A light rant on the Mini situation

Discussion in 'iPad' started by IJBrekke, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. IJBrekke macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2009
    Long Beach, CA
    So, I picked up a Mini 4 yesterday as part of the Best Buy sale to replace a Mini 2. The Mini 2 is on iOS9 and is in perfect condition, but as you would imagine it's getting a little pokey with certain websites and tasks. The Mini 4 seems like a pretty straightforward swap that, after selling the Mini 2, will probably be less than $200 to me. It's a very low-cost move. For reference, I also own an iPhone 6S.

    After a few hours of work it's now set up to my liking and I've been using it normally. Is it better?.....yeah, I guess. It's slightly faster for certain things and doesn't refresh pages/programs as often when switching around. Touch ID is nice to have, but going back to the 1st generation of this technology is a letdown. The color accuracy of the screen is better, but it didn't really bother me on the Mini 2. It's slightly lighter, again, a non-issue for me.

    In reality, it feels like 3 year old tech, which it is. It's less slow...but still kind of slow. It lags in spots that a brand new device just shouldn't, in my opinion. The A8 really isn't much faster and feels like it will struggle with iOS11. The current jump from the Mini 2 is, in my opinion, quite underwhelming.

    This bothers me most because: A) I've used my wife's Air 2 extensively and vastly prefer the Mini size, and B) Despite how cheap this upgrade is, I am willing and able to pay significantly more to get a better product in this size. Apple is attempting to force a changeover to the 9.7" size and I'm not interested. With money as no object, I am using the fastest and best iPad Mini available and it's still kind of slow.

    I don't play graphic-intensive games, I don't use an iPad for productivity, and I wouldn't choose to multitask on this small screen. All I'm asking for is a handheld couch web browser with up-to-date specs in 2017. Something that doesn't disappoint compared to a nearly 2 year old iPhone. What the Mini 2 was when it came out, basically. Is this so difficult?

    I'm aware that I'm far from the first person on this forum to rant about this topic. Experiencing this gap in the market first-hand, even after reading about it extensively, is still frustrating. It's an absolute shame to see a well-loved product line disappear for no apparent reason. There's a good chance the Mini 4 goes back because I'm not sure it's even worth the sub-$200 cost to switch.

    Apple, if you're reading this, please update your product so you can take (and keep) more of my money. Rant over.
  2. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    I have my Mini 4 on the iOS 11 Beta. Runs fine. I also had a Mini 2 like you and jumped on another mini 4 to replace the mini 2. It didn't take long to sell the mini 2 on eBay either so I'm very happy about the upgrade at this price.

    I hear you and at full price the mini is priced ridiculously. But for reading, as a remote, the mini's size can't be beat. I don't really noticed the lagginess much. I did in the mini 2. It was getting very annoying on iOS 10. Hopefully we'll get an all new mini next year and they don't kill the line.
  3. aevan macrumors 68030


    Feb 5, 2015
    I would love a "Mini Pro" with Pencil support. I could use it to read, write notes and sketch ideas while using the 12.9" for real stuff.
  4. Freakonomics101 macrumors 68000


    Nov 6, 2014
    I have a Verizon Mini 4 I’m currently trying to sell and I have tested it out on iOS 10 and it seems to run pretty well. My fiancé had a Mini 2 on iOS 10 and that lagged, pretty much as bad as my old iPad Air. From my own standpoint, Apple would have released a Mini 5 by now if they wanted to. I do think it would be a nifty idea to release the same product but give it a different name like an iPad Pro 7.9 or something around that screen size. Would it be a hot seller? Not sure. Apple would have to take that chance and find out for themselves.
  5. onepoint macrumors 6502a


    Aug 3, 2010
    Typing this from my Mini 4 at 36k feet. This size is perfect for on-the-go consumption, browsing, etc. and it’s running pretty well on iOS 11 Public Beta.

    I also have a Mini 2 and find the screen technology (anti-reflection and lamination) to be my favorite part of the upgrade. And I’d absolutely love to see an upgraded model, whether Pro or not. I would buy it.
  6. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    Not surprising it already feels sluggish considering Apple gimped it with an inferior GPU compared to then 1 year old Air 2 when it came out. Like you, I almost jumped on likely the last iPad mini. I find it the best size when going somewhere local, but the too slow CPU/gpu in 2017 had me leaving Best Buy without a new iPad mini. I'll shoulder on with my ancient mini 2
  7. joeblow7777 macrumors 603

    Sep 7, 2010
    I can't say that I have any complaints about the performance of my Mini 4 on 10.3.3, but I don't have a better iPad to compare it to. But when you think about it, the only internal difference between the non-Pro iPad that came out just a few months ago is a one generation older processor. The Mini 4 even has a more premium display. I really don't think it's held up badly.

    That said, I would still love to see a Mini 5/Mini Pro.
  8. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    I believe that Apple is letting the mini die :(.
  9. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    Heat and battery life, unfortunately. I would've bought an A9-based mini 4 for $499 had one been released back in March 2016.
  10. SusanK macrumors 68000

    Oct 9, 2012
    I bought a mini 4 yesterday at Best Buy. I bought it for the car so it's not a big deal to me. I agree that Apple tries to force an *upgrade* to a larger device. Too bad Apple can't innovate anymore.

    I often think of how I looked forward to a new purchase in the past. I miss Steve.
  11. Freakonomics101 macrumors 68000


    Nov 6, 2014
    Me too. Apple has been losing its magic touch.
  12. justinTlME macrumors 6502


    Jul 21, 2014
    I just got the new 12.9" pro last month, and then with the Best Buy sale last week I opted to sell my mini 2 and get a mini 4 yesterday.

    I do not agree with you though on Apple lacking innovation. We are at a point in the tablet life cycle that there isn't much else you can do. We all miss Steve, but him being alive wouldn't change the product offering. If anything, if he was alive we wouldn't have minis or massive pros. We would have one size.
  13. SusanK macrumors 68000

    Oct 9, 2012
    Interesting post. It could be that I'm just spoiled from years of Apple goodness. I talked to a friend last week who recently got her first MBA. She is walking on air. Another person recently got her first iPhone. She is thrilled. Said she will never consider Android again.

    We started with Macs forever ago. I'm spoiled. :)
  14. Dunbar, Jul 23, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017

    Dunbar macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Unfortunately for Mini lovers not enough people were buying them for Apple to bother updating the hardware. I bought a Mini 4 at the end of 2015 when BB ran a holiday sale. At the time I had recently upgraded from the iPhone 6+ to the 6S+. I definitely noticed the slower A8 processor and slower Touch ID response on the Mini 4. It was hard for me to imagine living with that performance for 3-4 years so I ended up returning it within the 30 day return window. My parents got a Mini 4 this year and they love it so I think it is very much a case of personal preference (I've always been a stickler for performance.)

    I can see the appeal of the Mini form factor when you're holding it in your hands. What has really changed how I use iPads is the Pro models with the Apple Smart Keyboard. The Pro 10.5 with ASK is a killer portable device IMO but I don't see myself holding it in my hands like a e-book very often.
  15. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    This is what i initially wanted prior to buying my 10.5.

    After using the 10.5, i can see why they did not do it.

    Using the pencil, even the 10.5 is borderline for being a little cramped, IMHO.

    As per the above poster, the smart keyboard also wouldn't be possible in the size it is, with a mini.

    I suspect that the larger iPhone plus cannibalised the mini to the extent that Apple didn't see the point in refreshing it.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 23, 2017 ---
    The next round of innovation is going to be in AR.

    The phone doesn't have the battery capacity or CPU/GPU power to handle this yet (IMHO, apple could prove me wrong but in any case an iPad has stronger hardware and bigger battery so would be preferable anyway i believe). A macbook or desktop isn't portable enough.

    I suspect Apple is going to release a wireless headset/glasses setup that can work from the iPad in your backpack to do decent AR. Even the iPad is going to become less of an iPad in the future and is going to evolve into something else. It's just a matter of time.
  16. joeblow7777 macrumors 603

    Sep 7, 2010
    For me, comfortably holding it in my hand is exactly what a tablet is for. If the best way to use it is set up at a desk with a keyboard attached, I might as well be using a laptop.

    It seems to me that the main reason why Apple is downplaying or outright ending the Mini line is because they are pushing the idea of tablets replacing laptops. I used to think that was the ultimate goal of a tablet as well, and to that end the Surface Pro seemed like the perfect device. But now I appreciate tablets as separate devices filling a niche between a smartphone and a laptop, but not needing to replace either, which is how Steve Jobs introduced the first iPad.
  17. danny842003 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2017
    It seems to me the main reason Apple are ending the mini line is the number of people who want it are diminishing.
    I have a mini 2 and loved it for a long time but found myself using it a lot less when I jumped from 5s to 6s. I intend on getting a 7s plus (or the equivalent) this year and I imagine I would use a mini iPad even less than previous.
    Even the 9.7" iPad apple has gone for price point rather than trying to build the best iPad it could as they know the demand has reduced for them.
    People who want a top of the range tablet will happily shell out for the pro. Between larger phones and cheaper larger tablets I just don't think its a product they see a big enough return in.
  18. joeblow7777 macrumors 603

    Sep 7, 2010
    It may be a bit of a chicken and the egg scenario. Are they not updating the Mini because not enough people are buying it, or are not enough people buying it because it hasn't been updated? I recall seeing relative sales figures that showed that the Mini 4 sold quite well compared to other iPads (better than the first 12.9" Pro) in its debut quarter.
  19. Relentless Power, Jul 24, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017

    Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    This is where I have to disagree. I'm Not being dismissive of your opinions and I can understand that Apple can't meet everyone's expectations with certain pieces of hardware being updated or more specifically, the iPad mini. But for those who say Apple "Lost its touch" or "Can't innovate" truly don't understand what Innovation means. Apple makes the best products on the market and some of the best user experiences with iOS, but if Apple's goals don't align with someone else's, that means they can't "Innovate?"

    So what other electronic manufactures are "Innovating" in the tablet market that can supersede Apple? Plus, we can't rule out the iPad mini is ultimately not going to be updated in the future, it's just stagnant at the moment.
  20. danny842003 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2017
    Thats a possible situation, I think apple is certainly seeing it with the Mac Mini and Pro at this point. I would buy a mac mini tomorrow if it the current offering wasn't worse than the ones from 2012.
    Having better sales does not equate to a better profit margin though so a like for like comparison is useless without us knowing how apple are calculating where to spend the R&D dollars.
  21. Ghost31 macrumors 68020


    Jun 9, 2015
    Most people don't see a reason to have the mini as it's just slightly larger than their plus sized phones. I can see why it's dying
  22. joeblow7777 macrumors 603

    Sep 7, 2010
    It's more than slightly larger, and it supports tablet apps and features that a phone doesn't. That will be even more apparent with iOS 11.

    And there's all the people who don't have Plus sized phones.
  23. danny842003 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2017
    Then I think apple would rather they just purchased the plus size than another tablet. Again I'm not anti mini I still use my 2, but it is dying as far as i can tell.
  24. Ghost31 macrumors 68020


    Jun 9, 2015
    It's all perception man. I had a plus sized iPhone and a normal sized iPad Air 2 for awhile and I didn't see the reason to even go from my phone to THAT because the difference in size didn't seem that big. But if we're talking a mini here, even less so.

    But that's just me. And personally I wouldn't find iPad apps very useful on such a small screen. I need that extra space to get things done
  25. Asp09 macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2017
    Yes, as much as I like the idea of a Pencil-enabled Mini, I also have doubts about how viable it would be in practise. I too found the 10.5 a bit tight for pencil use compared to the 12.9 when I tried both in store.

    I'd love to be wrong about that, though!

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