Apple just announced the next-generation iPad Mini, and it finally has a screen worth staring at. The iPad Mini now has a retina display that will make everything on the 7.9-inch screen look astonishingly clear. Along with the new fantastic screen, Apple has also sped up the internal chips while keeping it all inside the same light and thin body of the original. However, it does cost a lot more.
Just like the rumours suggested, the iPad Mini 2's design looks strikingly similar to the original iPad Mini. It's made from the same anodised aluminium and has the same thin bezel. You'd be hard pressed to figure out the difference between the two generations of iPad Mini until you see the screen.
Like the iPhone 5s and the new iPad Air which packs the 64-bit A7 processor, the iPad Mini with retina display will also be powered by the A7. That new 64-bit chip makes its CPU 4 times as fast and gives the iPad Mini with retina display 8x faster graphics.
The M7 motion coprocessor makes an appearance in the iPad Mini too, but we'll have to see how useful that is in a tablet (as opposed to a phone you always carry around with you). The new iPad Mini also has 802.11n Wi-Fi with MIMO tech to speed up Wi-Fi to 2x as fast. Apple says the new iPad Mini will have the same 10-hour battery life we've grown accustomed to with iPads.
It's a huuuuge leap in performance from the original iPad Mini which had the A5 chip. Basically, if the original iPad Mini had the performance power of the released in March 2011 iPad 2 (which it did). This new iPad Mini with retina display has the oomph and punch of the 2013-era iPhone 5S and iPad Air. In terms of performance, it's jumped two generations in one leap.
After not including a retina display on the original iPad Mini, which only had a resolution of 1024×768 and 163 pixels per inch, the iPad Mini 2 will have a screen with double the resolution at 2048x1536 and 324ppi. That's a heck of a lot better than before and should have been there from the beginning.
For reference, the 2013 Nexus 7 has a 7-inch screen with 1920x1200 resolution for a pixel density of 323 pixels per inch, while the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX is similarly specced with a 7-inch screen at 1920x1200 resolution and 323ppi.
The iPad Mini has new colourful smart covers and smart cases too. $48 for the traditional smart cover and $89 for the full wraparound smart case.
Price and Availability
But to get all the improved guts and fancy new screen, the new iPad Mini with retina display is more expensive! A lot more expensive. It will run you $479 for a 16GB Wi-Fi only model and $629 for the 3G and Wi-Fi model. For storage size, you have the option of 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB for $479, $598, $699 and $99, respectively. Tim Cook said the new iPad Mini will be available sometime "later in November".
The iPad Mini with retina display will come in two colour options, Apple's new white and black (silver and 'space grey').
The old iPad Mini goes down to $349 for a 16GB Wi-Fi version. When you compare it to devices like the brand new Nexus 7 or the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, the iPad price drop is a little less exciting. But if you can't live without iOS, the new price makes things a little less painful.