Over the last year or so I have noticed that the iPad Mini with keyboard case has become a sort of standard equipment for research academics. It seems to hit a sweet spot between small laptops that everyone used to take to meetings (too big except the MacBook Air, which was slightly too big and too expensive for a second unit but too limited for a main computer, except tenure cases who have ‘people’ to do the real work) and the smartphone, which is a PITA to take notes and look up stuff that comes up on the fly. Everyone wants something small enough to tuck under your arm and cheap enough to justify a main computer back at the desk, but can still act like a little computer with web browser, touch notes, a keyboard and a good way to call up academic papers in a readable format. I tried an iPad2 with the Logitech keyboard but it was a little too big to just tuck it away between meetings and a little awkward to hold in one hand on transit or while sitting around at home. When I smashed the screen by driving over it (not my fault, really) I bought a mini and keyboard.
Grad students and postdocs seem to make do with Android tablets of about the same size, maybe planning to get a Mini once they reach the lofty status of sleep-deprived junior tenure track professor. Or maybe not; maybe grownups like Apple and the ‘kids’, as I call the well over drinking age folk who do the actual work in our great grad schools, prefer Android. Either way I think it is interesting that a ‘tweener format iterated from an existing device without that much thought has taken over, at least in my little world. I cannot remember the last time I saw a full sized tablet.
Not a commercial post, as nobody pays me to promote anything here. If it does inspire you then make sure to use the Amazon link at left. Enough of you doing that might prod John to get a better camera.