Mini-Retina vs. Air & Other First World Problems

I know that I’m not a normal tech user, well, in more ways than one. The fact that I’m so strongly concerned about which new iPad to buy should be proof enough that something is missing in my life. So, it’s all the more important that my compunction to wrestle these esoteric tech things should be used to the benefit of others who might also be wondering which iPad to get (or whether to get one at all).

I’ve had iPads since I got iPad version one in 2010 and have used the things to do almost everything, especially any quick activity like checking my email and Facebook, watching video podcasts and … um, any bathroom reading (I’m very militant about hand washing after using the bathroom, so germaphobes, get over yourself!). Anyway, with the latest iPads being almost identical in the hardware spec department, save the screen size & cost, deciding between the diminutive mini-retina and iPad Air isn’t turning out to be such a simple thing.

First part of making this decision was to figure out what I do with my current full-size iPad (3rd gen). Like I mentioned above, I do pretty much do everything on my iPad, including blogging and various types of content creation. When I drilled down I figured out that the line between using the iPad versus my macbook was whether the job required multiple screens. That is, if I need to have multiple windows opened, side-by-side, then I was probably going to resort to using my macbook. If the job could be done in a single window then I’m likely to use the iPad. So, current usage doesn’t point to a clear choice between which iPad model to select.

So the next consideration was what is it that I want to do with the next model that I don’t do or don’t do as much. When I thought about what I want to do more, my first thought was using the iPad as an e-reader more frequently. For a very brief moment last year I had an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite and the difference in weight and lack of stress on the hand from holding the thing when compared to my full-size iPad was pretty obvious. Having a smaller device for reading is something that I’ve been wanting for some time. The thing is, I use my 3rd-gen iPad so much that I really have wondered how much stress I must be putting on my wrists and back because I sit there for a long time watching videos and not change positions nearly enough. It’s gotten to the point to where when I’m lying on my back I prop my Griffin Loop for iPad stand on my stomach and work from that position. It’s kind’a silly.

After briefly holding the new iPad Air during my recent visit to the Apple Store I’m not convinced that it’ll be light enough. Also, if I’m going to spend this much money there needs to be enough obvious difference to help justify the purchase. So, is there enough of a difference in the models, size-wise.

At the same time, when I think about what I want to do, I’ve mentioned several times that I’d really like to be able to work through my photography and do some of my triage and editing on my iPad. Having felt the need for the smaller more hand/wrist-friendly iPad mini/retina, I’m wondering if the reduced screen real estate will present a problem editing photos. Both devices have the same number of pixel, but I have no idea if the mini’s screen will just be too small for my aging eyes when it comes to doing photo-editing. The device will be more portable, but if it’s less useful then that’s a real problem. Granted, I love the iPhoto tools but I don’t love the fact that editing done on the iPad doesn’t sync without great effort to the macbook and tags/labels on the macbook don’t show up in iPhoto for iOS, so this concern about photo editing on the iPad is the most speculative item in my decision process.

The smart thing to do would be to wait until I can get my hands on an iPad mini retina to try to decide whether screen real estate would be an issue. Of course we all know how consistent I’ve been when it come to doing the smart thing related to my tech purchases. Ha!

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