Tech Wise

October 28, 2013

The Shrinking Tablet: Who Needs It?

In its first month, the iPad Mini broke sales records. Now a flood of mini tablets has hit the market. Are they really necessary?

As a devoted Apple fan, as well as the owner of a Mac-technology consulting firm, you’d think I always drink from the Macintosh Kool-Aid™ ­fountain. And truth be told, I often do. Apple has proven time and time again that it usually knows what the market wants before most other tech companies, and often before the market itself knows what it wants.

Apple hasn’t hit a homerun with every product it’s produced, but it has a better track record than just about any other computer company still in business. If Apple played baseball, its batting average would be about .900 or so.

When the iPad was first introduced, it was poo-poo’d as a tablet computer that wasn’t really a computer. Apple educated us that it was really a media device—for email, web browsing, music, videos, and similar functions. The public responded by buying them in droves. By the third quarter of 2012, more than 80 million units had been sold—a hugh success by any measure.

Then came the iPad Mini. The questions beg to be asked. Why? Who needs a smaller tablet? Who needs a larger phone for that matter? If we listen to technology companies, it seems they think we all do.

We live in a world of strange divergences; our TVs keep getting larger, ya gotta catch Sunday’s game on that big 72-inch­ screen, yet we easily watch that next blockbuster movie on our phones.

Technology companies keep telling us what we need next, so, does anyone really need the iPad Mini? Yes, I think we do.

The original iPad is great, the kids love it to watch movies on it, I use it to check email, video chat with the family back east, but then it gets put back on the side table or the edge of the desk where it lives most of its life. For many, it’s just a little too large to put in a back pocket or in a wife’s purse. While some venture out, it often stays at home. (Of course, one trip to Disneyworld and you’ll see countless tourists using it for photos and videos!)

Increasingly, the world wants to be mobile. Business wants to be mobile. YOU want to be mobile, and the iPad Mini helps accomplish that.

Doctors can now comfortably fit one in their lab coats as they make rounds. Expect to see iPad Minis usage really take off in the medical community. I have a mental health client who has hundreds of direct care staff working in the field. The iPad in general, but the iPad Mini specifically will end up in their hands to provide a direct link to the main office with critical client related data and time critical communications.

Table staff at restaurants can now easily carry an iPad Mini on the floor to take orders, and still juggle a tray of drinks or hot plates. Sales reps can use it to show product, download intruction manuals, email orders, or a host of other activities, all from a device pulled out of their pockets. Warehouses can use cloud service software and iPad Minis to “pick and pull” from warehouse bins. Almost any retailer, for that matter, can use it for price checks, inventory control, and even communications.

So, are the iPad Mini, the Samsung Galaxy Note, Google’s Nexus 7, or the Kindle Fire HDX relevant? Yes, I believe they are, whereas a larger tablet is more of a gadget, albeit, a very cool gadget, I think a smaller tablet is more of a tool. I would even argue the iPad Mini is cool tool, as often only Apple can do, but a tool nonetheless. One that got its size right, got its functionality right, and got its price right. A business tool that will wind up in more businesses, doing more business.

In my mind, the only question is “how will your business use a mini tablet?” •

5 Great Apps to Maximize Productivity


Stay organized, save ideas, and improve productivity through the Evernote note-taking application that syncs memos across all devices. Notebooks can be shared through email, Facebook, and Twitter, and are indexed and searchable by keyword, tags and titles.


  • Plan Trips
  • Capture ideas and inspiration
  • Save receipts, warranties, contracts
  • Record audio notes
  • Favorite web pages
  • Upload photos
  • Take meeting notes
  • Draft agendas

Google Goggles

Google Goggles uses image recognition to analyze photos and then returns relevant information.


  • Scan barcodes and QR codes to get product information
  • Identify print ads in major publications
  • Take pictures of text and translate it
  • Shoot landmarks to get info
  • Digitize business cards


Stay up-to-date with news that matters to you with the SkyGrid personalized newspaper application that pushes real-time news updates on the topics and publications of your choice.


  • Customize the news section with your favorite categories—politics, science and tech, business, etc.
  • Follow the biggest news sources in the world—USA Today, CNN, New York Times and more
  • Easily share stories through email, Facebook and Twitter
  • Get customized alerts and notifications tailored to your interests


SlideShark enables users to view, show, share, and project PowerPoint presentations directly from the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.


  • Preserves animations, fonts, graphics, hyperlinks, and colors
  • Connect your device to a TV or VGA-projector to present from the app
  • Use app as a remote control and laser pointer during presentations
  • Broadcast presentations live over the Web in real-time
  • Display presentation notes on the app while projecting to an external screen


TurboScan uses the built-in camera to turn your iPhone into a portable multipage document scanner.


  • Adjust image frame by cropping manually
  • Automatic document edge detection
  • Adjust scanned images for brightness, color, rotation
  • Name and store documents in the app
  • Email documents as JPEG, PDF, PNG, or save to camera roll


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About the Author

C. David Joyce
C. David Joyce
C. David Joyce is the Owner and Chief Mac Consultant of iCare4Macs, an L.A. based consulting firm that has specialized in the Macintosh platform since 1992. The firm provides all levels of computer supported needed for a wide variety of clientele; from medium-sized businesses with multiple office locations, to small companies and home users whose needs may be more simple. They specialize in ad agencies, production companies, post production companies, music studios, and corporations, organizations and individuals who rely on their Macs to power their businesses and their lives. iCare4Macs.



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