Apple’s late 2012 launch of the iPad mini was hardly unexpected—everyone had a pretty good idea what it would look like and do, months in advance. But even we were somewhat surprised that it arrived along with the fourth-generation iPad. The new iPad was released only six months after the last “new iPad,” a third-generation model that was in the process of breaking sales records when it was abruptly yanked from Apple’s web site. Both new models were appealing, but required Lightning accessories that were barely available in stores, an issue that would require months to address.
A lot has changed since then: thanks to increased availability of Lightning accessories, as well as products made specifically for the iPad mini, there’s plenty of new information to share. So tonight, we’re soft-launching our iPad + iPad mini Buyers’ Guide, a complete look at the iPad mini, fourth-generation iPad, and the best new accessories, apps, and games we’ve tested for them. The Guide will officially be released tomorrow, but in keeping with tradition, we’re linking to it here first, so that loyal Backstage readers can get access to it before our servers get slammed. (One again, we thank all of our readers for the millions of downloads our last Guides continue to receive. We really appreciate your readership!)
The core of this Guide is, as always, a comprehensive look at the features, pros, and cons of the current generation of iPad models. With six different main iPad models currently in stores—the fourth-gen iPad, iPad mini, and iPad 2, each in Wi-Fi-only and Cellular versions—we offer tips to help new users choose between the models, as well as model-specific advice on whether now is a smart time to buy a new iPad at all. We also offer used iPad selling and buying tips, complete with current eBay values and Apple Store refurbished prices for various models.
Rather than rehashing accessories we’ve covered for the original three iPads, we’ve used this opportunity to really pare down the Guide, focusing heavily on new Lightning, Bluetooth, and iPad mini-specific options that have been released over the past several months. This edition’s 106 pages spotlight the most noteworthy items we’ve seen across genres, providing today’s potential iPad and accessory buyers with the information they need to make purchasing decisions today.
Following our work at the amazing iLounge Pavilion at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, we’ve also included a photo gallery of the winners of our 2013 Best of Show Awards, as well as Finalists, so you can see many of the top accessories that are coming over the next several months.
We hope you enjoy the iPad + iPad mini Buyers’ Guide, which we’ve spent considerable time assembling with the very best and latest information. Grab your choice of twin-page (iPad/computer) or single-page (iPad/iPhone/iPod) versions from the links below. Every version is a free PDF, which can be opened with iBooks or Safari on an iOS device, and most web browsers or Adobe Acrobat on computers.
And please tell a friend. We make our Guides available for free to help as many people as possible, so it would be great if you could tweet, share it on Facebook, or otherwise spread the word. Thanks!