The iPad Mini—how you can possibly deal with it

Did you know that the next iPad released will be smaller than the existing iPad? It really will be smaller. Seriously.

Someone “familiar with Apple’s plans” told AllThingsD today that Apple will bring out an iPad Mini at a invite-only event on Oct. 23. Other Apple-watchers and pundits confirm that likelihood. It is time for a new iPad. What can you do with those 11 precious days until the event? How can you plan your life, protect your loved ones, and find your way along the shining path to the river of gadget enlightenment?

The iPad Mini, as rendered by Martin Hajek
iPad Mini (speculative) rendering by Martin Hajek, via AllThingsD.

Here’s the easiest thing: stop looking at leaks and screenshots and rumors. If you want to ruin the surprise for yourself, Gizmodo has gathered the best and most descriptive of them, so you can get an idea of what’s coming, in what shape. The iPad Mini is, if the rumors are right, a roughly 7-inch tablet, with a not-quite-Retina-scale screen, running almost the same guts as the iPad 2. App makers don’t have to freak out much at all, because their apps should scale in fairly smooth fashion to a roughly similar size as the iPad 2 (in terms of pixel counts). It should sell at somewhere between $300 and $400, but that’s pure speculation.

Next, I’ll offer some advice on what you should do if you already have one of the iPad Mini’s main tablet competitors:

  • Kindle Fire (original): Buy an iPad Mini if you don’t like Amazon’s store and apps as much as you thought you would. Otherwise, upgrade to a Kindle Fire HD when you have the income to spare.

  • Kindle Fire HD: Keep your device. Use it like a normal human, when you want to, and enjoy it.

  • Nexus 7: See Kindle Fire HD advice.

  • iPad: Are you actually traveling every day with your iPad, and constantly cursing the skies at just how heavy that thing feels? You are kind of silly. But go ahead and buy an iPad Mini, if you have the money to burn.

The iPad Mini might displace some of the sales of the Kindle Fire, the Nexus 7, and the 100 or so runners-up in the 7-inch-ish tablet market. But you don’t run the tablet division of Samsung, Asus, or Amazon, do you? I did not think that was the case. So I think you’re free to buy whatever fits best in your purse or carry bag, with whatever screen looks nice to you, and which holds the text and movies and games you want to amuse yourself with.

There will be differences of design, software responsiveness, and ecosystem cohesiveness between the iPad Mini and the 7-inch-ish tablets already in the marketplace. But the iPad Mini we might know about is not that different from the iPad, and I think we’ve talked about the iPad quite a bit. If you’d like to think and talk about a smaller iPad for 11 more days, my advice is to drink less coffee while you do so.

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