After months of rumors suggesting that Apple wouldn't release a "Retina" iPad mini this year, the Wall Street Journal published a new rumor that the company would indeed release a Retina iPad in Q4 2013 after all — a complete turnaround.
Why, you ask? The answer is actually pretty simple. But first, some background is in order.
Apple used to be extremely predictable with its mobile hardware announcements:
- iPhones were announced in June (in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010)
- iPads were announced in April (in 2010, 2011, and 2012)
Samsung and Google would bank on Apple's clockwork-like schedule and release new models with new features that were better than Apple's a couple of months later.
Then Apple wised up and dropped its traditional April and June schedule:
- The iPhone 4 was announced in January 2011 and the iPhone 5 was announced in September 2012
- The iPad mini and iPad 4 which were both announced in October 2012
Although the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5C could still drop in September, Google couldn't wait until October to see what Apple would do with its next iPad, so it had to announce first.
On July 24, 2013, Google announced the successor to the Nexus 7 tablet, with an upgraded 1920 x 1200 pixel (323 PPI) screen, a jump from 1290 x 800 pixels (216 PPI) screen on the 2012 model. The screen has been getting high marks from critics and stealing mind share from the iPad mini's (non-Retina) 1024-by-768 pixel (163 PPI) screen. Which is admittedly anemic in comparison.
Then 8 days after the Nexus 7 2 reveal there's a new rumor (from WSJ, no less) that Apple would indeed release a Retina iPad mini this year after all. That's no accident, my friend.
Apple realized that it stood to lose millions in iPad sales to the new Nexus 7 2 with its flashy high-resolution screen and it leaked the Retina iPad mini story to the WSJ to freeze the market. The rumor will slow Nexus 7 2 sales to a crawl because most intelligent consumers will wait for the Apple announcement before buying a Nexus 7. Especially those with iTunes accounts.
I'm a huge fan of the iPad mini form factor and definitely felt seduced by Google's new hotness, but I'd definitely wait a month or two to see what Cupertino has up its sleeve for the September/October time frame.
You'd be crazy to buy a Nexus 7 2 before seeing what Apple has to offer!
We owe the fact that we'll probably see a Retina iPad mini in the fall to Google. I'm certain that if it weren't for the Nexus 7 2 Apple would have release a non-Retina iPad mini in the fall with a modest processor and camera bump making us wait until 2014 for the Retina version (and banking on the fact that a large segment of die hards would by both models). I'd bet my house on it.
Competition is a good thing my friend. (And good luck to Google selling all those frozen turkeys.)