Hello iPad Mini

photo[4]There are some weeks so bad that only comfort food and obscenely expensive aspirational purchases can save you. I’d argue I’ve just had one of those, having found out I have two tears in my knee and require an arthroscopy, getting flooded twice as badly as I did in 2011, and discovering that my stove has sprung a mammoth gas leak that will need wall-punchingly expensive plumbing repairs.

So, although I’d like to say that I bought my long-awaited, much-adored iPad Mini under happy circumstances (perhaps even—as I inadvertently worded it the other day—getting the clap on the way out of the Apple store), it’s come more as a consolation prize.

As consolation prizes go, though, I’m not complaining. The iPad Mini’s pretty incredible, and in just a few short days and limited plays, I’ve fallen in love with the following …

Its ereader capabilities

iPad_Mini_ereaderI’ve held out buying an ereader until now because I’m a dedicated worshipper of the cult of Apple, because I wanted to wait until the format wars died down, and because no ereader on the market did quite what I’d hoped (read: none were ‘Apple pretty’).

The crisp, white, Garamond font-inked pages unfurling on the iPad Mini actually made my heart soar. The handy functionality that enables me to highlight paragraphs, add notes, and more kind of make me wonder if I’ll ever return to physical copies, where I’m forced to dog-ear pages, add post-it notes that easily become unstuck, and rustle through pages down the track when I’m looking for a quote about something interesting that I vaguely remember marking somewhere along the way. In short, I’m obsessed with it and am currently plotting which ebooks I should buy.

Its accompanying magnetic cover

photoI had to buy it separately, but the iPad Mini’s light grey, magnetised cover that snaps on and snaps to without affecting usability or streamlined pretty is fantastic. Sometimes it’s the little things that really please.

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) app

SMH_AppThere are, rather confusingly, two SMH apps, and I downloaded both before discovering that the one I want appears in the iPad Mini’s newsstand. And, despite the initial confusion, the correct app’s proving brilliant. Indeed, traditional newspapers may be struggling to make the digital shift, but you wouldn’t know if from Fairfax’s SMH app. It’s crisp, clear, image-driven, and extremely aesthetically appealing. It’s also packed with handy functions to save stories for later, share with others, and jump to favourite sections.

I’m pretty sure this newspaper app will be my gateway app to the likes of apps for the New Yorker, Longform, and the New York Times.

The Foxtel Go app

photo[3]Released just a few weeks ago and sounding far too good to be true, this app enables you to connect two iPads/iPad Minis to one Foxtel subscription. My parents have two Foxtel connections these days purely because they were sick of me poaching the TV to watch football at precisely the same time they wanted to watch some form of British TV.

I’ve long since moved out and drive back over to take advantage of said second Foxtel connection (I mean, it’s not as if I can afford to install Foxtel at my own place) and, though I’d heard I could effectively siphon off their connection to my iPad Mini, I was convinced it wouldn’t work. Surely Foxtel would detect I wasn’t on the same network, that I in fact wasn’t even in the same house?

It turns out not (although I’m still unsure whether this is deliberate or an as-yet-undiagnosed quirk), and I can now successfully pilfer Foxtel’s football from my parents’ connection. Provided it doesn’t change the ‘loophole’, Foxtel Go is officially the best. app. ever.

Finding out what’s next

I’m just days into my iPad Mini discovery tour, so I’m sure there are more than a billion features and apps I’ve not yet discovered. Are there any you’d recommend I download immediately and roadtest?

*Please excuse my rather dodgy phone photos—I’m a little incapacitated and a lot a fan of take-it-from-your-phone efficiency and ease. You get the right idea from them, yeah?