Yes it’s real and it’s here – Apple announced what the rumour mill had more or less nailed ages ago. The iPad Mini is the 8″ touch screen that we’d expected – a regular iPad compressed into a smaller space. And for me, this could well be the device that really makes waves in the DJ scene. Allow me to explain my thinking.
Regardless of the technical marvel that is the iPhone, using one on its own for DJing is hard. It’s just too small to be used in a hurry, and using one with a controller is still a bit of a push. The iPad however is a much better proposition. The large screen offers a lot of real estate to play with, as witnessed by the new iDJ Pro. But again, using one by itself is possible but lacks real tactile controls. The way forward for me is what is being done with Numark’s iDJ Pro – sticking an iPad into the belly of the beast. But because of the size, as the Numark iDJ ably demonstrates, wedging one inside a controller compromises conventional layouts, because the whole centre are usually reserved for mixer controls is taken up with the iPad.
But now we have something that sits somewhere between the iPhone and iPad. The iPad Mini is still probably a little cramped to serious play in you hand, but the really big win here is how controllers can incorporate one but not necessarily have to suffer the same compromises that a big iPad insists on.
While some of you reading this may well scoff at the very thought of using an iPad for DJing, they’re all seriously powerful computers, more than capable of handling the demanding task of DJing. And having a pocket sized brain with enough screen space for interactivity, enough grunt to power it, and enough space to keep many a DJ quite happy sees the iPad Mini ideally placed to really take off for DJs.
When the first iPad dropped back in April 2010, I wrote a piece about it and said this:
“The iPad and its slew of me-toos will send a wave through the DJ scene akin to when CDJs and DVS systems hit. Big words, but I totally believe it to be true.”
And with the iPad Mini, I think that this has every chance of becoming the iPad that makes a serious dent on the DJ market. Not so much from an independent use point of view, but certainly will become the unit that manufacturers will want to put inside their controllers. And given the lower premium but same screen resolution and power, the notion of leaving your laptop at home and just putting your iPad inside a controller becomes a reality. And when the big boys finally get with the program and make iOS versions of their Windows, OS X and even Linux apps, the DJ industry will see a shift previously felt with CDJs, DVS and controllers.
But of course, you don’t have to use them or even agree with me. But the writing is on the wall. Or iPad as it were.