Why the iPad mini 2 might get Retina; but not Touch ID

Why the iPad mini 2 might get Retina; but not Touch ID

Summary: Apple's new iPhone lineup is all about differentiation and the iPad will likely follow in its footsteps.

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TOPICS: Apple, Hardware, iPad
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All eyes are on Apple's fall event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Fransisco tomorrow. Rumors are flying about which iPad will get what feature, but I'm betting that the full-size iPad will pull away from the iPad mini (features wise) in an effort to differentiate the two product lines.

When Apple released the new iPhone 5s and 5c in September, its goals weren't to release a high-end/high-price iPhone and a low-end/low-price iPhone, but rather two quality products, with one being slightly less expensive than the other.

Apple doesn't want to get into a race to the bottom and cut prices (and quality) to compete, but instead wants to make both market segments feel like they're getting something of value. It's not in Apple's DNA to simply make a stripped down model that's "the cheap one."

I expect that Apple will take a page out of its iPhone playbook with the iPad announcements tomorrow.

The iPad mini 2 needs a Retina display to compete with the Nexus 7 (2013 version) and the Kindle Fire HDX 7 which both have 1920×1200 resolution screens. An iPad mini with only 1024x768 resolution at 163 pixels per inch (PPI) isn't going to cut it in Q4.

On the flip side, the iPad mini 2 doesn’t need Touch ID. Although I want it as much as the next person, Google and Amazon's 7-inch tablets don't have fingerprint scanners, and omitting it from the iPad mini is a way to keep prices down and differentiate it from the full-size iPad 5.

Need Touch ID and the latest chip? Pony up for the iPad 5.

This purported leak claimes to show an iPad 5 with Touch ID, but the iPad mini 2 without. Jason O'Grady
(Picture: CtechCN.com)

On Saturday the Chinese language CtechCN.com posted the image above which purports to show the new iPad 5 with a Touch ID sensor in the home button and an iPad mini 2 without it. 

It makes sense that Apple would add Touch ID and an upgraded A7x chip to the full-size iPad 5 and bump the iPad mini 2 up to a Retina display and an A6x chip, because that's how what it just did with the iPhone.

Although the iPad mini 2 will probably retain the same $329 starting price (Cupertino's modus operandi is to add features but keep prices static), Apple should drop it to $299 to better compete with the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDX 7 which both start at $229.

Tuesday will likely be a replay of what Apple did with its new iPhone line last month. Both new iPhones have Retina screens, but the high-end iPhone 5s was differentiated with Touch ID and A7, which the lower-cost iPhone 5c got the A6 and a lower price.

What are your hopes and dreams for the iPad line tomorrow?

Topics: Apple, Hardware, iPad

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8 comments
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  • The iPad Mini could become the analogy to the iPhone 5c

    It might be that the A6X chipset can NOT support Touch ID and if that is so, than if the iPad Mini does ship with the A6X than, of course, the iPad mini will have to do without Touch ID.

    However, earlier in the "rumor year", online photos of "rumored" iPad and iPad mini front bezels indicated that the home button hole cutout would NOT support a standard home button without Touch ID but that those hole cutouts DID support perfectly the Touch ID sensor from the iPhone 5s.

    Be that as it may, we will all know for sure tomorrow about which hardware features are shipping with each iPad tablet.
    kenosha77a
  • I just did a nslookup...

    on "thecheapone.apple.com" and, indeed it's not in Apple's "DNS".
    Samic
    • Yup

      It's fixed now. Jokes over. :)
      Samic
  • Browsing Web on iPad stinks, and Apple likes it that way

    Everyone needs to read this.......article by USA Today, and I think it will settle the whole issue of people complaining about Microsoft Surface not having apps.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/03/04/browsing-web-ipad-gigaom/1961947/
    craigdarock
    • What the article does not explain

      Is HOW web browsing on the iPad stinks. What YOU do not explain is how this issue - IF it is true - has one thing to do with the lack of apps for the Surface. My experience with the iPad - as limited as it is - is that the web browsing is not bad for a tablet and is comparable to an Android stock browser.

      Another thing you miss is that there are 3rd party apps available for the iPad such as Chrome or Dolphin Browser to name 2.

      Nice try to try to say something bad about an Apple product while promoting a Microsoft product but most people can see through you and your attempt.
      athynz
  • Not sure I agree

    The article references the 5s / 5c strategy, but this seems to have failed completely; not because of the 5c which is a perfectly fine product, but because they priced it too high to really take off.

    The 5c wasn't intended as a cheap alternative to the 5s, but rather an alternative to buying the old 5 model. So people could get some thing 'new', that nonetheless was pretty much the same product as the 'old' 5. And it would have worked, but not at this price.

    Now, the 'mini' I think should not and als has not ever been seen as a cheap version of anything, but rather just a different form factor. The iPhone is smaller still, yet it's not priced lower; I don't see the mini as a cheaper offering, I see it as an offering for people who like to take iOS on the road but for whom the iPhone is too small, and the iPad (much) too big.

    This is why I never bought an iPad; it's just to big and heavy. Sure you could lug it arond in a bag, or use it at home on the couch.. but wait, that's what my laptop is for.

    iPad Mini is (almost) small enough to carry in a jeans pocket (well, for me. ;) ) I wich it was just marginally narrower, but it's doable. (Nexus 7 though is much easier to carry in that way).

    Either way I think if they load up the Mini on features AND give it a price to match, people will still buy it. Just like they buy the iPhone even though it's tiny. My concern is actually that they'll raise the price. If it doesn't get the fingerprint scan I think it'll be mostly for supply chain reasons; it's hardly a feature that would make me want to buy that humongous slab that is the full size iPad. It's really not an alternative, it's not a premium version of anything; it's just big.
    Han CNX
    • The three bears approach to Marketing

      I think you have hit the nail on the head regarding the iPad mini form factor being "just right" - but I think your argument applies largely to the teen and 20/30 something demographic.

      For those of us over 40 we typically need the larger screen because of degraded eyesight and either have a purse big enough to carry full sized iPad or a wife with said bag who kindly carries it for us.
      MSFollower
  • Umm, none of this is really "news" Jason...

    ...Leo Laporte and others have been talking about these same points for weeks. It stands to reason that if Apple wants to keep the larger iPad the premium device they'd integrate A7x and a touch ID system like the latest iPhone. I think they will find, however, that that probably still won't be enough to stem the hoards of people that are picking up the mini from doing so. It's just the all around better and more portable (almost pocketable) device.

    Sad to say, the quality and quantity of your posts has fallen behind from just a year or two ago. This is just regurgitated crap.
    Playdrv4me