At a press event held Tuesday, Apple unveiled what has to be its worst-kept-secret to date – the iPad mini. On top of that, iMac and MacBook updates were also announced, and, so was a new iPad. Yes – despite the iPad “with Retina” being released just this past spring, Apple wasted no time in releasing a successor that carries over the CPU from the recently-launched iPhone 5.
First, the iPad mini. It’s a 7.9-inch tablet designed for those who may not want the full-fledged 10-inch model (and possibly also its price), but rather something much larger than their phone yet still comfortable enough to hold and small enough to throw anywhere. Atypical to many of Apple’s other recent releases, this product does not feature a “Retina” display. Instead, it packs in a 1024×768 resolution, resulting in a PPI of 163. It uses an older SoC, the A5, has 512MB of memory, supports LTE and also includes Apple’s Lightning connector.
For its price-point of $329, the iPad mini costs quite a bit less than the full-fledged model, but it’s hard to say whether it’s actually that compelling. There’s a lot of competition at the moment in the $250-and-under space, and given these specs, the competition does look to be faster. Google’s Nexus 7, for example, is about the same size (7″ vs. 7.9″) but packs in a faster CPU, more memory, and has more storage. Those who pick up an iPad mini will be doing so namely for the iOS ecosystem, and not the performance.
The mini aside, Apple also announced a new iPad, though no one’s sure if it should be called the “iPad 4”. In all regards, it looks the same, but it packs in a better SoC (at least double performance), improves the front camera (1.2MP vs. 0.3MP), upgrades the wireless to dual-band and also adds the Lightning connector. Compared to the previous iPad, this one is clearly the winner, although it’s an unfortunate move for consumers given the previous iPad has only been available about six months. Technology can be an unfair beast sometimes!