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So long original iPad mini, Apple only sells Retina tablets now

It's time to say good-bye to the first iPad mini and its lower-resolution screen. Apple is all-in with Retina displays on the entire iOS line for phones and tablets.

It's official: Every iOS device Apple sells now has a Retina display.

The last holdout was the original iPad mini, which Apple introduced in 2012, but the company has quietly removed the small slate from its online store.

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9to5 Mac was among the first to notice the lack of an iPad mini on Apple's website Friday. A quick check of Apple's refurbished products site shows that you can still snag the old tablet, however. Third-party re-sellers will also continue to sell any remaining stock of Apple's first small tablet.

Of course, you're better off getting a newer iPad mini 2 or 3, although I'd recommend the less-expensive older model.

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The main difference between the mini 2 and 3 is the Touch ID sensor on the latter tablet, which costs $100 more for the base model. All of the other internal components are the same: An Apple A7 processor, 2048 x 1536 resolution screen measuring 7.9-inches and 5 megapixel iSight camera, for example.

While few will lament the loss of the original iPad mini, it has a special place in my heart. After using the original 2010 iPad for nine months, I abandoned it for a 7-inch Android tablet because of the better portability offered by a small slate.

I wrote up my reasons for doing so and later found out during the Apple court trial with Samsung that Apple's Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, read the article that same day, passing it along to Tim Cook, Phil Schiller and then-employee Scott Forstall.

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Cue generally agreed with my experience, having used a 7-inch tablet himself, and suggested Apple build a smaller slate. Eighteen months later, the first iPad mini arrived.

Regardless of the personal nostalgia, even I agree that the iPad mini's time has come and gone. Apple has clearly decided that higher resolution displays are central to the mobile experience on phones and tablets.

With the new MacBook and its Retina display joining the MacBook Pro and 5K iMac line, the company has signaled that these screens are ideal for laptops too. I give it a year-and-a-half before the entire OS X line is retina-only as well.

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