The Apple iPad Mini is finally out. After months and months of denying to be working on a smaller iPad, since Apple found the 9.7″ display size simply too perfect to let go off, Apple finally released a product everyone wanted released. But did the iPad Mini deliver? Did it satisfy what people really wanted? Fanbois aside who would call this device wonderful anyhow, the iPad Mini is the exact opposite of what Apple claims they strive for in all their products, innovation. Simply put, the iPad Mini is broken. Fix it Apple.
The Apple iPad Mini
The Apple iPad Mini has already been written on, including it’s Indian launch and pricing. A brief summary of the same.
The iPad Mini is the latest entrant to Apple’s portfolio of products. After the extremely successful launch of the Apple iPad two years ago (which literally shaped the industry into what it is today), Apple finally decided to step into the growing niche of 7″ tablets that are currently (and in the future) dominated by Android running devices priced all the way from a lowly $49 up to $249 for the best products (such as Google’s very own Nexus 7 made by ASUS, more on that later).
Apple iPad Mini Full Specifications
- Apple A5 chipset
- 1 GHz dual core ARM Cortex A9 CPU
- PowerVR SGX543 MP2 GPU
- 512 MB of RAM
- 7.9″ XGA (1024*728) display (162 ppi)
- LED-backlit IPS LCD with Oleophobic coating
- 5 MP rear camera, 1080p video @ 30 fps
- 1.2 MP front camera, 720p @ 30 fps
- 16/32/64 GB of internal storage
- Bluetooth v4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
- 16.3 Wh Li-Po battery
- 308 grams weight, 7.2 mm thick
- Apple iOS 6 (Siri integrated)
Additionally, you can read about the pricing of the various iPad Mini models and their availability in India from the previous post (click me).
According to latest industry reports, the Apple iPad Mini 2, or whatever Apple decides to call it will pack a higher resolution display. Apple will christen the new iPad Mini with a Retina display. Simply put, the resolution will be high enough so that the ppi or pixels density on the display is higher than the norm set by Apple, namely Retina display.
Display & Screen Size
Current Android competition tablets such as the Amazon Kindle Fire HD pack displays with resolution as high as 1280*800. The same applies to Google’s Nexus 7 tablet. Both tablets pack a 7″ display. That puts the ppi for these displays to just under 216, which is fairly good and almost enough for crispy display and nice reading and browsing experience. What was expected of Apple, like their previous products have already, was to beat competition and introduce a much higher resolution, i.e. Retina panel with the iPad Mini. There are various reasons as to why Apple could not (or did not) do the same. Firstly, the cost of the tablet. Apple takes it’s profit margins real serious. And they simply didn’t want to lose a few more moolah putting a costly Retina panel. The other genuine could be the lack of enough Retina displays. Apple didn’t want to screw up the stock and supply and not keep up with the demands for the iPad Mini, so they chose a display which they knew would meet the demands.
The display for the next iPad Mini might end up with a resolution of 2048*1536. This keeps the aspect ratio (discussed a little ahead) and also matches the Retina display specs. At 7.9″, the next iPad Mini would now have a 326 ppi display, which would be the highest ever for a less than 10″ category tablet.
Another interesting aspect is the screen size. The iPad Mini has a squarish shape, and an odd 7.9″ display. Videos have blacks on either end (top and bottom), and while the world has moved on to 16:9, 16:10 or 15:9 aspect ratio norm, Apple stuck to it’s roots, a.k.a 4:3. It is unlikely that this area will see any change with the future iPad Mini.
Chipset & RAM
The iPad Mini packs an older generation chipset. This chipset is now being used solely for the (relatively cheaper for an Apple product) new iPod, and the old iPad 2 only. We were expecting Apple to keep up with the chipset, and not use one that is 2 generations old (from the iPad 3 and the iPad 4) already at the time of launch. We expect Apple to use the same chipset as the iPad 4 in the next iPad Mini. That being said, the RAM size should also double to 1 GB. To drive a retina display, all this would be necessary. Therefore both these changes will most definitely come together, or not come at all.
Move aside, Apple A5, Apple A6X is here.
Size & Design
The iPad Mini has very small bezel on it’s sides. Also, previously discussed aspect ratio of 4:3 is really odd with today’s widescreen standard adopted devices. We doubt that Apple would change this, but a wider design should really be considered for future iterations. It really is the way forward. Square boxes can finally be laid to rest.
That being said, I don’t think people would have any qualms with the iPad Mini’s amazing 7.2 mm slim body. Even at 7.9″, the weight remains an appreciable and light 308 grams only. We don’t expect this to change by much either. News is that Apple will ditch two LED backlights in favor of one in the next Mini. This would be done to accomodate a higher resolution display and yet keep check on the weight of the device, and it’s slim dimensions.
Launch Time Frame
Considering that Apple has pretty much made it clear of their accelerated and faster product launch cycle (more towards a bi-yearly than a yearly release schedule), we can expect the new iPad Mini come out somewhere around the end of 1H 2013 itself. Having said that, the iPhone 5 will also be receiving an update to the iPhone 5S and probably released around the same time frame, if rumors are to be believed. For now, we can simply wait and see how the next year pans out. 2013 is shaping up to be an epic year already.