Every man and his dog seems to be posting iPad mini news so we thought we’d jump on that bandwagon as well, especially since it seems October 23 2012 will be iPad mini release day. The thing is for all those “wanting” the mini, has anyone used the Nexus 7 to get a feel for the form factor and practicality?  I have my first Android tablet now and I’m mixed on the size, why would I want to do tasks on a smaller screen if I’m going to the hassle of pulling it out of my tech bag?

The Obligatory iPad Mini Speculation Bit.

So what do we know about the iPad mini.. Well nothing truth be told bar the hype from Blog sites going into over drive once again. Sure we all chase hit’s but surely the time for regurgitation of unfounded rumours could do with just calming down a little.  I’m all for discussion on areas such as this

iPad mini features.

Slimness and weightlessness seem to be the main priorities at Apple and what sticks out like a sore thumb is the iPad 3 which got thicker and heavier from the generation before it. It really sticks out in a hindsight because there is this relentless model after mother or everything gets thinner and lighter. The iPad 3 got noticeably thicker and heavier to accommodate the battery which went against the smaller, thinner Apple way but I’d guess there was little in the way of choice to do everything they wanted to with the new iPad.  Back to the mini.

  • Will it have a retina display?
  • Will it have 3G / LTE built-in?
  • What are Apple going to sacrifice technology wise in the form of a dangling carrot?
  • What touch screen tech will be used?

iPad mini display

At first I thought it would be a given the iPad mini or iPad air would ship with a retina display like all other Apple products do across the board but on every display related device, they have all debuted as a non-retina screen and you could pretty much expect that to be the same for the iPad mini.

When it comes to presentation time you can expect Apple to focus on other features and not the display such as color richness, brightness, readability or something diverting away from pixel density numbers.

It’s going to be a shock of Apple would release a new device this late in 2012 that’s not retina when everything else is gone retina across the board.

iPad Mini using iPhone 5 touch screen tech.

In the interests of thinness and lightness I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they went with the new technology that started this year in the iPhone 5 touch screen sensors are integrated into the glass display instead of being a separate layer. So even though there won’t be the retina pixel resolution the pixels will seem closer to the surface adding to another big part of the appeal.

Colour quality would then probably like the IPS displays and better than say the 3GS which has the same pixel resolution. But one thing will be for certain that this display will be better than other non-retina display resolutions found on earlier Apple products.

“Of course if it’s not a retina display it’ll be used as a knock against the iPod mini”and people will comparing against the Amazon Kindle devices. In other words headlines will be Apple blew it by not shipping with a retina display.


[pullquote_right]Want to go faster data wise, you’ll have to go bigger in size.[/pullquote_right]The existence of the iPhone 5 slimness, lightweight nature and support for LTE makes me think that the iPad mini or the iPad air is in with a shot of coming with LTE out of gate.  If not releasing a “hampered” 3g version points the  dangling carrot pointing squarely towards the bigger iPads.   LTE needs a bigger battery but would wi-fi be enough?  What compromises will Apple deem acceptable.  Surely Mini Tablets are designed for more out and about work? Again remember the Apple history of leaving things out, that iPhone 3g was 2g only, first iPhone created a need for apps to be installed.  It’s a trend but I just think Apple will go along the lines of , Want to go faster data wise, you’ll have to go bigger in size.

iPad Mini Pricing.

Well one thing that everyone can agree on, it’s not going to be cheap.  Apple doesn’t need to slash prices and break even just like Amazon’s business model.  People are going to snap it up regardless of the price and let’s not have “well… it only costs $56 to make, that’s disgraceful” replies please.  Apply the same argument to McDonald’s, ram chip makers, car manufacturers and if you still arent convinced think about all that other small stuff like Research, development, infrastructure costs, returns, support, you know all that stuff which comes with an iDevice.

On the pricing front, don’t over think it. Everyone seems to have this idea in the head that if the new iPad touch is $299 then how come the iPad mini could cost less if it’s a bigger device?  True, a 13 inch MacBook is cheaper than a 15 inch MacBook, smaller is cheaper but miniaturization is expensive.  The iPod touch is not just a small iPad it’s a miniature iPad.

Cameras are a good example.  They compact down nicely to a certain point and do get cheaper with fewer features but miniature cameras such as spy cameras are a lot more expensive. It’s expensive to miniaturise things.

Also the starting capacity of the iPod touch is the 32 GB so if it was a 16 gig tablet it’s right back up there with being competitive similar devices.  Let’s say for argument sake the iPad mini start to $199 which is $100 cheaper than the iPod touch, what’s the worst case scenario?

iPod Touch Cannibalism.

So this bigger and more compelling device is cheaper, somebody walks into an Apple Store thinking about getting an iPod touch and walks away with an iPad mini, well guess what, they just walked out of the Apple Store buying an iPad meaning that Apple wins. If you walk into an Apple Store and walk out with an Apple product than Apple classes that as a win.

If the new iPad mini completely cannibalize sales of the iPod touch then that’s great because it’s an Apple product doing that. As long as people are buying Apple products it’s a win win situation for Apple.

Let’s not forget Apple have made products that crossover in the genetic make up. The iPod touch is a far more appealing device when you go running that the iPhone, further down the chain the iPad mini is an even more attractive proposition for fitness freaks.

Will I be getting an iPad Mini?

Probably not.  My workflow is set up to go hand in hand with the display size offered by my new iPad.  Data packages for iPads in the UK are still stupidly lacking for what you get.  I’ve got myself a Nexus 7 tablet and it’s almost there form factor wise yet still awkward enough to be cumbersome leaving me thinking there is no “best size” but what you feel works for you.

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