A quick comparison between my Apple iPad Mini 3 and iPad Air

I’ve had my new Apple iPad Mini 3 (64GB, cellular model) for a couple of weeks now and it has become my favourite iOS device (I have an iPhone 5S (16GB) and iPad Air (16GB, wi-fi model)). Compared to the iPad Air the iPad Mini 3 feels better, more balanced when handheld. The iPad Air does have a nice big screen but otherwise iPad Mini 3 is better in every other respect.

The upgrade (or in some people’s eyes, “downgrade”) is one I like. Even though the internal hardware performance specifications are the same, the extra hardware are truly welcome.

Here is my list of things I really like about my iPad MIni 3:

  1. Touch ID
  2. 64GB (my iPad Air had only 16GB)
  3. cellular model (my Air was only a wi-fi model)
  4. better battery life
  5. form factor

Because the two tablet’s performances are virtually identical it is only the hardware that make the Mini 3 better. Let me talk about why each of the above points were important.

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iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 2 (not 3)

Apple this week announced their new iPad (and iMac) lineup. The most significant addition was the thinner top end iPad Air 2 with its new processors (A8X and M8), communications (wi-fi ac supported) and upgraded camera. But the iPad Mini 3 announcement was essentially a name upgrade with no change in form factor and/or hardware except for the addition of Touch ID.

I welcome the Touch ID which makes projector use much better. Up until now I have had to disconnect or blank out the projector screen whenever I needed to enter my security password. However I do not think this single hardware inclusion is worth the USD100–150 more for the same “older” versions that do not have this one functionality.

So save yourself a lot of money by purchasing the iPad Mini 2.

The iPad Air 2 however is a different beast with some new core hardware. So there is no contention as to which to buy if you need the larger form factor of the iPad Air. The upgrade is significant in taking advantage of the latest technology.

So if you have deep pockets then iPad Air 2 is the one to buy.

List of JIS layout compatible apps for iPad

I have compiled two lists of apps which I use which are compatible and not compatible with JIS layout keyboards. It can be found here.

(Not) using the Apple Wireless Keyboard (Japanese layout) with iPad Air

I keep coming back to this issue of pairing and setting up an external foreign language external keyboard with the iPad Air. The problem is not that it outright rejects such a keyboard but that it depends on a particular app’s ability to recognise it or not.

Strangely enough Apple’s very own wireless keyboard for its own desktop computer does not work alway recognise the keyboard. Apple of course seems to know how to make its own software to work but that is lost on third party app makers so that buying apps which rely on keyboard input (productivity apps, for example) could mean your input method may have to forego keyboard hardware (or else rely on your memory of where certain punctuations are).

Of course if you are using the virtual keyboard this is not a problem. But that makes my purchase of an external keyboard (an Apple one at that) seem downright silly and a waste of money.

Still nothing beats a physical keyboard for the input experience which why we still want to buy one. The ability to be wireless is again part of the deal. The hardware – an iPad with its minimalistic external keyboard – is just so sexy.

So why is it that Apple can’t get the software or OS right, least of all its own?

Wait for the full Microsoft Surface with Windows 8

Apparently the released version of the Microsoft Surface version this week isn’t the full version.

The version now is more like a tablet (example: Apple iPad) with an app store. This means it cannot do productivity stuff yet. But according to this video the 2013 version will be running Windows 8 (think next version of Windows 7) which means you can install some if not all programs you use on a notebook or PC computer. It can do this because of the higher end processor, Intel verses the ARM in the just released Surface.

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