Apple unveiled their new iPad Mini earlier at the launch event in Silicon Valley. The new tablet has a screen measuring 7.9 inches diagonally, and weighs in at just 0.68 pounds.
But it comes at a price of £269 (for entry level version). Where does the new iPad Mini leave musicians? Many of us use music apps on iOS, sometimes just for fun but also sometimes to create music and to perform on stage.
The music software market is huge for Apple, but it will not have been at the forefront of designers' minds when creating the new iPad Mini. It could have some interesting upshots for musicians though.
Phil Schiller insisted that this was not just a scaled down iPad, it still has decent computing power, but it can be more comfortably held in one hand.
Our Sonic Touch show has previously looked at solutions for musicians who wanted to use an iPad as an instrument on stage, solutions such as clips, stands and various cradles. But realistically, if you could put up with the weird looks you might get from the audience, you could now hold the iPad Mini safely in one hand and activate synths, play keyboards, and trigger samples (on the screen) with the other.
The dual core A5 processor is not as powerful as what we've seen in some other tablets, but it will likely cope fine with a number of popular music creation apps on the iOS market. One piece of bad news is that the iPad Mini has a lower resolution and PPI than many of its leading competitors, at 1024x768 (and 163 PPI).
This is the trade-off for a small, lightweight tablet though. The newly released iPad Retina has also been updated with a new processor, and one of the new shape connectors. This actually could spell trouble for people with existing accessories who are looking to upgrade to the new iPad, converters will need to be found!
Most guitar interfaces for iPad are connected through the mini-jack input, so guitarists should be okay, lucky for them. Although any accessories (such as Digitech's iPB-10) will have an issue with the new connector size.
It's unlikely that the release of the iPad Mini will have any significant ripple effect on the iOS market for musicians, there might be a few instrument apps released which are designed specifically to be played one handed while the other hand holds the tablet. We have seen these sorts of apps for the existing sized iPads though.
It seems like if you are happy with your current iPad's musical setup, then you might as well stick with it for the time being. Unless, of course, you want to develop the aforementioned method of performing on stage with the iPad Mini in one hand, perhaps 'devil horns' in the air with the other hand.
Never know, might catch on... Probably not though.