Is the iPad Mini a Game Changer for Kids Entertainment?

This weekend, I went to look at the iPad Mini at my local Apple Store. Three tables on display, each with about eight new devices for everyone to check out… but each brand new iPad Mini was being used – very enthusiastically – by children aged between six and eight years old. It took about 10 minutes (when one parent dragged their child away) before I could pick one up – talk about stealing candy from a baby.

The way these kids played on the iPad mini was different from what I’ve observed with the traditional iPad. The 7.9” screensize and lighter weight (53% lighter than the traditional iPad) enabled their small hands to pick up the device and really engage with the screen.

What does this mean for your projects?

We Have an iPad App already – do we need to reconfigure it for the mini?
Luckily, not right now. I would recommend getting your hands on a Mini to see how well your game plays. You may want to consider some minor adjustments to take advantage of how players approach and use the smaller screen size, but won’t need a full re-do.

And be sure to ramp up your app promotions around and just after the Holiday season, when this device becomes the hot gift of the season and parents or kids want to use up their gift certificates on your app.

We’re thinking of building an iPad app – what’s different?
Since little ones are more easily picking up this device to play, your designers and usability experts may want to take advantage of the lower or midscreen side navigation so thumbs can easily direct the gameplay, and your developers will definitely want explore the accelerometer to bring enhanced movement and activity in your game. Observing youth with an iPad mini, they were picking it up, shifting it from side to side – really engaged with the device. Whereas with the traditional iPad, many kids play with this while it’s sitting on a table or on their lap.

Keep in mind this release of the Mini doesn’t feature retina display, meaning your app won’t be in HD. Just something to consider long-term as you may need to invest in an upgrade once the iPad Mini with retina display eventually comes along.

It’s still early days, but it feels like this device was made for kids. What do you guys think of the iPad mini? Is it a game-changer… literally?