Just few weeks after Apple’s iPhone 5 event, rumors of a smaller iPad have emerged on the interwebs. While Apple has been known for their immense secrecy, it seems that they have lost their edge. With 7-inch tablets slowly taking over a sub-set of the tablet market, is it finally Apple’s turn to compete with tablets such as the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire? Well apparently, it seems so. Read past the break to find out all you need to know about this magical new device.
The iPad Mini will most likely feature a 7.85-inch display, however rumours about the resolution and aspect ratio have been sketchy at best. John Gruber believes that it will be at 4:3 ratio, with the iPad 2′s 1024×768 resolution. Simple math shows this to be 163 PPI (pixels per inch), definitely a non-retina display, and roughly the same PPI as the iPhone 3GS. The 7.85″ inch size is quite unique, since that will make the device roughly 40 percent larger than the other 7-inch tablets on the market. The 7.85-inch screen size would ensure that the controls are usable, if Apple decides to go with the 1024×768 resolution.
If the iPad Mini is supposed to be the “budget iPad”, then it seems obvious that it won’t feature the resolutionary retina display, probably to urge customers looking for a more-premium product to jump-up to the full-sized iPad. However, the real issue ultimately is if Apple is willing to ship the iPad Mini with a lower-quality display than the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD (which both have 200+ PPI displays for a sub-$300 price point). If Apple were to take the 2048×1536 and put it on the iPad Mini then you would have a Retina display similar to the iPhone’s with 326 PPI. A retina display would definitely justify a higher price point if it were as such. Apple could leave out a few things like an IPS display in an effort to reduce the costs, if necessary. The display will definitely be a very important feature of the iPad Mini and it almost controls the price.
Some sources are reporting that the iPad Mini will not come in a 4G LTE variant, but we find that extremely hard to believe. In typical Apple fashion, we believe that Apple will sell both a Wi-Fi only, and a Wi-Fi + 4G variant, with the latter costing an extra $100. And without a doubt, you should get the 4G one. With something this small and portable, it wouldn’t make sense not to.
As awesome as it would be to see the HD front-facing camera, that would also add more to the cost of this ‘budget’ iPad, but it’s definitely something Apple will consider because the iPads remain the only products in the pipeline with out 720p HD FaceTime cameras. We should expect to see a front facing camera, but whether it will be 720p is unclear. The higher resolution FaceTime camera will be much better considering that your video won’t look lie it’s from an 8-bit video game, on that biggish screen.
The iPad Mini will probably feature the same 5 megapixel shooter found in the new iPad (3), and the new iPod Touch. While the smaller form-factor will make taking photos with it less ridiculous, we still don’t think the iPad is an ideal replacement for your point-and-shoot camera. Apple could throw out the rear camera entirely, like in the Nexus 7, if cost becomes an issue. The front camera will probably be VGA-quality. Blurry club photos never looked better.
The iPad Mini won’t exactly be a smaller carbon copy of the big brother, but instead rumors say that Apple has got a very unique design of this little guy. The design will be more rounded where it’s tapered on the present version and it will look very industrial. The iPad Mini is will be sporting a super sleek 7.2mm waist which is as thin as the 4th generation iPod Touch. Apple will want to keep this guy light, so that they don’t ever run into the iPad (3) issue where it was made heavier. A usual there won’t be any removable battery. One very interesting was the idea of the iPad Mini coming in different colors like the new iPod Touch, but all the pictures show that the iPad Mini has a color scheme similar to the iPhone 5.
Apple is expected to cut many corners in this device in an effort to bring the costs down as low as possible, and sadly the specs will also be affected. The resolution of the iPad Mini most probably be 1024×768 or a little higher and that can be handled be the two-year old A5 chip sitting in the iPad 2 and iPod Touch 5th generation. The A5 chip would be cheaper, but it probably won’t be compatible with most of the new apps and games designed for the A5X and A6 chips. The chip of course will be clocked lower than current iPads because of the smaller body’s heat tolerance. The typical 1GB of RAM will be there, if the don’t knock it down to 512MB. I think there should be an A6 chip with 1GB of RAM, so that the people who buy this tablet won’t get screwed as soon as the next iPad comes with a new and better chip. The new iPad will feature the infamous lightning port and new stereo speakers. The battery in this thing will be a 4490 mAh battery which is puny compared to the new iPad’s gargantuan 11,666 mAh battery, but it will do and should give around 10 hours of use, the usual iPad battery life.
This is hands down the biggest and most important factor of the new iPad Mini, price. The prices will start around $329 for the base 8GB WiFi-only model. The price could go as high as $649 if rumors of the highest end option being a 64GB with 4G LTE are true. The cellular options will cost a $130 more than the WiFi variants, like in the present models. If the price really does start at $329 then Apple needs a lot of unique and enticing features to pull customers away from the $199 Nexus 7 and $199 Kindle Fire HD. The Kindle Fire owned the market until the Nexus 7 made its way to the scene with very high-end specs for cheap and stole the market, now its Apple’s turn to take a shot at the budget tablet market.
Here’s a timeline of all the rumors since the original Pad’s inception in 2010.
iPad Mini parts leak ahead of the event (October 17th, 2012): Parts reseller ETradeSupply, posted accurate photos of images of what it says is the 8-inch (7.85″) LCD screen for Apple’s smaller iPad, as well as its battery. The photos suggest Apple will stick with a 4:3 screen ratio and not adopt the 16:9 ratio seen on the new iPhone 5.
Apple sends out “Special Event” invitations (October 16th 2012): Apple has sent out invitations for a special event on 23rd October where the long rumored iPad Mini will supposedly be unveiled. There will also be other products and services announced there too. The tagline: “We’ve got a little more to show you.”
iPad Mini prices and configurations ( October 15th, 2012): Technology blog, MobileGeeks posted a screenshot of alleged iPad Mini pricing from a German retail store. The prices run anywhere from 249 Euros ($325) for an 8GB, Wi-Fi only version, all the way up to 649 Euros ($847) for a top-of-the-line, 64GB Mini with Wi-Fi and cellular data. Reports also say that twenty-four different versions, will be available with two colors, storage options from 8GB up to 64GB, with Wi-Fi only and cellular models.
WiFi-only iPad Mini (October 9th, 2012): The Guardian, citing unnamed industry sources, said Apple’s upcoming iPad Mini will support only Wi-Fi, instead of the company offering a version with both Wi-Fi and cellular networking. The report adds that there will be a revised version of Apple’s larger iPad with a Lightning dock connector and a chipset that will have world 4G LTE. There are pictures of the iPad Mini on top of a new iPad (3rd gen) from 9to5Mac writer, Sonny Dickson.
iPad Mini colors leak (October 2nd, 2012): Apple news site UkrainianiPhone posts photos of a rear iPad Mini casing, screens, and a front bezel. The outlet claims these parts were snapped from inside a Chinese factory. The biggest change has to be a black metal back that looks a lot like the one on the iPhone 5. The bezels also look thinner. Hit the link to see photos.
iPad Mini leaks all over the web (September 18th, 2012): Fast forward and Chinese site BoLoPad publishes photos of what it claims is the iPad Mini, a 7.85-inch tablet with an aluminum back. The device looks much like earlier leaks with a Lightning connector on the bottom and other buttons and ports in the same places.
Apple heads talk iPad Mini (August 3rd, 2012): Among the pieces of evidence that popped up during the U.S. trial between Apple and Samsung was the release of an internal e-mail in which top Apple executives discussed interest in a smaller version of the iPad. In it, Apple’s iCloud and music chief, Eddy Cue, writes to current Apple CEO Tim Cook, iOS software chief Scott Forstall, and marketing chief Phil Schiller mentioning a positive conversation with then CEO Steve Jobs about a 7-inch version of the iPad. “I expressed this to Steve several times since Thanksgiving and he seemed very receptive the last time,” Cue wrote.
iPad Mini engineering samples (July 10th, 2012): Photos of alleged engineering samples for the rumored (and expected) Apple iPad Mini surfaced on blog GottaBeMobile, the iPad Mini’s case, it’s a piece of orange, molded plastic — not a fully working device. It also looks like it has been designed after the iPod.
iPad Mini for October (June 29th, 2012): For those interested, Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves is saying that he “anticipates” a 7.85-inch iPad, with 8GB of storage at a $299 price tag, around October. Hargreaves also notes that this could end up cannibalizing sales of Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad by about 25 percent.
iPad Mini demand is huge (May 4th, 2012): A survey shows that more than half of those polled by shopping site PriceGrabber said they would buy one. The question asked the buyer if they would be interested in a 7-inch iPad that costed around $249.
6 million for 3rd quarter (April 16th, 2012): Chinese portal, Netease suggests that Apple is planning on producing 6 million units of the iPad Mini that would be ready to ship by the third quarter of 2012. The outlet also suggested the tablet could sell for $249 to $399, overstepping the Kindle Fire’s $200.
iPad Mini sitting around in labs (April 5th, 2012): Daring Fireball’s John Grubber claims that Apple has a few iPad Minis sitting around in Apple’s labs in Cupertino. The ones in the labs supposedly have a smaller screen which has a resolution of 1024×768.
Samsung leaks iPad Mini plans (March 13th, 2012): Korea Times has reported that there’s a 7.85-inch screen version of the iPad in the works for release by the end of 2012. That information comes from an unnamed official in Samsung, which manufacturers most of Apple’s products.
iPad Mini set for production (March 1st, 2012): DigiTimes says a 7.85-inch iPad is in its sample stage, with “volume production” set for the third quarter of 2012, suggesting a holiday release. Once again, the site says the iPad Mini is retaliation from Apple against the Kindle Fire.
iPad Mini in ‘testing’ stage (February 22nd, 2012): Taipei-based market research firm TrendForce is claiming that iPad Mini prototypes are in testing stages for a Q4 launch in 2012. Whether the product will leave the prototype stage, and reach mass production, is unknown
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iPad Mini on schedule for 2012 (December 16th, 2011): According to DigiTimes, Apple is on schedule to release an iPad Mini with a 7.85″ display in 2012. The iPad Mini will be introduced to fend off the budget competition, like the Kindle Fire, from eating into Apple’s massive tablet market share.
Apple testing display samples from suppliers (October 18th, 2011): Taiwanese news company, United Daily News reports that Samsung and AU Optronics have sent samples of a 7.85″ display, to Apple, to be used in the new iPad Mini.
Apple increasing production (October 12th, 2011): Apple is said to be ramping up production of the new iPad Mini, so that their will be enough units for the imminent launch. Apple hopes to take down the competing budget tablets, like the Kindle Fire, with their new mini slate.
iPad Mini rumors surface again (December 10th, 2010): Reuters has said that Apple is preparing a new kind of iPad with a smaller screen size that is half of the current iPad’s screen size. It will also include front and back cameras.
About the 7-inch iPad (November 6th, 2010): According to many manufacturers and designing activities there will be a 7-inch iPad arriving on the scene.
Apple working on 7-inch Retina Display and more storage (October 7th, 2010): Tapei-based supplier has informed sources that there’s a device in the works with a mini or microUSB like port, a Retina Display and 128GB of internal flash storage.
7-inch iPad is ready (September 24th, 2010): Chinese site, Shanzai.com is claiming that Apple’s new 7-inch slate is ready to go with its design closely resembling the iPhone 4. The source is located near Apple’s Foxconn manufacturing plant.
iPad Mini coming for Christmas (August 17th, 2010): Taiwan-based Economic Daily News has said that Apple’s 7-inch iPad will be ready for the shopping season. The LCD and touchscreen parts indicate the December availability.
Apple is sourcing OLED panels for the iPad Mini (July 13th, 2010): Sources from component markets manufacturers say that Apple is ordering 7-inch OLED panels.
iPad Mini to have 5-inch or 7-inch displays (April 8th, 2010): The component makers are citing that Apple will be featuring either a 5-inch or 7-inch display on their new iPad Mini which is supposed to feature a sub-$400 price which sits nicely below the iPad’s $499 starting price.