Could have, would have, should have...


About a year ago the iPad mini was launched. Rumors of the Mini's introduction were rampant and although we didn't know the specs of the Mini the introduction was expected. Leading up to the announcement, I convinced myself I really didn't need an iPad mini. For starters, I bought fancy new iPad with Retina Display (now we call it the third generation iPad) less than six months prior. At that time, I thought my iPad was doing everything I "needed" it to do and what more could there be?

I'll admit after the release of the Mini the reality distortion field kicked in and I started thinking about the Mini more and more. I even blogged about it back in October of 2012, I just couldn't seem to get the idea of a smaller iPad out of my head. I wrote then:

I started to think about how I use my iPad. For me, it’s still primarily a consumption device and a personal computing device. It’s the computer I keep by my bedside, in my kitchen or on my coffee table. I use it for basic web browsing, reading, catching up on RSS feeds, social media and communication. When traveling for pleasure, I prefer to leave the laptop at home and travel iPad only. But for my day job...I still almost exclusively use a computer to handle the heavy lifting.....For all the ways I use the iPad, I'm starting to wonder if perhaps smaller is better?...A smaller iPad may mean I take it on the go more often and may even be easier to use around the house....

At the time I even went so far as to get a quote from Gazelle for selling my nearly new 3rd Generation iPad with LTE and found that I would net enough money to cover the cost of a low-end mini and have a little left over for a case. Ultimately, I didn't pull the trigger. There were initial supply shortages and I convinced myself the Mini was a downgrade with the internals of an iPad 2 and no retina display.

I made a mistake.

In the last year my use of the iPad hasn't changed. It's spent most of the year sitting on the nightstand or the coffee table. I don't take it with me to work, thus don't use it for any work-related tasks or have it when I'm out and about during the day. Although I have an LTE enabled iPad I've used the feature exactly once, mainly because I don't take it many places. The iPad was just a little too big to carry around unless I have a specific reason. I love my iPad, I use it every day. It's the first thing I reach for in the morning and the last thing I put down at night, but I want more out of it.

This month I'm selling my 16 GB 3rd Generation iPad with Verizon LTE to my brother for $200. (He bought one of those Samsung tablets a few months back, but is ready to come back to the fold.) If I bought a low-end iPad mini last year it would be worth roughly the same amount. I would have lost no value, but perhaps I would have gained a year of using the iPad mini in more places and for more things than I did my full size iPad.

With the new iPad Air having a smaller form factor and significantly lighter weight, the lines are a bit more blurred between it and the new Retina iPad mini. The internals of the two devices are almost identical. So for a few moments, I've thought about switching to the Air. It's tempting since the Air will be available today while the mini ships "later in November" (that's code for end of November and supply constrained). But, I made a mistake last year, and I won't do it again. If nothing else, I have to at least try the iPad mini and see if it changes the way I use the iPad, I hope it does.

For those wondering, my plan is to buy a 32GB Retina iPad Mini with Verizon LTE in Space Gray