On The Possibility of an iPad mini

The thought of a smaller iPad strikes fear into the hearts of many, with some going so far as to call the idea a large smartphone. True, there’s a lot of speculation surrounding the tablet and many reports have claimed that it will be unveiled next month during a special Apple event at which the next iPhone will also be either released or previewed.

There’s so very much information to gather about this rumored device that one could spend days looking for it all. Even the good John Gruber wrote an in-depth article exploring the many possibilities of a smaller iPad. I, however, have decided to jot down my own thoughts on the idea along with some useful information for all of you wondering what such a device would be like.

Display

The biggest aspect of a smaller iPad is definitely the display. According to the majority of reports, it’ll be a good 7.85 inches diagonally with a resolution of 1024 by 768. This would mean that the device could keep the same 4:3 aspect ratio that the current iPad has. It also suggests that the pixel per inch ratio would be 163, as opposed to the 264 count on the Retina iPad — i.e. it will not be a Retina display device.

I think this is better than a Retina display since all original iPad and iPad 2 apps will work perfectly with the device. If the device adopted a different resolution then things would get complicated for developers. Apple’s not going to make this device one that introduces an Android-like ecosystem of apps that are only compatible with certain displays. On the other hand, if you were to leave out developers entirely, the user experience could be less than satisfactory since you would be seeing pixels again.

Specs and Design

Other than the display, this smaller iPad could bring quad-core processing technology to Apple’s devices. Such an increase in speed was rumored to be included with the new iPad released earlier this year, but the device only received a quad-core graphics processor. The smaller iPad may also accommodate a good amount of internal storage — more than 8 GB but less than 64. Apple won’t be aiming for the cloud market like Amazon did with the Kindle Fire, but it will probably offer less storage for a smaller device since people presumably won’t be watching videos on it.

What about a camera? I'm sure there will be one in the smaller iPad.

What about a camera? I’m sure there will be one in the smaller iPad.

As for design, there has been much speculation on the matter. Some say the device will be an exact replica of the iPad 2, but smaller. Others claim that Apple will be taking things to a new realm with a complete redesign that’ll also come to the full-size iPad next year. Most reports just go with the idea that the smaller iPad will in fact be a larger iPod touch. I can see this being more likely, but Apple will not be using the shiny aluminum design on it.

Pricing

One of the biggest factors that this new iPad will be judged on is pricing. Users aren’t going to purchase it if it costs over $350, but that seems very unlikely. Most sources believe that the device will be priced from $200–250 to compete with the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7. Apple, of course, always has its own ideas in mind when it comes to the pricing of things. It might just keep the base price at $250 to challenge the market.

Purpose

What would you use this iPad for? Reading, gaming and other activities that are better for a smaller tablet that can be held in one’s hands effortlessly, I’d expect. It’d be the more portable device, even though that’s what a regular iPad is supposed to do. However, you could carry this one in your bag without taking up as much space, or you could throw it in your purse.

I don’t think Apple will ever use E Ink technology, but they probably want you to have a good reading experience. Making a tablet that’s very close to the proportions of an average book would be perfect. In fact, I’d prefer one that size if I were reading or playing a game. However, I’m not sure how many other reasons there are to get a smaller device. Obviously, gaming is easier when you have something that actually fits in your hands well, but the same cannot always be said for other activities. Watching a film or TV show, for instance, is more fit for a 9.7-inch iPad than a smaller one.

Reasoning

iMore's mockup of the iPad mini.

iMore’s mockup of the iPad mini.

You’re probably wondering why Apple would even enter the micro tablet market. Is it because their competitors are winning with smaller tablets? I highly doubt it. Apple’s reasoning would be to satisfy the minority of users who prefer smaller, handheld devices like a Kindle Fire. I can understand that rationale since the Retina iPad is not something that I can hold in my hand for an extended amount of time; it’s not good for reading a book at such a size.

Release Date

According to iMore, the “mini” iPad will be announced on September 12th along with the new iPhone. AllThingsD’s sources have a different view, asserting that the device will be announced at a different event in the month of October. There’s no word on an exact release date or even confirmation that this particular device will be spoken of at Apple’s event next month, but all signs point towards that since it’d prepare them for a good holiday season. As you may recall, the corporation released its iPhone 4S in October of last year — just in time for the holiday season. Apple clearly enjoys introducing products just before Christmas for better sales.

Your Input

I’ve given my two cents with lots of information about this potential iPad and I’m sure you have something to say about it. I have but two questions: would you buy the device if it had the specifications you desire (explain them) and do you think it’s a good idea for Apple to enter this market? Give all your thoughts on the matter and let’s generate some discussion.


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  • inksim

    What do you mean by “I think this is better than a Retina display since all original iPad and iPad 2 apps will work perfectly with the device.” ?

    I definitely want to have retina i.e. 2048×1536 in a iPad mini. With pixel double it will run all iPad apps just fine like current a new iPad does. I think Retina display would not be shipped with a iPad mini for various reasons, but incompatibility with iPad apps is not the one of them.

    • http://www.thepapermail.com Jacob Penderworth

      Every app that’s made for iPad will look perfect — not blurry or pixelated.

      So you’re saying that Apple doesn’t care about its developers?

    • exkeks

      +1!!

      2048×1536 at 7,85″ would exactly result in an iPhone ppi ratio and could probably be produced in a process similar to that of the iPhone display.

      So why not? Probably because of marketing reasons. Or because the 7,85″ rumors just have been calculated on this basis.

  • Vlad

    Apps are what is needed to make your smartphone smart and unique.Im fond of app creating and find it really helpful to use site like Snappii where i can build apps in minutes.

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