iPad mini vs iPad 4 benchmark tests

Mark Hattersley recently wrote a summary of the iPad benchmarks. His Macworld article is a good reference if you are trying to decide which iPad to purchase. Here’s the Geekbench raw CPU results for all iPads:

Mark concludes with this this:

There’s no doubt that the new iPad 4 stomps all over the iPad mini in terms of raw power. Like the recent iPhone 5 and iPod touch update, there’s been a serious performance boost that doubles the capability of the device. What’s not so clear is why? Why has Apple introduced these all-new powerful devices, because there’s currently no particular advantage to the end user. The iOS interface is snappy on all devices, the current generation of games are designed to work on all machines (and our experience in the past is that developers stick with designing for the whole market rather than the latest iOS models for a long time). Perhaps the only advantage is a small performance gain when exporting movies or audio in iMovie or GarageBand.

There’s still a big advantage to getting an iPad 4 over an iPad mini, namely the Retina Display, which is in itself worth the extra money. But don’t think that the iPad mini is less of an experience. It may be smaller, with a smaller screen, and a non Retina display, but it runs all the programs and apps just as well as the recent iPad 3 with Retina Display.

Whether Apple has something planned for the iPad 4 (as well as iPhone 5 and iPod touch) that takes advantage of all that extra power is another matter. The iPad 4 certainly has more future-proofing behind it.

But here and now: they’re both great devices.

Fraser Speirs reports on his iPad Mini experience

Fraser Speirs is perhaps the most knowledgeable IT person regarding heavy use of the iPad in K-12 education. He is responsible for launching and running the iPad 1:1 program at Cedars School of Excellence in Scotland.

Here’s the two posts: Two Weeks with iPad mini and What’s On My iPad Mini. After the first couple of weeks Fraser observed:

The first thing to get out of the way is that the iPad mini is an iPad. Even more than calling it a real iPad, I want to describe it as a full iPad. Give or take a few benchmark points, it’s as powerful as any iPad that existed until the 4th-generation 9.7″ iPad. This is really important. It’s important because the executive summary of what I’m about to write is this: get the one you like best.

(…) That’s when it clicked. When I realised I had – without really thinking – done all the things I need an iPad to do for a whole week without being forced back to a full-size iPad, I saw that the iPad mini is just that: an iPad. No need to over-think the distinction, no real need to develop theories about it: the iPad mini is an iPad in the same way that the 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pro are both Macs. They’ll both do the same 95% of the job: get the one that suits you best.

The iPad mini reminds me of my first MacBook Air. When the Air first shipped it was a Mac with some serious technical compromises with a design and form factor so compelling that you would re-arrange your entire digital life to make it work. The iPad mini reminds me of that except that it only has one serious compromise: the non-retina display. In every other respect, it’s a full-bore iPad. In fact, I don’t even refer to it as “my iPad mini” any more; I just call it “my iPad”.

Inkling lets textbook makers embrace the iPad

This is a puff piece on startup company Inkling. It summarizes some of the concepts that I believe will dramatically boost the learning power of textbooks. This is just a sample of what technology could do for education if the unions would just get out of the way.

The ten-person San Francisco startup, stacked with pedigreed veterans of Microsoft and Google, Harvard, MIT and Stanford, came out of stealth mode after this morning’s iPad launch. Funded with about $1M in seed money led by Ram Shriram and Mitch Kapor, Inkling is working with McGraw-Hill, Pearson and other top textbook makers.

Textbooks are different animals than e-book novels and business books, in ways that current e-readers can’t handle. For starters, you don’t read a textbook’s pages serially from first to last. You need to be able to jump around, skip, skim, and flip back and forth between chapter review and chapter content. A textbook’s content should ideally be dynamic from year to year, not frozen in time like a novel.

You also need to be able to link the textbook content with your own notes, highlights, reports, project plans, etc. And all must be embedded in a collaborative environment — think Facebook for study teams.

The iPad makes it possible to replace static images with interactive puzzles that MacInnis says burn important concepts in to students’ brains better and longer. He showed me a demo learning module that explained the biological concept of cellular mitosis. It starts with a real microscope image of a cell. A caption, simultaneously spoken by a voiceover (They call this karaoke mode. It turns out to help memory better than either text or speech by itself) instructs me to tap the cells nucleus three times to simulate its breakdown. Further steps in the mitosis process require me to pinch, drag or swipe components in the cell after identifying them. When I’m done, I have a memory of having walked through the process physically, rather than just scanning an illustration with my eyes.

We cannot imagine the creative ways that code-in-book technology can enhance learning. Consider what you can do with say physics and chemistry simulations and models.
Let’s hope that Inkling has some powerful secret sauce that will slash the amount of high-skilled labor it typically takes to produce these textbook enhancements. The next Inkling claim posits “much cheaper than current textbooks“. Reproduction cost is zero, but I think the $180 price is largely determined by the very small market relative to the book development investment.

But the real breakthrough is in pricing. Instead of a $180 textbook, learning modules built with Inkling will be priced individually on iTunes, just as music and TV shows are. Instead of buying all 50 chapters of a 1,200-page biology book, an instructor can create a customized bundle of only the modules students will actually use. Pricing hasn’t been determined yet, but it’s likely to be a few dollars per unit — much cheaper than current textbooks. (Apple’s cut of book sales is said to be 30 percent.)

Please continue reading Venturebeat. And check out CourseSmart.