Even though they’re not leading in marketshare, Apple’s iOS devices account for more than 60% of all mobile web consumption. Because of this, many websites provide custom layouts for multiple devices so that users can enjoy an optimized experience regardless of whether they’re viewing a website from their iPad, iPhone or MacBook.
However, with the new iPad mini Apple has made it impossible for developers to deliver an optimized experience for the device, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
It doesn’t sound like a big issue at first, but when you consider that even though iPad mini and iPad 2 have the same number of pixels, the experience is different on both devices because the iPad mini is smaller and its number of pixels per inch is greater.
Apple probably went with the approach of making the iPad mini and iPad 2 indistinguishable because it’s easier and quicker for developers to just build for both and it would lead to less fragmentation The problem, as many developers have noted, is that the form factor of the iPad 2 and iPad mini is drastically different. The iPad mini can be used with one hand while the iPad 2 requires two hands.
The form factor of the different devices could lend itself to different controls styles in games.For example, if developers could detect that a device is actually an iPad mini rather than an iPad 2, they could change the orientation of controls, or add a swipe or tap control. Data could be compacted or expanded depending on if it’s a 7.9 inch screen or 9.7 inch screen. But the way things are setup right now, developers can’t get around the fact that Apple has pretty much married the iPad 2 and iPad mini together.
Developers are looking into different ways around the restriction, but none of the solutions are as elegant as it would be if Apple allowed developers to uniquely identify devices, which means a truly optimized web and gaming experience on the iPad mini might not becoming for sometime.