Apple's iPad mini: What to expect?

Apple's iPad mini: What to expect?

Summary: With Apple expected to unveil the iPad mini in a little more than 24 hours, I dust off my crystal ball and come up with a few last minute predictions based on rumors and supply chain chatter.

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TOPICS: Apple, Hardware, iOS, iPad, Tablets
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My readers love to challenge me, especially my ability to predict the future. The Hardware 2.0 mailbox is stuffed with requests such as the one below:

Any last minute predictions about what the iPad mini will be like?

Time to once again blow the dust off my crystal ball and see if I can come up with some predictions as to what tomorrow's Apple event will bring.

I have to be honest; I'm not expecting an awful lot of innovation from Apple. At its core, I expect the iPad mini to look and feel like a regular iPad hit with a shrink ray. Don't expect any radical revamping of how the tablet will look. All the rumors and supply chain chatter points to a tablet with a 7.85-inch display. For app compatibility, the display will retain the 4:3 aspect ratio of the current iPad. The word is that the display will have a screen resolution of 1024 x 768, the same as found on the iPad 2. This means that it won't feature a Retina display.

As to predicting a price, this is tricky, as it is possibly the key as to whether the iPad mini is a success or a runaway success.

There are several good reasons why Apple would choose to avoid going with a Retina display at this stage. First, it helps keep costs down. A standard display will also be thinner and lighter than a Retina display, and also require a smaller, lighter battery.

As for models offered, I expect that Apple will avoid offering an 8GB model, and instead go with 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities. I expect all capacities to be offered with "Wi-Fi" and "Wi-Fi + Cellular" connectivity. Cellular versions will undoubtedly support at least 3G networking.

There's little doubt that the iPad mini will make use of Apple's new Lightning 8-pin connector, and the cellular models will use a nano-SIM. Both front and rear cameras are highly likely.

As to what processor, the A5X used to power the full-sized iPad is certainly powerful enough, but the A6 used to power the iPhone might be a better options given that it is likely to be more power efficient. Apple has a lot of chip know-how, so it could kit the iPad mini out with something bespoke.

7 reasons not to wait for Apple's iPad mini

As to predicting a price, this is tricky, as it is possibly the key as to whether the iPad mini is a success (with Apple selling millions by the end of the year) or a runaway success (where Apple sells tens of millions by the end of the year). The idea that the iPad mini will be a flop is not even on my radar. Given Apple's liking of healthy profit margins, don't expect this tablet to come in at $199. My money is on the base model being listed at around -- 10 percent either side of -- $299.

Apple will augment this price with overpriced smart covers, along with other accessories.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, iOS, iPad, Tablets

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52 comments
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  • iPad mini

    so basically they are releasing a tablet I've had for months. Well mine says Samsung and it is 7.7 inches and has 4gLTE and works great, especially the maps!
    Michael Harris
    • Sorry Charlie

      I feel bad for you with putting up with that crappy OS!
      TimeForAChangeToBetter
    • It will still be very successful

      You may have a Samsung, but I'm sure the iPad mini will be successful. You only have to go into an Apple store most days of the week and see how full the shop is. I could have purchased a Android tablet ages ago, but I prefer Apple products, so I will buy one and my 10 year old son can play games on my iPad 2
      marcandsebe
    • Good for you

      Does it connect smoothly to your Android desktop computer?
      john_gillespie@...
    • st.... comment

      maps..... you hv nothing to say ... get out of here...
      dkaparunakis@...
    • to all READ THIS

      we are americans... we buy american products.... f.... those chinese, taiwanese, korean. sh..
      dkaparunakis@...
  • 4:3! Yeah!!!

    That will make it a perfect e-book reader!
    Userama
    • Perfect eReader?

      Let's see if Apple can do anything to make their LCD screen readable in sunlight.

      Also, it will most certainly NOT make the perfect eReader if it comes in at anything near 1lb. Kindle is down to 7.5 ounces. My Kindle is less than 6 ounces. Those are eReader weights. If the iPad Mini is over a pound, only raving lunatic Apple fanbois will consider it to be the perfect eReader.
      toddbottom3
      • Ebook reader

        First, don't you have anything better to do than spend your time being negative about anything, even something you haven't seen? Second, how much time do you actually spend reading in sunlight? I rarely try to do that, but can see the screen of my iPhone 4S adequately in bright sun, I just have to turn so that there is some shading on the screen, and that is with the display about 75% brightness. But then you wouldn't know, having no Apple equipment, right?
        rphunter42
      • If I wanted an E Reader

        If I wanted an E Reader, it would not be an Android tablet. I would buy a Kindle.
        marcandsebe
        • ... a Kindle ...

          runs a slimmed down version of Android. But that is not the issue. The screen technology is the thing. E-INK is great in sunlight, LCD not so great.
          heymull
          • who wants to read

            in the sunlight...

            that's sick
            dkaparunakis@...
      • kindle is not apple

        therefore
        it sucks
        dkaparunakis@...
  • This is the tablet I want...

    IF...the price is reasonable. The two reasons I don't have an iPad now is because (1) they are too expensive and (2) I want a 7". The 10" is too big to be a comfortable reader, and I don't want a Kindle because I want more than a single-function device.

    For me, $299 is my limit, and it needs to be for a 16GB model. It's not that I'm not willing to pay a bit more, but that's to upgrade it, either with 3/4G or a larger capacity. Otherwise, I might as well invest in a Nexus, or better yet, a Samsung that I can add a memory card to. I have an 8GB iPhone, and frankly, I'm tired of such a limiting storage capacity. Yes, my music is in the cloud. My docs are in the cloud. But apps still take up space, and if I WANT to put music, photos, or docs on the device, I want the space to do it.
    pky254
    • I believe it will miss your price point

      The 5th gen iPod Touch is already selling at $299 and it comes with 32 GB RAM. I can not see Apple releasing a 7" iPad at the same price point. $349/$399 seem to be the price range but I do not see how it will sell at that price.
      Gungnir
      • And my bet is...

        iPad Mini: 16gb $299; 32gb $349; 64gb (if there is one) $399. No idea what 3G premium will be, let alone monthly data plans.
        S_Deemer
      • iPod price will drop.

        I disagree. I think Adrian's price point is probably right or nearly right.

        While you're correct that this sort of conflicts with the price that's currently set aside for the iPod, nothing says that the iPod's price was anything but a diversion to avoid speculation of the iPad mini's price by the press.

        I predict that they will announce a sudden price drop of the iPod touch the same time they announce this.

        A few early adopters of the new iPod at the higher price point (and I'm betting it's a very small few) will be compensated via iTunes credit or something. JUST like Steve Jobs did when he dropped the price of the original iPhone.

        There's not a lot of wiggle room between the current iPod's price and that of the iPad 3. so either the iPad 3 goes up in price, or the iPod goes down.
        PolymorphicNinja
        • price is not important for me

          I am rich.... i hv very much money...............!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          dkaparunakis@...
    • keep an eye on the nexus 7

      then you might want to keep an eye on google's event on the 29th. 2 new 7' nexus 7's will be announced. a 32GB for $249, and one with 3G
      gilly78201
    • 7" tablet

      I really would have liked a 6 inch display, and NO BEZEL, so it would easily fit in my pants' pocket. So, not a potential customer for this product.
      rphunter42