don’t think it would work so well as a shared device though, but who’s to say. I’ve done some work with kids using iPod touches one between two and that seemed to work fine.

It does remind me of the iPod touch in terms of portability but without the use restrictions. I’ve heard people talk about using 1:1 iPod touches in schools, but to me there didn’t seem to be so much you could do on it. Whereas an iPad mini suggests many opportunities.

Other pluses:

  • Better camera
  • Lovely build quality
  • Super light
  • Great price

Anyway, enough of my sales pitch…

BETT Brewings

Just got back from BETT so thought I would share some of my observations and thoughts.

  • Insane numbers of new ‘Interactive Whiteboards’ were on offer. Some boasted the ability to interact on any projected surface, others were just enormous touchscreen LCD displays. Perhaps the ‘SMART’ stranglehold is loosening? Certainly the market seems ripe for disruption.
  • Many stalls were running Macs, even if not particularly selling Apple products. Saw quite a few Keynote presentations running too…
  • iPads seemed to be the prize of choice in competitions.
  • Not a huge amount of software on sale but certainly lots of ‘cloud’ or web offerings.
  • Multiple laptop/iPad trolleys/flight cases. Expensive though!

We also visited several demos of iPads and what you can do with them. There are lots of cool apps out there that I didn’t know about so will hopefully get to try them out soon. 1-1 deployment seems to be the holy grail, but many schools are settling for a class set that can be shared around a school. The demos were not always of the highest quality though; perhaps I’m spoilt by watching too many flawless Stevenote software demos?

Wireless access for iPads is an important consideration as well. Running a couple of devices from a cheap wifi point is one things, but 30 devices trying to access the network is a whole new ball game. It seems like it is very easy to spend £10k on doing the job properly! Needs more research…

I am interested what else I’ll learn at the Apple Education Summit tomorrow. It will certainly be fun to try things out!