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Transportation Weekly: Polestar CEO speaks, Tesla terminology, and a tribute

Judhajeet Das



Welcome again to Transportation Weekly; I’m your host Kirsten Korosec, senior transportation reporter at TechCrunch . That is the fourth version of our publication, a weekly jaunt into the fantastic world of transportation and the way we (and our packages) transfer.

This week we chat with Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath, dig into Lyft’s S-1, pay attention to an rising development in AV improvement, and take a look at an experiment with paving. Oh, and the way might we overlook Tesla.

By no means heard of TechCrunch’s Transportation Weekly? Catch up right here, right here and right here. As I’ve written earlier than, contemplate this a delicate launch. Comply with me on Twitter @kirstenkorosec to make sure you see it every week. (An e mail subscription is coming). 


There are OEMs within the automotive world. And right here, (look forward to it) there are ONMs — unique information producers. (Cymbal conflict!) That is the place investigative reporting, enterprise items and evaluation on transportation lives.

This week, we’re that includes excerpts taken from a one-on-one interview with Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath.

On February 27, Volvo’s standalone electrical efficiency model Polestar launched its first all-electrical car, a 5-door fastback referred to as the Polestar 2. The EV, which has a seventy eight kWh battery pack and may journey 275 miles (estimated EPA steerage) on a single cost, will probably be manufactured at a brand new manufacturing unit in Chengdu, China. Different notable specs: The infotainment system shall be powered by Android OS, Polestar is providing subscriptions to the car, and manufacturing begins in 2020.


Here’s what Ingenlath needed to say to me about …

EV charging infrastructure

To be very unpolitical, I assume it would be completely silly if we have been to goal to develop electrical charging infrastructure on our personal or for our model particularly. If you be a part of the electrical market at present, of course, you would see partnerships; that’s smart factor to do. Car corporations collectively are making an enormous effort in getting out a community of crucial charging stations alongside the freeway. 

That’s what we’re doing; we’re teaming up and have the contracts being designed and shortly signed.

On the corporate’s strategy to automation 

The terminology is essential for us. We very clearly put that into a totally different image, we’re not speaking about, and we clearly do not ever need to label it, anautopilot.” The focus of this system is a really protected distance management, which brakes for you and accelerates for you, and of course, the lane protecting. This is not about creating an autopilot system, it is about giving your security. And that’s the place we don’t need to provoke individuals considering that they have full rollout autopilot system there. However it is a system that helps you being protected and guarded on the street.

I additionally reached out to Transportation Weekly readers and requested what they needed to know after which despatched a few of these inquiries to Ingenlath.

TW Reader: How did it really feel taking one in every of your private styling parts – the C formed rear lamps – out of your earlier model over to Polestar?

Ingenlath: It’s an evolutionary course of. Polestar naturally builds on its “moms” DNA and as a brand new department develops its personal character. Thor’s hammer, the rear mild signature -—with every new mannequin launch (Volvo and Polestar) these parts diverge right into a model particular species.

TW Reader: How a lot do you continue to get to do what you’re keen on, which is design?

Ingenlath: Being artistic continues to be my most important job, now utilized on a broader scope — making an attempt to steer an organization with a artistic and  model constructing mindset. Nonetheless, I really like the Fridays once I meet up with Robin and Max to evaluation the fashions, sketches and new knowledge. We actually take pleasure in driving the design of each manufacturers to new adventures.

Dig In

Tesla is lastly going to supply clients a $35,000 Mannequin three. How the automaker is ready to promote this electrical car on the lengthy-awaited $35,000 worth level is an enormous piece of that story — and one which some ignored. Briefly, the corporate is blowing up its gross sales mannequin and shifting to an internet solely technique. Tesla shops will shut or be transformed to “info facilities” and retail staff can be laid off.

However this isn’t what we’re going to speak about in the present day. Tesla has additionally introduced again its so-referred to as “full self-driving” function, which was eliminated as an choice on its web site final yr. Now it’s again. House owners can go for Autopilot, which has automated steering on highways and visitors-conscious cruise management, or FSD.

FSD functionality consists of a number of options corresponding to Navigate on Autopilot that’s imagined to information a automotive from a freeway on-ramp to off-ramp, together with navigating interchanges and making lane modifications. FSD additionally consists of Superior Summon, Auto Lane Change, and Autopark. Later this yr, the system will acknowledge and reply to visitors lights in additional complicated city environments, Tesla says.

All of those options require the driving force to be engaged (or able to take over), but it’s referred to as “full self-driving.” Now Tesla has two controversially named automation options. (The opposite is Autopilot). As Andrew Hawkins at The Verge famous in his protection, “specialists are starting to understand that the best way we talk about, and the way corporations market, autonomy is critical.”

Which begs the apparent query, and one which I requested Musk throughout a convention name on Thursday. “Isn’t it an issue that you simply’re calling this full self-driving functionality whenever you’re nonetheless going to require the driving force to take management or be paying consideration?” (I additionally needed to ask a followup on his response, however the moderator moved onto the subsequent reporter).

His response:

“We’re very clear if you purchase the automotive what is supposed by full self driving. It means it’s function full, however function full requiring supervision.

As we get extra — we actually want billions of miles, if not perhaps 10 billion type of miles or kilometers on that order collectively from the fleet — then in our opinion in all probability at that time supervision just isn’t required, however that may nonetheless be as much as regulators to agree.

So we’re simply very clear.  There’s actually three steps: there’s being function full of full self driving that requires supervision, function full however not requiring supervision, and have full not requiring supervision and regulators agree.

In different Tesla information, the Nationwide Transportation Security Board is investigating a crash, that initially look appears to be just like the deadly crash that killed Tesla proprietor Joshua Brown.

Slightly chook …

We hear rather a lot. However we’re not egocentric. Let’s share.


It’s no secret that Pittsburgh is likely one of the hubs of autonomous car improvement on the planet. However what’s not so extensively recognized — apart from a gaggle of presidency and firm insiders — is that Mayor William Peduto is on the verge of issuing an government order that may give extra visibility into testing there. 

The town’s division of mobility and infrastructure is the central coordinator of this new government order that goals to assist information testing and coverage improvement there. The division goes to develop tips for AV testing, we’re advised. And it seems that info on testing shall be launched to the general public a minimum of annually.

Received a tip or overheard one thing on the planet of transportation? E mail me or ship a direct message to @kirstenkorosec.

Deal of the week

Daimler and BMW are presupposed to be rivals. And they’re, besides with mapping (each a part of the HERE consortium), mobility providers (automotive sharing, experience-sharing), and now the event of extremely automated driving techniques. The deal is notable as a result of it illustrates a bigger development that has emerged because the AV business hunkers down into the “trough of disillusionment.” And that’s consolidation. If 2016, was the yr of splashy acquisitions, then 2019 is shaping as much as be chockfull of alliances and failures (of some startups).

Additionally fascinating to notice, and one that may make some AV security specialists cringe, each corporations are engaged on Degree three driving automation, a designation by the SAE meaning conditional driving automation by which a number of excessive ranges of automation can be found in sure circumstances, however a human driver have to be able to take over. This degree of automation is probably the most controversial due to the so-referred to as “hand off” drawback through which a human driver is predicted to take management of the wheel in time.

Talking of partnerships, one other deal that received our consideration this week concerned New York-based mostly mapping and knowledge analytics startup Carmera and Toyota Analysis Institute-Superior Improvement. TRI-AD is an autonomous drive unit began by Toyota with Denso and Aisin. TRI-AD’s mission is to take the analysis being finished over on the Toyota Analysis Institute and switch its right into a product.

The 2 corporations are going to check an idea that may use cameras in Toyota check automobiles to gather knowledge from downtown Tokyo and use it to create excessive definition maps for city and floor roads.

TRI-AD considers this step one in the direction of its open software program platform idea generally known as Automated Mapping Platform that shall be used to help the scalability of extremely automated driving, by combining knowledge gathered from automobiles of collaborating corporations to generate HD maps. AMP is new and has potential widespread implications at Toyota. And TRI-AD is filled with A-listers, together with CEO James Kuffner, who got here from the Google self-driving venture and Nikos Michalakis, who constructed Netflix’s cloud platform, and Mandali Khalesi, who was at HERE.

Learn extra on Khalesi and the Toyota’s open supply ambitions right here.

Different offers:


Snapshot this week is a bit untraditional. It’s actually a snapshot of myself and my grandmother, months earlier than her one centesimal birthday. Her memorial service was held Saturday. She died at a hundred and one.

I suppose I might blame my feelings and timing for her sudden inclusion on this week’s publication. But when Evelyn deserves a tribute anyplace, it’s right here at TechCrunch.

I typically marvel, that if given the chance, what technical subject she would have ended up in? Given her particular talent set, I feel she would have been an exquisite mechanical engineer. She was a closet techie, a lover of science fiction who was equally fascinated by the very actual breakthroughs in science and area journey that occurred all through her lifetime. Her 30-yr profession as a manufacturing unit employee at an avionics producer definitely wasn’t romantic. Nevertheless it did give her a sure technical acumen (to not point out tenacity) that I admired.

And, she was one among my favourite check automotive companions. She beloved automobiles and quick ones, however not a lot driving them. Each time I received a brand new press automotive, we’d hit the street and she or he’d encourage me to take the turns a bit quicker — typically past my consolation zone.

She additionally liked street journeys and within the Nineteen Twenties and 30s, her father would drive the household on the principally filth roads from New Jersey to Vermont and even Canada. In her teenagers, she liked driving within the rumble seat, a function present in a couple of automobiles on the time together with the Ford Mannequin A.

She was younger at coronary heart, till the very finish. And my one remorse is that I didn’t discover a approach to get her into an autonomous car.

Subsequent week, we’ll give attention to the youngest drivers and one automotive startup that’s concentrating on that demographic.

Tiny however mighty micromobility

Lyft’s S-1 lays out the dangers related to its micromobility enterprise and its intent to proceed counting on third events to fabricate its bikes and scooters. Right here’s a key nugget about adoption:

“Whereas some main cities have extensively adopted bike and scooter sharing, there may be no assurance that new markets we enter will settle for, or present markets will proceed to simply accept, bike and scooter sharing, and even when they do, that we will execute on our enterprise technique or that our associated choices might be profitable in such markets. Even when we’re capable of efficiently develop and implement our community of shared bikes and scooters, there could also be heightened public skepticism of this nascent service providing.”

And one other about seasonality:

“Our restricted working historical past makes it troublesome for us to evaluate the precise nature or extent of the consequences of seasonality on our community of shared bikes and scooters, nevertheless, we anticipate the demand for our bike and scooter leases to say no over the winter season and improve throughout extra temperate and dry seasons.”

Lyft, which purchased bike-share firm Encourage again in July, additionally launched some knowledge about its electrical pedal-help bikes this week, displaying that the pedal help bikes are, unsurprisingly, extra fashionable than the normal bikes. Additionally they traveled longer distances and improved winter ridership numbers. Now, Lyft is gearing as much as deploy four,000 further electrical bikes to the Citi Bike system in New York Metropolis.

Yet one more factor …

Google Maps has added a function that lets customers see Lime scooters, pedal bikes and e-bikes proper from the transit tab in over eighty new cities all over the world. Customers can click on the tab to seek out out if Lime car is on the market, how lengthy it’ll take to stroll to the car, an estimate of how a lot their experience might value, together with complete journey time and ETA.

Notable reads

If take the time to learn something this week (in addition to this text), spend a while with Lyft’s S-1. The experience-hailing firm’s prospectus mentions autonomous 109 occasions. Briefly, yeah, it’s one thing the corporate’s executives are serious about and investing in.

Lyft says it has a two-pronged technique to deliver autonomous automobiles to market. The corporate encouraging builders of autonomous car know-how to make use of its open platform to get entry to its community and allow their automobiles to satisfy rides on the Lyft platform. And Lyft is making an attempt to construct its personal autonomous car system at its confusingly named “Degree 5 Engineering Middle.”

  • The corporate’s main buyers are Rakuten with a thirteen % stake, GM with 7.eight %, Constancy with 7.7 %, Andreessen Horowitz with 6.three % and Alphabet with 5.three %. GM and Alphabet have enterprise models, GM Cruise and Waymo respectively, which are additionally creating AV know-how.
  • By means of Lyft’s partnership with AV methods developer and provider Aptiv, individuals in Las Vegas have taken greater than 35,000 rides in Aptiv autonomous automobiles with a security driver since January 2018.
  • One of many “dangers” the corporate lists is “a failure to detect a defect in our autonomous automobiles or our bikes or scooters”

Different quotable notables:

Take a look at the Pedestrian Visitors Fatalities by State report, a newly launched report from Volvo Automotive USA and The Harris Ballot referred to as  The State of Electrical Automobiles in America.

Testing and deployments

Once more, deployments doesn’t all the time imply the newest autonomous car pilot.

On Saturday, Sidewalk Labs hosted its Open Sidewalk occasion in Toronto. That is a part of Sidewalk Toronto, a joint effort by Waterfront Toronto and Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs to create a “combined-use, full group” on Toronto’s Japanese Waterfront

The thought of this occasion was to share concepts and prototypes for making outside public area the “social default yr-spherical.” One such prototype “hexagonal paving” received our consideration due to its use case for visitors management and pedestrian and bicyclist security. (Pictured under)

These particular person precast concrete slabs are movable and permeable, can mild up and provides off warmth. The thought is that these hexagonal-formed slabs and be used to clear snow and ice in hassle spots and lightweight as much as warn drivers and pedestrians of modifications to the road use or to light up an space for public makes use of and even designate bike lanes and hazard zones. And since they’re permeable they can be utilized to soak up stormwater or melted snow and information it to underground stormwater administration methods.

Sidewalk Labs inform me that the pavers have “plug and play” holes, which permit issues like bike racks, bollards, and signal posts to be inserted. Sidewalk Labs initially constructed these with wooden, and the brand new prototype is the subsequent iteration, that includes modules constructed from concrete.

On our radar

There’s lots of transportation-associated exercise this month.

The Geneva Motor Present: Press days are March 5 and March 6. Anticipate idea, prototype and manufacturing electrical automobiles from Audi, Honda, Kia, Peugeot, Pininfarina, Polestar, Spanish automotive firm Hispano Suiza, and Volkswagen.

SXSW in Austin: TechCrunch can be at SXSW this coming week. Right here’s the place I’ll be.

  • 2 p.m. to six:30 p.m. March 9 on the Empire Storage for the Sensible Mobility Summit, an annual occasion placed on by Wards Intelligence and C3 Group. The Autonocast, the podcast I co-host with Alex Roy and Ed Niedermeyer, may even be available.
  • 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. March 12 on the JW Marriott. The Autonocast and founding basic companion of Vans VC, Reilly Brennan will maintain a SXSW podcast panel on automated car terminology and different stuff.
  • three:30 p.m over on the Hilton Austin Downtown, I’ll be moderating a panel Re-inventing the Wheel: Personal, Lease, Share, Subscribe. Sherrill Kaplan with Zipcar, Amber Quist, with Silvercar and Russell Lemmer with Dealerware will be a part of me.
  • TechCrunch can also be internet hosting a SXSW get together from 1 pm to four pm Sunday, March 10, 615 Purple River St., that may function musical visitor Elderbrook. RSVP right here

Self Racing Automobiles

Lastly, I’ve been in touch with Joshua Schachter who places on the annual Self Racing Automotive occasion, which might be held March 23 and March 24 at Thunderhill Raceway close to Willows, California.

There’s nonetheless room for individuals to check or demo their autonomous automobiles, drive practice innovation, simulation, software program, teleoperation, and sensors. Hobbyists are welcome. Signal as much as take part or drop them a line at [email protected]

Thanks for studying. There could be content material you want or one thing you hate. Be happy to attain out to me at [email protected] to share these ideas, opinions or ideas. 

Nos vemos la próxima vez.

Tech Passionate and Heavy Geek! Into Blogging world since 2014 and never looked back since then :) I am also a YouTube Video Producer and a Aspiring Entrepreneur. Founder, MyDroidDoes

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Opera’s VPN returns to its Android browser

Judhajeet Das



Opera had a couple of tumultuous years behind it, but it looks like the Norwegian browser maker (now in the hands of a Chinese consortium) is finding its stride again and refocusing its efforts on its flagship mobile and desktop browsers. Before the sale, Opera offered a useful stand-alone and built-in VPN service. Somehow, the built-in VPN stopped working after the acquisition. My understanding is that this had something to do with the company being split into multiple parts, with the VPN service ending up on the wrong side of that divide. Today, it’s officially bringing this service back as part of its Android app.

The promise of the new Opera VPN in Opera for Android 51 is that it will give you more control over your privacy and improve your online security, especially on unsecured public WiFi networks. Opera says it uses 256-bit encryption and doesn’t keep a log or retain any activity data.

Since Opera now has Chinese owners, though, not everybody is going to feel comfortable using this service, though. When I asked the Opera team about this earlier this year at MWC in Barcelona, the company stressed that it is still based in Norway and operates under that country’s privacy laws. The message being that it may be owned by a Chinese consortium but that it’s still very much a Norwegian company.

If you do feel comfortable using the VPN, though, then getting started is pretty easy (I’ve been testing in the beta version of Opera for Android for a while). Simply head to the setting menu, flip the switch, and you are good to go.

“Young people are being very concerned about their online privacy as they increasingly live their lives online, said Wallman. “We want to make VPN adoption easy and user-friendly, especially for those who want to feel more secure on the Web but are not aware on how to do it. This is a free solution for them that works.”

What’s important to note here is that the point of the VPN is to protect your privacy, not to give you a way to route around geo-restrictions (though you can do that, too). That means you can’t choose a specific country as an endpoint, only ‘America,’ ‘Asia,’ and ‘Europe.’

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Razer hooks up with Tencent to focus on mobile gaming

Judhajeet Das



Razer is summoning a big gun as it bids to develop its mobile gaming strategy. The Hong Kong-listed company — which sells laptops, smartphones and gaming peripherals — said today it is working with Tencent on a raft of initiatives related to smartphone-based games.

The collaboration will cover hardware, software and services. Some of the objectives include optimizing Tencent games — which include megahit PUBG and Fortnite — for Razer’s smartphones, mobile controllers and its Cortex Android launcher app. The duo also said they may “explore additional monetization opportunities for mobile gaming,” which could see Tencent integrate Razer’s services, which include a rewards/loyalty program, in some areas.

The news comes on the same day as Razer’s latest earnings, which saw annual revenue grow 38 percent to reach $712.4 million. Razer recorded a net loss of $97 million for the year, down from $164 million in 2017.

The big-name partnership announcement comes at an opportune time for Razer, which has struggled to convince investors of its business. The company was among a wave of much-championed tech companies to go public in Hong Kong — Razer’s listing raised more than $500 million in late 2017 — but its share price has struggled. Razer currently trades at HK$1.44, which is some way down from a HK$3.88 list price and HK$4.58 at the end of its trading day debut. Razer CEO Min Liang Tan has previously lamented a lack of tech savviness within Hong Kong’s public markets despite a flurry of IPOs, which have included names like local services giant Meituan.

Nabbing Tencent, which is one of (if not the) biggest games companies in the world, is a PR coup, but it remains to be seen just what impact the relationship will have at this stage. Subsequent tie-ins, and potentially an investor, would be notable developments and perhaps positive signals that the market is seeking.

Still, Razer CEO Min Liang Tan is bullish about the company’s prospects on mobile.

The company’s Razer smartphones were never designed to be “iPhone-killers” that sold on volume, but there’s still uncertainty around the unit with recent reports suggesting the third-generation phone may have been canceled following some layoffs. (Tan declined to comment on that.)

Mobile is tough — just ask past giants like LG and HTC about that… and Razer’s phone and gaming-focus was quickly copied by others, including a fairly brazen clone effort from Xiaomi, to make sales particularly challenging. But Liang maintains that, in doing so, Razer created a mobile gaming phone market that didn’t exist before, and ultimately that is more important than shifting its own smartphones.

“Nobody was talking about gaming smartphones [before the Razer phone], without us doing that, the genre would still be perceived as casual gaming,” Tan told TechCrunch in an interview. “Even from day one, it was about creating this new category… we don’t see others as competition.”

With that in mind, he said that this year is about focusing on the software side of Razer’s mobile gaming business.

Tan said Razer “will never” publish games as Tencent and others do, instead, he said that the focus is on helping discovery, creating a more immersive experience and tying in other services, which include its Razer Gold loyalty points.

Outside of gaming, Razer is also making a push into payments through a service that operates in Southeast Asia. Fueled by the acquisition of MOL one year ago, Razer has moved from allowing people to buy credit over-the-counter to launch an e-wallet in two countries, Malaysia and Singapore, as it goes after a slice of Southeast Asia’s fintech boom, which has attracted non-traditional players that include AirAsia, Grab and Go-Jek, among others.

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Review: Apple’s new iPad mini continues to be mini

Judhajeet Das



The iPad mini is super enjoyable to use and is the best-sized tablet for everything but traditional laptop work. It’s very good and I’m glad Apple updated it.

Using Apple Pencil is aces on the smaller mini; don’t worry about the real estate being an issue if you like to scribble notes or make sketches. It’s going to fall behind a larger iPad for a full-time artist, but as a portable scratch pad it’s actually far less unwieldy or cumbersome than an iPad Pro or Air will be.

The only caveat? After using the brilliant new Pencil, the old one feels greasy and slippery by comparison, and lacks that flat edge that helps so much when registering against your finger for shading or sketching out curves.

The actual act of drawing is nice and zippy, and features the same latency and responsiveness as the other Pencil-capable models.

The reasoning behind using the old pencil here is likely a result of a combination of design and cost-saving decisions. No flat edge would require a rethink of the magnetic Pencil charging array from the iPad Pro and it is also apparently prohibitively expensive in a way similar to the smart connector. Hence its lack of inclusion on either Air or mini models.

Touch ID feels old and slow when compared to iPad Pro models, but it’s not that bad in a mini, where you’re almost always going to be touching and holding it rather than setting it down to begin typing. It still feels like you’re being forced to take an awkward, arbitrary additional action to start using the iPad though. It really puts into perspective how fluidly Face ID and the new gestures work together.

The design of the casing remains nearly identical, making for broad compatibility with old cases and keyboards if you use those with it. The camera has changed positions and the buttons have been moved slightly though, so I would say your mileage may vary if you’re bringing old stuff to the table.

The performance of the new mini is absolutely top notch. While it falls behind when compared to the iPad Pro, it is exactly the same (I am told, I do not have one to test yet) as the iPad Air. It’s the same on paper though, so I believe it in general and there is apparently no “detuning” or under-clocking happening. This makes the mini a hugely powerful tiny tablet, clearly obliterating anything else in its size class.

The screen is super solid, with great color, nearly no air gap and only lacking tap-to-wake.

That performance comes at a decently chunky price, $399. If you want the best, you pay for it.

Last year I took the 12.9” iPad Pro on a business trip to Brazil, with no backup machine of any sort. I wanted to see if I could run TechCrunch from it — from planning to events to editorial and various other multi-disciplinary projects. It worked so well that I never went back, and have not opened my MacBook in earnest since. I’ll write up that experience at some point because I think there are some interesting things to talk about there.

I include that context here because, though the iPad Pro is a whole-ass computer and really capable, it is not exactly “fun” to use in non-standard ways. That’s where the iPad mini has always shined and continues to do so.

It really is pocketable in a loose jacket or coat. Because the mini is not heavy, it exercises little of the constant torsion and strain on your wrist that a larger iPad does, making it one-handed.

I could go on, but in the end, all that can be said about the iPad mini being “the small iPad” has already been said ad nauseam over the years, beginning with the first round of reviews back in 2012. This really is one of the most obvious choices Apple has in its current iPad lineup. If you want the cheap one, get the cheap one (excuse me, “most affordable” one). And if you want the small one, get the iPad mini.

The rest of the iPads in Apple’s lineup have much more complicated purchasing flow charts — the mini does indeed sell itself.

Back even before we knew for sure that a mini iPad was coming, I wrote about how Apple could define the then very young small-tablet market. It did. No other small-tablet model has ever made a huge dent on the market, unless you count the swarm of super-crappy Android tablets that people buy in blister packs expecting them to eventually implode as a single hive-mind model.

Here’s how I saw it in 2012:

To put it bluntly, there is no small tablet market…Two years ago we were talking about the tablet market as a contiguous whole. There was talk about whether anyone would buy the iPad and that others had tried to make consumer tablets and failed. Now, the iPad is a massive success that has yet to be duplicated by any other manufacturer or platform.

But the tablet market isn’t a single ocean, it’s a set of interlocking bodies of water that we’re just beginning to see take shape. And the iPad mini isn’t about competing with the wriggling tadpoles already in the ‘small tablet’ pond, it’s about a big fish extending its dominion.

Yeah, that’s about right, still.

One huge difference, of course, is that the iPad mini now has the benefit of an enormous amount of additional apps that have been built for iPad in the interim. Apps that provide real, genuine access to content and services on a tablet — something that was absolutely not guaranteed in 2012. How quickly we forget.

In addition to the consumer segment, the iPad mini is also extremely popular in industrial, commercial and medical applications. From charts and patient records to point-of-sale and job-site reference, the mini is the perfect size for these kinds of customers. These uses were a major factor in Apple deciding to update the mini.

Though still just as pricey (in comparison) as it was when it was introduced, the iPad mini remains a standout device. It’s small, sleek, now incredibly fast and well-provisioned with storage. The smallness is a real advantage in my opinion. It allows the mini to exist as it does without having to take part in the “iPad as a replacement for laptops” debate. It is very clearly not that, while at the same time still feeling more multipurpose and useful than ever. I’m falling in real strong like all over again with the mini, and the addition of Pencil support is the sweetener on top.

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