The perfect thing?

After dinner last night (at Bandera on N. Michigan Ave., by the way, which is a sister brand of Houston's, at which I've probably eaten 200+ times in my lifetime and had a near-perfect meal every time, which is the subject of another column entirely), I had the opportunity to stop by an Apple Store and take a look at the new iPad mini.

My two-word review: It's amazing.

To expand on that review slightly: It's like holding in your hand the most perfect electronic device ever. It's almost unbelievably compact and lightweight, yet because the screen takes up a bigger percentage of the surface area than ever before, it seems fully functional as a full-sized tablet. (And, of course, thanks to the Internet, the content available on it is almost all of the world's information and entertainment, but that's true on other devices too.)

Not to belabor a point, but it is just astonishingly thin and lightweight and gorgeous.

As a person who grew up watching the high-tech "futuristic" devices used on "Star Trek: The Original Series" and "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," I'm amazed that such a futuristic device has come to exist in my lifetime -- and at a price that is, on an inflation-adjusted basis, about the same price as a mere reel-to-reel tape deck or cotton-candy machine.

Now, of course, I'm pretty sure that in 2017 we'll look back at the iPad mini 1.0 and laugh at its clunkiness ("What, no holographic display? Lame!"), but at this point in history, it's really something.

If you get a chance, go take a look at one yourself and see if you agree.

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