Apple Head of Marketing, Phil Schiller, took the stage today and asked a very important question. “What does the iPad mini do that the iPad doesn’t already do?” he wondered aloud.
His answer was only half as good – “It can fit in one hand.” Here at Cult of Mac, however, we think that’s only part of the story. The fact is that Apple’s newest, smallest, thinnest iPad makes a perfect gaming controller.
Apple TV is already Apple’s trump card when it comes to connecting any iOS device to the TV already inside your living room. With one power cord and an HDMI cable, you can stream anything you can see on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch to the Apple TV with a simple double click on the home button and a swipe to the right.
iOS is already the biggest gaming platform out there. For iOS gamers, then, AirPlay is a killer feature. There’s a reason that a game is featured in every iOS product release keynote. The iPad itself, however, has always been a bit on the large size to comfortably hold for more than a few minutes as a game controller. The iPhone and iPod touch? Too small.
My thought? I think the iPad mini, with its 7.9 inch screen, is going to become the Goldilocks of iOS AirPlay gaming: just right. Small and light enough to hold in your hands for a long period of time, yet large enough to be a comfortable second gaming screen.
While the iPad mini won’t have the most screamingly fast CPU or graphics chip of the iPad line, it doesn’t have to. The iPad 2, powered by the same A5 chip, is perfectly good for all but the most demanding iOS games. And, by the time there are enough AirPlay games to warrant a faster chip, the iPad mini will already have one, as Apple will continue to bump the speed and capability of the smaller tablet device, as it has with the iPad line from the start.
Which, of course, will make it the perfect controller to use to game on whatever magical iTV that Apple is working on in their secret kitchen lab, waiting for the spectacular unveil sometime in the future. As Steve Jobs famously told his biographer, “‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ he told me…‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.’”
The iPad mini is that perfect, simple interface. As a controller for either a full iTV set, or an iteration on the Apple TV set top box as we know it, the iPad mini is poised to take over the living room, as well as the rest of the world.