Category Archives: iPad mini

Ten Reasons to Go Big with the iPhone 6 Plus


I’m preordering an iPhone 6 Plus on Friday but I’ve been unsure until now. Now that I’ve been reading the web and twitter non-stop on my quest for those who have actually had the phones in their hands and sometimes in their pockets, I’m ready to commit.

Things to consider before you decide the iPhone 6 Plus is too big:

1. Bigger Screen is better — always. This is a personal next-gen computer, not just a phone to make phone calls on. Screen real estate matters

2. Optical Image Stabilization. Only the Plus camera has  this great feature for low light shots.

3. Higher Resolution 400 ppi. Sharper screen. The 6 has only 326 ppi.

4. A Lot Better battery life. 20-40% better. No battery case needed. Less bulky in that respect.

5.  Two Column Landscape View in iOS 8. Not on iPhone 6.

6. One device is better than 2. This is a mini mini iPad not just an iPhone but that too. 1 device to maintain and purchase. 1 cellular connection. You won’t need to lug your iPad mini or maxi around as much. Or you can sell/trade-in the mini.

7. eReading – the 5.5″ size is perfect and comfortable for long-form reading.

8. Reachability. There’s a special reachability feature in iOS 8 that lets you still operate it with one hand.

9. It’s Different, Newer. Thus refreshing and stimulating. Be the first one on your block!

10. Still fits in your pocket. Unlike the iPad mini. Yes, a lot of women already find a regular iPhone too bulky for their tiny pocketed skinny jeans and carry the iPhone in a purse. If that’s you, bigger is better since the Plus will fit in just about any purse easily.

Related Links:

  • eReader Joy on iPhone 6 Plus
    “Unless one really just needs a phone, or money is really tight, this is currently the king of hand-held Everything Machines. I haven’t been this excited since the iPad 1.”
  • Gizmodo on iPhone 6
    “But after a brief time fondling the 4.7-inch iPhone 6—up from a 4-inch predecessor—I feel comfortable saying that this is the right kind of sizing up.”
  • The Verge on iPhone 6
    “The big question with a larger screen is how it affects battery life: Apple says that it managed to cram a longer-lasting and bigger battery into the new iPhone 6 Plus. The phone gets 24 hours of 3G talk time, up to 16 days on standby (384 hours), up to 12 hours of internet use on LTE/Wi-Fi, and up to 14 hours of video playback.”
  • TUAW Steve Sande On Choosing
    “How about holding the device? To be honest, although it looks much larger, I tend to use my iPhone two-handed anyway, except for making phone calls. Did I feel like I was holding a brick up to my head with the mockup? No — I have fairly small hands and it fit nicely.”
  • TUAW Steve Sande More Thoughts on Big iPhone
    “Picking up the iPhone 6 Plus mockup, I found myself much more apt to use it two-handed, although notifications could still be perused one-handed.”
  • ZDNet Matthew Miller iphone 6 Trumps iPad mini
    “My iPad Mini is primarily used to consume video content (streaming TV, movies, and sports apps), read ebooks, and manage my email and calendar. It is not an essential device whereas phones are essential to my daily train commute and business travel life. With a 5.5 inch display, it looks like the iPhone 6 Plus can serve as both my tablet and phone.”
  • iMore Which to get iPhone 6 or 6+?
    “If the iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s are already big for you, you’ll want to stick to the iPhone 6. If the iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s simply aren’t big enough, you’ll want to go for the iPhone 6 Plus.”
  • MacWorld on iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
    “By default, the iPhone 6 Plus takes advantage of its extra screen space to put more information on screen. Apps that previously featured only one pane of information can now offer two in landscape orientation, making the device almost feel like a tiny iPad. However, users with vision issues who were hoping that the iPhone 6 Plus would be a “large-print edition” of the iPhone needn’t fret: You can set the iPhone 6 Plus to use the display like a regular iPhone 6, at which point everything on the screen is just bigger. You choose which you prefer: larger or more.”

eReading: Kindle Paperwhite 2 vs. iPad mini retina


I bought the iPad mini with retina in late November 2013. I’m a long-time Kindle owner since the Kindle 2 and had the Kindle touch, Kindle 4 and the Kindle Keyboard. But swore I would just use the iPad mini and not get the Paperwhite. I broke down and got the Paperwhite for $139 — the price without ads.

Paperwhite Has the iPad mini Beat for Extended Reading

Size and Weight. And the size is perfect for ereading — I’m convinced. You don’t need the 8″ iPad mini screen unless you want to read oversized things like textbooks. Most of my reading is for fiction or other non-fiction that has very few illustrations so you don’t need a big screen.

E-Ink Screen. In exchange for not getting color, you get a screen that is probably best for your eyes compared to the typical computer or iPad screen. Lots of people who have iPads and iPhones still carry a Kindle to get this benefit.

Great Value.  I’m very impressed with what you get in the Paperwhite. The special side lighting works great to give you the perfect lighting in any situation. Touch responsiveness is much improved over the Kindle touch (I still wish they had page flip buttons like they used to on Kindle Keyboard and prior, but hey?).

But I Still Prefer the iPad mini with retina

Touch Responsiveness. I stopped using the Kindle touch because it was too slow and unresponsive. Responsiveness is now adequate on the Paperwhite 2 but I still find the touch experience far behind that effortless, immediate iPad touch responsiveness.

Color Highlights. I love and prefer the size of the Paperwhite for extended reading, but, for me,  the other advantages of the iPad mini with retina override that size preference. I like highlighting even in fiction and if I’m highlighting several things on a page I appreciate the ability to put those highlights in different colors. I’m sure I’m in the minority on this highlight thing though.

Better Screen. At $399 vs $139, the iPad mini better have a better screen than the Paperwhite. I love the crisp text on that screen. Even if it isn’t e-ink. My eye doctor may disagree.

Bottom Line

Advantages of the iPad mini retina for ereading:

  • Touch Responsiveness
  • Colored Highlights
  • Better Screen

Advantages of the Paperwhite 2 for ereading:

  • Size and weight is great for extended reading (over 30 minutes)
  • Special e-ink light is better for your eyes
  • Incredible value

iPad mini retina vs iPad Air from a Knowledge Perspective


Revised Jan 29. I have both iPads so have been using and comparing them for about two months now. Both iPads are extraordinary and leaps ahead of previous iPads. Choosing one is difficult.

Here are some of the places each wins:

iPad mini with Retina

  • Easier to Carry
  • Easier to Hold
  • More Portable – not for pockets but fits purses
  • Cheaper by $100

iPad Air

  • Bigger Screen
  • Faster
  • Better Color Gamut
  • Better for important work

The Casual User

In my view, the more casual user is better off with the handier, smaller, lighter device in most cases because the demands on it are less. If I’m a casual user, I want easy and fun above all else and the mini wins here. The casual user is reading, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, emailing, texting, looking at photos, taking notes, checking the weather.

The Knowledge Enthusiast / Professional User

This large group of knowledge enthusiasts and professionals may have different needs when it comes to iPads. An employed or self-employed knowledge professional is doing his life’s work at work or in off hours as a serious hobby. These people lose the distinction between work and leisure in a large part of there days, nights and weekends.

In my case, a lot of my reading, note-taking, research and creating is related to my technology consultant and software developer work. I try to take off one day a week – Saturday. Still and all I might do an experimental software project that day or read about designers or read the new Jony Ive book partly because I want to do better design in my work.

I need a tablet that does well in work and play. My 2 months work and play with these iPads tells me that the iPad Air competes well against the mini when you want an all-purpose iPad. Just like with paper notepads and notebooks, a roomier canvas can help the creative process. It can help you think.

The Argument For a Bigger Screen

If you like larger for your eyes and/or fat fingers, you’ll like the iPad Air:

  • If you have large fingers and get frustrated finding the exact spot to tap.
  • If you are big and strong, the iPad Air at 1 lb might seem small and light already. No need for an itty bitty iPad mini.

Any time you need to do a lot of interaction with the screen pressing buttons, selecting, pinching in and out and moving things,  or even typing, that extra screen real estate comes in handy. I will call this serious use. The serious nature of your work and benefits of the larger screen might trump the portability and holdability advantages of the iPad mini.

If you Can’t Decide Get the iPad mini with Retina

If you are right in the middle stuck there and can’t decide. I would recommend the mini just because that portability and hold-ability will have you use it and carry it more – so you get more value that way. And, you save $100 out of the box. That $100 could pay for the LTE version or double the storage, both nice to haves.

If you Can’t Decide Get Both

There is a third alternative if funds are available and you can justify the expense. Getting both. As a technology professional, I could justify the purchase. If money is a big concern, though, you may find it frustrating to have both and mostly be only using one at a time.

I use the iPad mini when:

  • Reading in bed or on the couch.
  • I’ve got it in my hand already which doesn’t happen as often with the Air.

I use  the Air when:

  • I want to do serious work with it.
  • I want to use an external keyboard and write. The portable keyboards like the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover that I have are better with the wider iPad Air. But, an external keyboard like the Apple wireless works as well with the mini just takes up more space in your kit bag.
  • I’m home and can use whichever iPad suits me. Web browsing can be nicer on that bigger screen… Big screens rock!
  • As a laptop substitute when I am going out, expect to have some sitting time and I am not taking my laptop.
  • These iPads are so light that you can take both with you out the door and leave your Mac home and come out pretty well.

The Mac is not Dead Yet Either

This first month, I haven’t taken a keyboard with me to a coffee place to facilitate typing. Instead I either take my pretty light Macbook Pro retina along with the mini when I need to do FileMaker development (which can’t be done yet on an iPad) or use a Mac app that has no iPad equivalent like Scapple! I’ve been reassured that Scapple for iPad is in the works. And, I would bet money that modest FileMaker development will become a paid option on an iPad within a year or so. The roomier iPad Air screen will be nice for some of these applications.

Final Verdict

Ok, Ok. If I had to choose 1 today, I would go with the iPad mini. I’m a woman and the size of the mini is really nice. The mini is a better value by a hair and you’ll use it more often than the larger tablet unless you really don’t prefer the smaller size.

If you have further thoughts, I would love to hear them here or have you direct me back to your entry elsewhere.

Happy New Year!

Coffee Shop Computing circa Dec 2012

Let’s agree that computing extends to iPads and iPhones, tablets and smartphones and the iPod touch. I prefer to get my morning exercise and some caffeinated computing done while outside the house at a local coffee spot. My rule is that I can’t go play at the local coffee shop unless I walk there. Seems fair.

I have a near weightless REI backpack to carry my gear – the kind designed for carrying water while cycling. Here is my current configuration:

  • retina MacBook Pro 13″
  • iPad 3 and/or iPad mini
  • iPhone 5

With this lineup, there’s no need for an extra keyboard, I’ll use the rMBP if there’s much typing involved. And love every minute of it. Cost 3.5 lbs.

Favorite writing apps include Day One, Byword and iA Writer. I’ve grown to prefer apps that support markdown because rich text isn’t universally supported across apps and is especially weak on iOS. I also prefer doing my email (Mail), strenuous web research (Safari) , free form diagramming (Scapple) and other non-iOS work like FileMaker Pro development on Mac (I just finished release 12 of my Studio Manager product – yay!). I got a lot more enthused about Mac once I acquired this retina wonder in October.

Reading, which is probably the biggest chunk of my time on these outings, is done on iPad 3 with its awesome retina and better reading form factor. It’s almost a toss up between the 3 and my cute, svelte, nearly weightless iPad mini. I often take both of these so I have the choice between the sheer eye pleasure of retina or the feather-weight delight of the mini. If you take the iPad 3, what’s another .68 lbs? Both offers you the chance to switch away from the iPad 3 if it starts feeling heavy after a while. The already rumored retina mini may make this twosome obsolete next year. The only casualty in all this has been a Kindle – I haven’t popped for a nearly free ($119) Kindle Paperwhite due to lack of juggling capability. Even I have my limits.

Where does that leave the iPhone 5 then? This handheld of choice is still relevant my friends. The form factor is incredibly ahem handy especially when moving or in line. You still can’t beat the ease of use you get when in motion – walking to and from my coffee place of choice. If not in hand, it is in pocket and ready at a moment’s notice. I still prefer this little guy when reading in bed or on the couch in many cases. This preference will probably go away once the retina iPad mini is here. But the iPhone 5 awesome retina – better than ever due to blacker blacks, is a serious competitor for reading with the much less rewarding text of the iPad mini. Don’t forget all those lines we wait in. The omnipresent iPhone 5 is there by your side. No pack or purse required. It doesn’t hurt that it has cellular data either.