Apple iPad mini review: One for the road
Siri on the iPad mini
Apple's virtual assistant Siri is fully functional on the iPad mini. Since iOS 6 Siri speaks new languages too: Canadian English and French, Spanish, Italian, the varieties of German, Italian and French spoken in Switzerland, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese. These are also supported in the satnav app.
Support for POI search is supposed to get wider. Assistance with restaurant booking is part of Siri's new set of skills. It will find you exactly the restaurant you are looking for and filter the results based on user reviews. You can run impressively detailed searches based on food type, location, outdoor, pool, price range, ratings, etc. This feature is not available in every country, though.
One of the much-touted features is Siri's new-found flair for sports. It can answer lots of questions and isn't limited to game scores. History, stats, player bios, player comparison, teams, records, etc. Siri should be able to return most of the info right onto its own screen, without switching over to the browser.
The same applies to movies. You will get all of your movie-related answers right inside the Siri window - anything about actors, directors, awards, movie stats, premieres and tickets, reviews, trailers, etc.
The other new thing Siri can do is launch apps. Yes, it does look like one of those features that should have been there from the beginning, but better late than never, right? You can also have Siri update your Facebook and Twitter as well.
Apple announced it's working with various car manufacturers - BMW, GM, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler, Honda and others - to integrate Siri tightly with the car's audio systems. We are still a few years away from the moment when that collaboration bears fruit, though.
Facebook and Twitter integration
Facebook is tightly integrated in iOS. It even goes deeper than Twitter did in iOS 5.
We already pointed out that Siri can do your status updates for you. There are dedicated shortcuts for Facebook and Twitter updates in the Notification center as well.
You can share photos on Facebook right inside the Photo app.
Posting a picture on Facebook or Twitter is done through the familiar pop-up windows. For Facebook you can even customize the type of audience you wish to share the content with - close friends, family or any other group you've created.
The phonebook app on the iPad is the same as the one on the iPhone - Contacts. It lists all of your contacts complete with multiple email, number, address and other fields. You can set different tones for each contact, work details and you have convenient send message and share contact shortcuts available.
Your contacts are automatically sync'd so that you instantly get them from your phone, be it an iPhone, Android, etc.
Just like in Android you can sync your Facebook contacts with the phonebook. If you do, the system will search email and phone numbers, so it can link your contacts with their Facebook profiles.
Upon a successful Facebook link, the contact's picture, addresses, important dates, emails, phone numbers and websites will be updated. You will also get a new Facebook field with a shortcut to the contact's Facebook profile. It will load in the Safari browser however, not the dedicated Facebook app.
Unfortunately, the Facebook albums and feeds do not appear in the phonebook. All Facebook events will appear in the Calendar though.