Apple iPad mini 2 review: Moving up the ranks
Apple's document editing apps are now free
Apple's iWorks suite including Pages, Numbers, and Keynote is available as a free download. The latest versions of the apps have had the iOS 7 makeover.
Pages allows you to import, create or edit documents (DOC and DOCX are both supported). It isn't as powerful as some of its Android counterparts, but it covers all the basics and will do an excellent job for most users.
Numbers supports viewing and editing XLS and XLSX files and also covers all major features you'll probably need - charts, formulas, tablet formatting, the lot. There are many themes that will help you quickly create complicated spreadsheets even if you don't know how to do a scatter chart (looking at how the templates work is a good way to learn).
Finally, Keynote opens and edits (PowerPoint) presentations. It has all the tools you'll need to create a decent presentation from scratch, including tons of beautifully designed themes. You get comprehensive editing options including adding multimedia, tablets, charts and customizable transitions.
You can easily import files via iTunes and use iCloud for backup and sync.
The iBooks reading app is another free download courtesy of Apple. It has been freshly redesigned as well, dealing away with the old wooden bookcase design. Despite the new design, which matches the iOS design language, there are no new features.
While reading e-books may be its most obvious purpose, there's a fully featured e-book store integrated inside the app - the iBook Store. It's choke full of e-book titles (some of which are free). Going further than the concept of reading only digital copies of paper books, Apple has been long working on making publishers create books with iBooks in mind, meaning interactive books, which are conceived for the digital world right from the get go.
As for the reading duties, the app has got pretty much everything covered. You have various font and background settings and there is a independent brightness slider.
One thing's for sure. The iPad mini 2 screen seems a great fit for reading. It's just the right size and text looks incredibly sharp on the high-resolution screen no matter the font size.
The iBooks app is also a PDF viewer, which is one way you can sideload in the app books and magazines that you have already downloaded elsewhere.
The iPad mini makes it easy to check your schedule
The Calendar app has been revamped as well and has a very useful new feature. You can now drag and drop events if you want to move them to different days. Just tap and hold on an event, and you can move it to a different day and hour.
The calendar benefits greatly from Facebook integration. Birthdays and events from Facebook are immediately synced with your calendar. Other online calendars like Google can also be synced and you have the option to omit them from the Calendars tab.
You can view events as a list (iOS's agenda variant) or have aday or month view. There's also a toggle to get back to today if you've strayed too far away. Events are color-coded so you can recognize what's what with a quick glance.
Events are entered the same way as before. You can choose which calendar you want the event to be synced with, add a location, additional notes and set up an alert.
In the Calendars tab, you can customize the iCloud personal and job-related event colors to your liking. You can also create additional calendar entries, for example if you have two jobs (or projects), etc.
The Reminders interface has been changed as well. It comes with a couple of default lists - Scheduled and Reminders, but you can create your own lists as well.
Setting up a reminder is easy. The available options are time, place, repeat, priority and notes.
The refreshed Note app has a split screen interface - tap on Notes to bring out a list of all notes in the current account, then tap Accounts to view all accounts. Once you select a note, the side panel automatically hides. You can share, copy and print notes.
The Clock app has got a new skin as well. It has world clock, alarms, stopwatch and a timer. You can set any of the songs in your music library as an alarm tone. You can also choose from your custom ringtones. The world clock shows the time in six locations at once (but you can scroll to reveal more slots) and you get a world map with all the cities, complete with a weather forecast.