Apps, Mobile & SMS

Apple’s New iPad Mini As An Awesome Music Device

image from Jason Papanicholas of

When Steve Jobs announced the iPad a few years ago, it took most people by surprise, although Apple has had a hard time keeping a lid on other upcoming launches. Today, Apple was not remotely close to keeping the new iPad Mini a secret, with many blogs reporting leaked mockups and blurry photos over the weeks leading up to today’s event, during which the much-heralded device was, in fact, announced, along with the iPad 4, new iMacs, and new MacBooks.

Today’s announcement was expected, but there are always a few surprises and new details on offer — and some of them have implications for our favorite gadget users: music fans.

We kept a running tally of all the music-related stuff, as we did with its September iPhone 5 announcement, and October 2011 event. Here’s what music you need to know about what the iPad Mini will do for your music and apps:

  • The high-resolution display means crystal-clear, vibrant-looking music apps. Apple has always used cutting-edge screen components in its computers and handhelds, but the iPad Mini goes even further than usual, by smushing the 1024 by 768 resolution from the iPad 2 into a smaller area.
  • The fact that the iPad Mini has the same resolution as the iPad 2 means developers won’t have to modify existing iPad apps in order for them to run. You’ll be able to use all of your favorite iPad music apps. As Apple says, “If it’s made for iPad, it’s made for iPad Mini,” and that is good news for music fans and app developers. Without this, the iPad Mini would almost certainly be doomed.
  • A new super-fast A6X processor means twice the CPU and graphics performance. Apps will run faster, which is always nice, but for instruments and remixing tools, it’s crucial.
  • The new iPad Mini is 23 percent thinner and 53 percent lighter than than the third-generation iPad, according to Apple — but fortunately, that doesn’t impact battery life. You still get up to 10 hours of music playback.
  • The new iPads will use Apple’s new Lightning dock connecter, Apple’s annoying new standard for mobile devices. If you want to use any hardware with the old dock connector, like iHomes or car docks, you’ll need an adapter, or maybe several of them.
  • The new iPad is thinner and lighter than its main competitor, the Google Nexus 7. In addition, more developers build for iOS, especially when it comes to high-end or specialized music apps. The iPad Mini should also lack the audio issues that have dogged some Androids. Plus, Audiobus! Audio Copy/paste!
  • You can hold it in one hand and fit it in a blazer pocket, but you can also run iPad-only music apps.
  • The new, smaller form factor and lower price should put more iPads in people’s hands, which means that we’ll be seeing more apps optimized for tablet use
  • The “ultrafast wireless” (a.k.a. the LTE cellular connection on some models) will allow for music apps like Spotify to stream music in the highest quality, although you’re still subject to data limits, so be careful out there.
  • The new iPad is just over a hundred dollars more than an iPod Touch, so we’ll likely start seeing less of those out there — especially among video habitues. We know — this one is only tangentially related to music, but it could make YouTube more than a music app`, where the kids are concerned.
  • Apple has now sold 35 billion iOS apps, so music app developers are unlikely to quit focusing on those any time soon.

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  1. The iPad Mini still has an A5 SoC. Only the flagship iPad (4th Gen) is getting the A6X.
    Anyone using an iPad with MIDI controllers (by way of dock connector adapters) will need to add another $30-40 to their investment for an adapter (as you described).
    I’d also note that a smaller screen means less real estate for interaction with music production apps – with the iPad Mini, every knob, button, switch, lever, and key will shrink. Complex apps like Korg iMS-20 will only be more difficult to use.

  2. I listen to my kindle as a radio. The new kindle has dolby speakers which sound fabulous. I would like to buy the new ipad mini but am wondering how the sound quality is without the use of headphones or added speakers. Any help out there on this issue?

  3. Very incorrect processor information in this article, as the first commenter pointed out. I hope someone will correct it soon. It’s a shame that better research was not done before this article was published.
    The iPad Mini is nearly the same as the iPad2, just smaller, but not small enough to place in a pocket, like the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire, so you are sacrificing screen space, which is important for music creation apps, without getting any better portability.

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