iPad Mini Rumour Roundup: Everything We Think We Know [Updated]

Now that the iPhone 5 is out, there's just one more thing for Apple nerds to freak out over: The iPad Mini. Rumours have been cropping up like crazy the past few weeks — enough to start putting together what we'll actually see from a 7-inch Apple tablet. Apple is holding an event tomorrow for what looks to be the iPad Mini, but what do we know about it so far?

So let's talk iPads. Small iPads.

What Will It Look Like?

If the accuracy of the iPhone 5 leaks is anything to go by, we've probably got a pretty good jump on what the new tablet will look like. What we've seen so far jibes with previous thoughts that the bezel on the smaller iPad will be thinner than it is on the full-sized version, due to ergonomics.

Otherwise, surprise! It reportedly looks like a shrunk-down iPad (as opposed to a bigger iPod touch). There had been decent amount of conflicting speculation, but the rumourmongers (and, more importantly, leaked images) seem to have settled on the squatter version, to the tune of a 7.85-inch diagonal measurement.

iOS can easily scale down to a 7.85-inch screen as-is and remain usable. So there shouldn't be any concerns about fragmenting the platform with different versions of iPad apps for the two sizes.

Here's the first photo we've seen of a purported iPad Mini actually working:

We've also seen similar a similar model lined up next to a Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7.

Update: A Ukrainian iPhone blog has also claimed to have leaked parts to the iPad Mini, with some new details. Appearance-wise, it's got an anodised black aluminium backplate.

Guts

Chances are an iPad Mini would look a lot like an iPad 2 on the inside. That means using the die-shrunk 32nm A5 processor and probably 512MB of RAM. The only big internal departure from the iPad 2, in fact, would probably be the inclusion of a Lightning port instead of a 30-pin connector. And for what it's worth, all of the cases and mockups we've seen have had rear-facing camera.

Stuffing the iPad 2's guts into a smaller iPad Mini makes even more sense after Apple outed the new A5-powered iPod touch. Tim Cook's Apple is all about supply chain efficiency. And having sunk some cash into shrinking down the A5 fairly recently for the upgraded iPad 2 and now the iPod touch, it would make total sense for an iPad Mini to squeeze as much out of that component as possible.

Display

Early on, it was assumed that a small iPad might not have a retina display. As a value proposition — added cost and battery consumption — it just didn't seem to add up. But the Kindle Fire HD's gorgeous 216ppi screen changed that calculus, as did the possible availability of battery-friendly Sharp Izgo displays.

Our friend Dr Raymond Soneira at DisplayMate wrote a quick brief about what sort of aspect ratio to expect:

Some photos and measurements (supposedly) of the iPad Mini seem to indicate that it doesn't have an Aspect Ratio of 4:3 like the full size iPads (see link below). Note that Apple just increased the Aspect Ratio of the iPhone 5 up to 1.78 from 1.50 for the iPhone 4, so it isn't unreasonable to assume that the same thing could happen with the iPad Mini, especially if it is positioned for selling TV content, which has 16:9. An Aspect Ratio of 4:3 is great for reading because it has the same Aspect Ratio as content on 8.5x11 inch documents, but a smaller 7 to 8 inch screen with a 4:3 Aspect Ratio will be noticeably Letterboxed with 16:9 content, with reduced image size.

Keeping the 768 pixel height will allow Apps expecting 1024x768 to be displayed with Letterbox borders in the same way as on the iPhone 5.

Here are the possibilities:

1024x768 is 4:3 = 1.33

1152x768 is 4.5:3 = 1.50 < — Most Likely based on photo

1228x768 is 16:10 = 1.60

1366x768 is 16:9 = 1.78

The Kindle Fire HD's gorgeous screen really holds Apple over the coals to nail the display on an iPad Mini. Especially if the latter costs as much as we think it might.

Update: The WSJ reports that the iPad Mini will have a "lower resolution" than the most recent full-sized iPad, which implies no retina display for you. This makes the question of pricing very interesting.

Price

There haven't been too many rumours about the price of a small iPad, but the biggest clue might come from Apple itself. The new iPod Touch starts at $329 in Australia. It would be kind of nuts if Apple started selling a 7.85-inch tablet for the same price as its iPod — or for less. This year's iPad starts at $539, and the iPad 2 at $429. So the Mini will have to dance around those price points as well. Whatever it ends up costing, though, it seems like it will be a good deal more expensive than its competitors the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7.

Network

There are a few rumours floating around that the Mini will have 3G, but there's nothing overly convincing either way. We would note, though, that both the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7 only come in Wi-Fi only. And that there may not be enough room in that 7.85-inch frame to squeeze a battery that can handle data suckage with any competence.

Name

While we're all using "iPad Mini" as a working title, it doesn't seem to be based on anything in particular. So it could be called anything. For what it's worth, though, the backplates we've seen have just said "iPad".

Release Date

Right now, the best rumour we have for a release date says the invitations will go out on October 10. That would probably mean an October 17 event. Apple typically releases products one or two Fridays after its keynotes.

For what it's worth, those Fridays are October 26, the release date for Windows 8, and November 2, just a few days before the US presidential election.

Update: The WSJ reports that iPad Mini component production has already kicked into high gear, with LG Display and AU Optronics cranking out LCD screens as early as last month. That reinforces the timeline rumoured above, but the one guarantee is that if Apple does put out a small iPad this year, it will be in time for the Christmas shopping season.


Comments

    Unlike the iPhone 5 leaks I'm yet to see a single photo of the internals of the iPad mini. Not sure why apple would want to follow everyone else in the 7inch market. If they do make a 7 to join the crowd and if their consumers go nuts for it, they really will become know as iSheep after all those years of bagging 7inch tablets.

    I want a new (updated) full size iPad :(

    Ok ill take back the internal leak comment as I've now scrolled down you home page and seen the internal photos and article. My hair colour is blonde after all.

    I was waiting to see what would happen with this... but then just ordered the new iPad last week instead. Word on the street is that it may actually be reasonably priced afterall.. but only time will tell and if it is.. it';d be a first for Apple.

    I don't want to compromise on the size of my tablet just because of price.. and I did flip-flop between the new iPad and Transformer TF300T for a week or so before ending up on the iPad.. it really comes down to the amount and quality of apps available..

    The iPad Mini would have been a compromise (size of screen and other features too) that I wasn't willing to make.. so I stopped waiting for it and got an iPad (3)

    That sounds cool. But the iPad is nice sized already. I couldn't imagine getting a similarly priced shrunken version.

    Perfect to replace a double din headunit :)

    It'd be interesting to see how well it sells considering its price compared to simalar devices, it'd need a killer feature but I doubt it'd have anything new or fancy... anyways, i still have my doubts if they will bother to release it...

    Today I went into JB Hifi and test drove a number of different tablets include a Nexus and I must say that although I only spent a small amount of time with them I prefer them to my ipad 2. Maybe the 3 is noticeably better than the 2 but I'm pleased with how quickly the technology is improving. Here's hoping the prices come down soon.

    I have been patiently waiting for a "mini" to come out. I have and IPad, and I just find it to big to carry around with me in my bag all the time. I have a different 7 inch tablet that I love the size, but hate everything else. So excited that it may finally come out this month!

    As one of the premier iOS developers in Australia, us clever design and code monkeys at Creative Intersection are both hoping for greatness and dreading yet another pixel-count on this new iPad mini.

    We have already seen a continuing fragmentation within the Apple device market as the "Retina" devices hit the streets, and now again with iPhone 5 (at a different ratio as well) ... although this fragmentation is miniscule compared to the messy Android specs that we have to deal with when developing Android apps.

    The challenge is that we have to put extra work into extended device compatibility and our designs need to be sensitive to more-and-more devices. This is, to some extent, starting to price us out of some markets for developing very simple apps.

    The "good ol' days" where we just developed an iPhone app are gone, and even if we're just doing an iPhone app these days we have to design and build it at 480x320, 960x640, and now 1136x640 ... just for iPhone!

    File sizes for Universal apps (iPhone+iPad, or Android handset+tablets) are also increasing by necessity and it's a continuous effort to try to squeeze apps into the 50MB download limits over 3G.

    Having said that, the iOS ecosystem is actually pretty darn good and streets ahead of Android (OK .... flamewar .... commence!).

    Why can't they just use a Micro USB like everyone else?!
    GRRRRR

    Sebastian61
    www.infernosolar.com.au

    Just get a nexus 7, no point holding out for another apple product which will most likely also disappoint consumers. The nexus 7 is fairly price, has good specs and available right now can't see why people are so excited about this.

      Ummm NOOOO!!!! I beg you, on principle alone stay the hell away from Google Hardware.

      I bought a Nexus 7 online via the Google Play Store. It arrived with dead pixels all over the screen. . as reported online by thousands of other customers. Obviously the deal they made with Asus to build the units was tight on the purse strings, hence the terrible quality control. There have also been many reports of Nexus 7 units with faulty raised screens. It was an absolute nightmare trying to ship it back and get a refund. Even though THEY arranged the courier to pick it up, THEY lost it! I had to do alot of detective work to track it down, then I had to prove to them that I actually shipped it before they would refund my money. Google is a JOKE! They should stick to search engines and operating systems and stay the hell out of the hardware/tablet market. They have a terrible customer service track record.. just Google it ;-)
      I'm sticking with Apple.. as they are the market leader and have never let me down. The only decent alternative to an iPad is the Kindle fire. From my research, Amazon is doing pretty well as far as quality control and customer service is concerned.

      Nexus 7 = Google + Asus = PURE CRAP! You have been warned!!!

    Can't wait to get one! I bet it'll have retina display, since indications are Apple is introducing it across the entire product line.

    Found this clip from Alicia Silverstone's movie and it looks like Hollywood already had an idea of ipad mini long before its official announcement. watch her reaction to yet another idevice.
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6-7uHNqjro

      Alicia's not a Gizmodo reader then...shame. Here's hoping Krysten Ritter is though. Man-swoon.

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