S$140 for Touch ID? Seriously?
Where is this coming from? The announcement of the less hype-worthy, barely upgraded iPad Mini 3 that no one really saw coming, that's where. Rumours were rife that it would not make it to the stage so soon. Or if it would, it would come bearing news of more than just the addition of Touch ID.
Boy, were we wrong.
Touch ID is nice but not necessary
Yes, Touch ID is recognisably faster than ye Touch ID of olde on the iPhone 5S. But I still believe my digits can type my four-digit password on an iPhone 6 faster than it takes the system to read my fingerprint. It’s also a far more intuitive action to me after years of being cued, and conditioned, to type my password in.
Needless to say, it drives the people around me nuts when I key in my password on a Touch ID-enabled phone.
I’m not knocking Touch ID. Rather, I believe the future is made of devices that will recognise their overlords' (us) passwords we already carry - our unique biological data in our bodies. Case in point - Dubai’s iris-recognition border control system is both foolproof and secure.
But it isn’t all that necessary now, or all that natural yet. Especially on a device that's made for two hands to operate, not just hold. Some might argue exactly the opposite, that Touch ID is all the more useful on bigger devices like the iPad Mini and up.
But to me, there's no point in unlocking a device with one hand, only to realise you need two to do the rest of the work after it's unlocked.
Sigh, iPad Mini 3, sigh
Imagine my disappointment when the iPad Mini 3’s major update was it being newly equipped with Touch ID. The only other major change that Apple has made to the iPad Mini is to change the number on its end.
And a new colour - gold. Yaw- I mean, yay.
You just have to look to the iPad Mini 3 page on Apple’s site to realise that even they are hard pressed to weave inspirational words befitting the less than inspirational updates on the baby of the family. Much like the last in line who gets the hand-me-down clothes and perhaps one new toy out of the twenty that were showered on its older siblings. In this case, the Touch ID from last year.
The main features of the iPad Mini 2 remain the same on the iPad Mini 3 - identical Retina displays of 326ppi, same slim proportions of 7.5mm, twin A7 and M7 chips, cameras and everything else.
The iPad Mini 2 is now a bargain
All things considered, you're essentially paying US$100 (RM330) for Touch ID as the iPad Mini 3 starts from US$399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model. Its elder sibling, sans Touch ID? Just US$299 for the same starting 16GB Wi-Fi version.
Wondering if you should buy the iPad Mini 3? Ask yourself if you are willing to pay extra for Touch ID, which is really all that sets the iPad Mini 3 apart from its almost identical iPad Mini 2 sibling.
If you're not, just fork out the money for the iPad Mini 2 which gives you more bang for your buck with its more significant upgrades compared to the first iPad Mini. But mind you, you only get a choice of 16GB or 32GB now that Apple has taken the 64GB and 128GB versions off the shelves. Crafty.
If you really need that upsized storage in the portable palm-sized package, guess diehard iOS fans got no other choice but to go with the iPad Mini 3.
I'm waiting, MacBook Air with Retina Display
I’d prefer to have seen a MacBook Air with Retina Display take the iPad Mini 3’s place on the stage. It's pretty much what every MacBook Air owner and wannabe-owner are waiting on. That's where "It's been way too long" truly applies since the MacBook Air's display has never received the Retina touch since the term was introduced to us with the iPhone 4 back in 2010.
While the iPad Mini 3's appearance was rather underwhelming, I’m still holding out on the hope that there’s a point to all these milder announcements. Everything happens for a reason, and that reason better be that something bigger is brewing under the surface.
Counting the days until my mind is blown again, Apple.