Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Shiny new iPad

iPad Mini with Retina Display

As I mentioned on Sunday, my birthday present from my parents was a shiny new iPad Mini with Retina Display. We bought it from the Apple Store in Trinity Leeds, since we were going to Leeds for a birthday meal anyway.

This is to replace my old iPad, a first generation model. Although I’ve only had it for a year, it’s now over three years old and no longer supported by Apple. It won’t even run iOS 6, never mind iOS 7, and many apps either won’t install at all, or can only run as an older version. Plus, it’s rather slow and some apps, including Apple’s own like Safari, crash a lot. Whilst the larger screen means it’s better to use than my iPhone for some things, for others it was slow and frustrating – I’d avoid browsing sites like Buzzfeed or Lifehacker because of the risk of crashing it.

I’d narrowed the choice down to the iPad Air or the iPad Mini with Retina Display. I ruled out the older models – the iPad with Retina Display and the iPad Mini (without Retina Display) – because they came with older processors which are much more likely to be deprecated by Apple within a few years. I didn’t want to be in the same situation again with my iPad in a couple of years’ time.

The two models are basically identical inside – same processor, battery life and features. The only difference is the size of the screen (the resolution is the same), the weight and the price. At £80 cheaper, we decided to go for the iPad Mini.

When you buy a product at the Apple Store, a ‘Personal Setup’ service is offered to get you up and running with the device, and as we had some time to spare I decided to take them up on the offer. This turned out to be a good thing, and myself and the member of staff who sold me the iPad learned the hard way what happens when you try to restore an iCloud backup from an iPad 1 running iOS 5, to an iPad Mini running iOS 7. Suffice to say, it got stuck in a soft reboot loop and was completely unusable.

To their credit, the staff at the store were really good about it, and took responsibility for the problem. I should have been advised that this wouldn’t work and to instead set the new iPad up as a new device, rather than using a backup from an iOS 5 device as a starting point. So the iPad Mini, now essentially bricked, will be sent back to Apple and I was given another iPad Mini to take away. I decided not to go through the Personal Setup this time, instead waiting to get home so that I could do it at my own pace. It’s working fine, as shown in the above photo.

I’m glad that the reboot problem happened in the Apple Store and not at home, as I’m not even sure that I’d have been able to force a factory reset on the device. But perhaps Apple should have coded this into the iPad setup program, and displayed a warning that restoring a backup from such an old device to a new one is a bad idea.

Anyway, my new iPad Mini is great. It’s so much lighter than my old one, and the screen is only a bit smaller. It’s not quite so good for reading magazines, as the text is a bit small, but at least when I zoom in the text doesn’t become so pixelated as it did on my old iPad. And apps like Facebook, YouTube and 1Password are actually usable now, and others, like Pocket, are much, much faster.

One Comment

  1. Nice! iPad Mini’s are really cool. My daughter has one from school and loves it.