Now that the iPhone is here and shipping, we the tech media turn our sights to the next big Apple product reveal – iPad Mini. Most likely it will be announced during early October media event.
Here’s my take on what we can expect with the iPad mini.
Hardware and Display
Rumor has it that iPad mini could end up with a 7.8-inch display, which is a little more than the typical 7-inch tablets out there.
Apple took a much different approach than its competitors like Samsung designing its latest smartphone, making an 4” iPhone taller instead of wider. So it’ll be little surprise so if Apple follows the same logic with iPad mini’s screen. Since smaller tablet has to be able to run iPad apps seamlessly out of the box, a seven inch display with same aspect ratio and screen resolution as the iPad 2 would make the most sense.
iPad mini will may or may not come with a Retina display, and I really hope it does. A non-Retina, iPad mini would be a significant downgrade, but in order to keep costs down and a reasonable profit margin, it may not be feasible.
When it comes to internal hardware, an iPad mini with an A5X chip, 512MB RAM, and similar quad core graphics chip to the one in the iPad 2 makes sense since costs need to be kept low. Also, less pixels play would call for less processing power, especially if the iPad mini is non-Retina.
4G/LTE models are inevitable also.
A smaller tablet calls for a smaller bezel and rumors have suggested that Apple will probably offer a similar look and feel to the iPod touch. However, I believe that the iPad mini will look and feel much more like the existing the iPad. Going by the latest iPhone 5 and iPod touch looks, it may also be thinner than the newest iPad. In fact, with every major product, Apple has made its products thinner and lighter. A similar design to the iPad would also keep things consistent. And, of course, now that Apple switched to the 9 pin connector, all igadgets, including iPad mini, will come with it.
FaceTime + Siri
Back in 2010, a new piece of hardware and a new feature was introduced on the iPhone. The iPhone got a front facing camera and Steve Jobs announced “FaceTime”. Since then, the front facing camera and FaceTime has made its way into the iPod touch, iPad 2, third generation iPad, and Mac. The pattern is pretty obvious so iPad mini will undoubtedly offer FaceTime and have both front and back cameras.
With the introduction of iOS 6, Apple added support for Siri to the third generation iPad and fifth generation iPod touch. Since Siri is a strategic asset for Apple, iPad mini will indeed support it.
The perfect price for the iPad mini would be $299, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is offered at $249. This price would let Apple compete head on against tablets like the Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7.
Currently, the market for seven inch tablets is very small, but that can all change next month when the iPad mini is announced. If the price point is around the $249 – $299 range, then I would assume Apple will make the 7″ tablet market a lot larger and possibly become the market leader in that space also.