iPad mini a boon for developers of location-based apps

App developers should be able to quickly get to grips with the newly released iPad mini and will also be presented with several opportunities, including the creation of location-based apps, according to an industry expert.

The iPad mini, unveiled earlier this week, goes into direct competition with Google’s Nexus 7, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

While it’s unusual for Apple to follow in the footsteps of its rivals, it’s been reported Apple is concerned about the threat from Microsoft’s Surface tablet, which launches tomorrow.

Foad Fadaghi, research director at technology analyst firm Telsyte, says there are several things app developers need to consider with regard to the iPad mini.

“I think because of the fact the resolution is the same as the iPad 2, it shouldn’t cause too many challenges for developers,” Fadaghi says.

“With the normal iPad, most people use it in the landscape format. The fact that you can lift [the iPad mini] on one hand means people might use it in the portrait format.”

“That might impact the way people design applications… The other small thing to consider is the iPad mini is a more portable device.”

“It might be more suitable to take around in a small bag or large pocket, which could lend itself to more location-based applications.”

“When things get smaller, it’s likely some new ideas might be generated around location-based apps usage.”

According to Ovum principal analyst Adam Leach, the iPad mini marks a significant shift in Apple’s strategy,

“For the first time in its recent history, it is responding to market pressures from its competitors, namely Google and Amazon, in bringing a smaller tablet to market,” Leach says.

“Apple in the past has defined new products with new form factors and waited for the market to follow.”

“In this instance, Apple is following the market trend towards smaller, cheaper tablet form factors. This reflects a fundamental change in the way Apple operates.”

According to Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, the iPad mini is a device unlike any other.

“Others have tried to make tablets smaller than the iPad, and they’ve failed miserably. These are not great experiences,” Schiller said in his demonstration.

Schiller hit out at the Google Nexus in particular.

“The entire Android product is thicker and heavier than the iPad mini even though it has a smaller display,” he said.

“You get a tablet experience on the iPad mini. You get a scaled-up phone experience on the other.”

This article first appeared on StartupSmart.

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