Joshua Ginter explores the notion that the big iPad is for “creation”, while the Mini is for “consumption”:
I think it becomes apparent, then, why everyone assumes the iPad Air is the creator and the iPad Mini is the absorber. While both now have the same internals, the preconceived notion that the iPad Mini is not meant for creation has overruled analytical and advisory minds. It actually makes sense to associate “smaller” and more “portable” as an absorber.
So, long story short, the assumed purpose of each iPad has lagged behind the actual capabilities of each iPad. Everyone assumes the Mini is an absorber because it has always been an absorber. Everyone assumes the Air is a creator because it — for the most part — has always been the creator.
That both new iPads have identical guts make deciding between them that much harder. The Air seemingly offers the best of both worlds, as most reviews attest. I say both are “creators”, as Ginter describes the big iPad, but the big one, I think, is ever-so-slightly better for the screen size alone. The more I think about it, given my vision and use case, the iPad Air is the better choice, all around. It’s the same big screen1 in a much thinner and lighter body. The best of both worlds.
In terms of pixel density, the Mini actually has a denser display than the Air — 326 ppi versus 264 ppi, respectively. ↩