My thoughts on the iPad Mini and iOS, and how I think they can be improved.

So I’ve been using my iPad for a few months now, and although it is a great machine, it has some bad points. Here is my rundown of the iPad mini.

Good points:

  1. The screen is simply the best screen I’ve used on a mobile device. It’s the clearest screen, and it is very good with watching youtube or the BBC iPlayer on it. It might not be a Retina display, but to be honest I’ve never really noticed the pixels when using it. It’s also a really good size – After using the iPad mini, the standard iPads just seem too big now!
  2. The UI is silky smooth. When using apps, I very rarely experience any form of UI lag. Scrolling is smooth, and there appears to be none of the jerkiness that I get with my android phone. The only UI lag I’ve seen is in Bad Piggies when I make some massive huge vehicle in the sandbox, and oddly enough Skitch and Evernote is really quite laggy on occasions.
  3. iPad apps are really well made. I haven’t found a single bad app yet, all of the apps seem to be well designed and easy to use. This might be a huge advantage of the iOS walled garden that seems to be a major complaint about iOS. Sure, you can’t install apps from 3rd party sources very easily, and apps on the app store might have to go through a rigorous process to get onto it, but it does mean that the vast majority of the 800,000 apps on the App Store have a very good user experience.

Bad Points

  1. The typing experience is terrible. I sincerely hate the typing experience on the iPad mini. It isn’t terrible, but there’s quite a few annoyances that I really hate. I quite often type quickly on the screen, and as I have big hands it means I quite often make typo’s, one of the most annoying ones being when I hit the “m” or “n” key when I want to hit the spacebar. When it does happen, more often than not I do it again so autocorrect doesn’t auto correct it. Selecting text on the iPad is a pain too. When I hold down on the screen to select text, a magnifying glass shows up to help you select the text. More often than not though, the iPad “cleverly” attempts to highlight the entire paragraph when I only wanted a single line.
  2. iOS is severely limited. I can’t change any of the “default applications” that Apple forces upon us. I might not want to use safari as my browser, instead I want to use firefox. But Apple thinks all iOS users need is safari, and that alternate browsers are evil. You can’t even download firefox on iOS, and all other alternate browser are either a webkit wrapper or a “cloud based” browser.
    I can’t change parts of the UI either. On android, if my phone came with a crappy keyboard, I’d just install another one off the google play store. I’m stuck with the iOS keyboard. I want to be able to change aspects of my device. I like the idea of Apple’s walled garden, but it’s like a garden which you can get some excellent flowers for, but you can’t change the tree in the middle even though it looks ugly!

How apple could fix the bad points

All apple needs to do to fix the bad points is make the iPad more like a computer. By that, I mean allowing users to change the system keyboard, or change the web browser, or choose what App they want to open stuff in. If Apple doesn’t want users doing that, make it a setting that allows users to turn on “Advanced Customisation” so the average joe can’t just install new keyboards and then not know how to use them.

Other than the bad points mentioned, I think the iPad is a really good device, and I would certainly recommend it to people who already have an Apple product.