ipadmini_thumb.jpg       The scores are in on Apple's unexpected update to the iPad 3 and the contentious iPad mini. Will these gadgets finally see the decline in Apple's fortunes, or will the juggernaut continue? 

Scoring the Future

In one of the busiest months in technology for some years, the shelves are soon to be groaning with new hardware. We've seen a whole raft of new Apple products, a competing line-up from Google and Microsoft's rebirth as a hardware vendor with Surface, plus Amazon's and B&N's recent updates. 

That leaves a buying public already up to the eyeballs with gadgets with a staggering amount of choice. Given the prolonged economic uncertainty, most may well be perfectly happy to keep on going with what they've got. Smartphone contracts will be ticking over, tablets are getting full use or discarded in drawers, so what's the point in a power upgrade that will hardly ever be used?

However, those with first generation tablets will be looking for something new. Those that have seen other family members pilfering the home tablet have a good excuse for an additional model, and folk who just live for gadgets will have been saving all year for this time of year. 

Those in the market, may well already be decided on what they want, perhaps following brand or ecosystem lines, in which case their choices are neat and inevitable. But for those undecided, open-minded or looking for a change, the reviews are now out to help decide. 

Ticking the Mini Boxes

The iPad mini reviews are the ones that anyone interested in technology will be most keen on, largely because of the perceived chink in Apple's armor. With a lower-resolution display and higher price, it appears to be at the mercy of cheaper rivals. 

The Verge review (scoring a 9.0) encapsulates that feeling neatly; "Regardless of market positioning, the iPad mini has to be viewed in a world with a $199 Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HD — two strong performers that are a far cry, at least in price, from the iPad mini. Even though Apple might want consumers to see these as separate product categories, consumers may only see that $129 gulf."