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What to expect from the iPad mini

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October 1, 2012

Perhaps this is what the iPad mini will look like next to its big brother

Perhaps this is what the iPad mini will look like next to its big brother

Image Gallery (10 images)

A smaller iPad is coming. For the first time since the iconic tablet's launch in 2010, Apple is giving the product line an expansion. According to Fortune, we even know the date that Apple will send out its invitations: October 10.

With the launch approaching, let's take a look at the features and specs that various leaks and rumors have suggested.

Branding

Is this what Apple.com will look like later this month?

Is this what Apple.com will look like later this month?

We don't know for sure that Apple will call it the iPad mini. Back in August, John Gruber of Daring Fireball suggested the possibility of an iPad Air. As the "mini" moniker hasn't been used in nearly a decade (remember the iPod mini?), iPad Air would be more consistent with Apple's 2012 product line.

Apple has been known to surprise us with naming (everyone thought we'd be using the iPad 3 right now), but we'd still place the safe money on "iPad mini."

Price

A $199 price point would appeal to holiday shoppers

A $199 price point would appeal to holiday shoppers

Apple wouldn't bother making a smaller iPad that barely undercuts the US$399 iPad 2. Could Apple sell it for $199? If it's priced in that range, then Amazon (Kindle Fire HD), Barnes & Noble (Nook HD), and Google (Nexus 7) will have some stiff competition.

Design

We'll likely see black and white models of the iPad mini

We'll likely see black and white models of the iPad mini

Expect a tablet that's a bit larger than 7-inch slates like the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7, only thinner and significantly lighter. Various sources – including 9to5Mac and Daring Fireball – report that the smaller iPad will sport a narrower bezel on the sides.

The device's svelte and light-as-a-feather build could well be its biggest differentiating feature. It could potentially be as thin (or nearly as thin) as the 5th generation iPod touch: a slight 6.1 mm.

Display

Leaks and speculation point to a 7.85-inch display

Leaks and speculation point to a 7.85-inch display

Insiders predict a display measuring 7.85 inches, with 1024x768 resolution. If those numbers sound familiar, it's because it will essentially be a shrunken-down iPad 2 display. This makes it easier on developers, as it will run apps in the same resolution as the first two iPads.

This would give the new tablet a pixel density of 163 – well short of Retina qualifications. It would, however, be sharper than the pre-Retina iPads, as the same number of pixels would be crunched onto a smaller screen.

Processor and RAM

Apple may use the A5 chip in the iPad mini

Apple may use the A5 chip in the iPad mini

Instapaper developer Marco Arment suspects that the display resolution won't be the only feature borrowed from the iPad 2. The iPad mini could have the same internals as the 2011 tablet: an A5 chip (dual core, 1GHz) and 512MB of RAM.

Storage

Will Apple opt for the familiar iPad storage options?

Will Apple opt for the familiar iPad storage options?

16GB would be a smart bet for flash memory. It's possible that Apple will offer 32GB and 64GB models in $100 increments, but there could be value in keeping it simple. Additionally, a budget tablet loses appeal with each $100 tacked on.

Wireless

The iPad mini may come in an LTE-enabled flavor

The iPad mini may come in an LTE-enabled flavor

Will the iPad mini be a Wi-Fi-only affair, or will we see a 3G/LTE option? I'd lean towards the latter, with the mobile data model coming in at $130 higher than the standard Wi-Fi edition.

Camera

We wouldn't bet on seeing stellar cameras in the iPad mini

We wouldn't bet on seeing stellar cameras in the iPad mini

The new Apple device should have both front-facing and rear cameras. These would also likely be borrowed from the iPad 2 - meaning a 0.92 megapixel (MP) rear shooter and a VGA front camera. Nothing stellar, but they'll allow for video chat and basic photography.

Miscellaneous

For the foreseeable future, all iOS devices will sport the new Lightning connector

For the foreseeable future, all iOS devices will sport the new Lightning connector

The iPad mini will sport Apple's new smaller Lightning connector, so you'll need a $30 adapter to use it with your old 30-pin accessories.

If the new device includes headphones (a long shot, as iPads never have), then they will be the new EarPods.

Summing up

Apple's recent products have been leaked in advance (both the 3rd gen. iPad and iPhone 5 were all but confirmed well ahead of their announcements). If that pattern holds, then there's a good chance that Apple will soon reveal something much like what you see above.

Does the iPad mini sound enticing? Would any current iPad owners have interest in this, or is it more for customers who have never owned an iPad? Let us know in the comments!

Sources: Daring Fireball [1] [2], 9to5Mac, Marco.org, and iMore

Some image elements sampled from Wikipedia, PowerCX iBlog, and EverythingiCafe

About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin covers consumer technology for Gizmag. He's previously written for Android Central, Geek, GottaBeMobile, Android Police, and The Huffington Post.
He lives in New Mexico, U.S., with his lovely wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
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7 Comments

The infamous "7-inch tablets are going to be DOA" (via Steve Jobs' own words) is making its way to the public. A little late. My wife and have iPads, but we also have a Nexus 7 tablet that is said to be undergoing revisions here for a new release. The Android OS is excellent. However, we both wish to see what is released in the way of the new Windows tablets as we are more enterprise oriented and the apps that run enterprise are never Android or Apple to address our needs.

Fahrenheit 451
1st October, 2012 @ 05:36 pm PDT

My twelve year daughter has an iPad and I was planning to get my 10 year old an iPad for Christmas.

I think the iPad Mini would suit the 10 year old to a tee.

Amazing times we live in.

Robert McLean

"the3dprinter"

3d savvy
2nd October, 2012 @ 05:20 am PDT

$199?

You think that the iPad is going to be $100 cheaper than the new iPod touch, and Apple for the first time ever is going to match the price of the competition? Apple is a premium brand and they charge a premium.

I think the ipad mini is going to replace the iPad2 at the same $399 price, but it will have the internals of the new iPod touch to justify the price.

Michaelc
2nd October, 2012 @ 09:17 am PDT

I don't think it would be 199 bucks, 279 seems a more likely point !

atul292
2nd October, 2012 @ 12:05 pm PDT

I bet it STILL won't run flash and that there'll be nothing "mini" about its price. And what use is a tablet if it has a crappy display?

solutions4circuits
2nd October, 2012 @ 12:34 pm PDT

No GPS for sure, which means I won't get one.

Richard Chesher
2nd October, 2012 @ 01:23 pm PDT

No GPS means I will NOT BUY ONE.

GizMag, you need to review the GPS in this and other Tabs as to which have it and also the accuracy and sensitivity.

Example: my Galaxy Tab 10.1 is only fair. Accuracy seems to be basic, not WAAS, but it works in the jet cockpit. My LG Thrill Smartphone will work fine in the car or airplane with a plexiglas windshield, but not in an aircraft with electrically heated windshields. The HTC Evo 7 Tab is the best, hottest and most accurate. It works even in the passenger cabin and seems to be highly accurate (3 meters, WAAS).

This is important to many users yet is ignored by the tech reviewers.

barrettjet
3rd October, 2012 @ 05:40 pm PDT
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