The iPad mini has proven to be popular, and now Apple has significantly updated the device for the 2013 holiday season, and beyond. The second generation iPad mini, is known as the iPad mini with retina display, and that’s because the retina display is the biggest new feature. Finally, the 7.9” iPad mini has a retina display, and it’s the same as the full sized iPad at 2048 x 1536. Since the screen is smaller at that higher resolution, the pixel per inch is at 326, which is the same as the iPhone, and greater than the 264 of the 9.7” iPad. There’s now a higher clarity screen on the iPad mini line, and Apple didn’t skimp on the other features. The iPad mini with retina display comes with the 64-bit A7 chip, the same as the iPhone 5S, and iPad Air.
The A7 chip is a big addition to level the playing field between the mini, and Air. Both devices now feature the same chip, retina display, and form factor with the lone distinguisher being the screen size of 7.9” vs. 9.7”. Apple could have given the mini the A6X chip of the iPad 4, but thankfully didn’t. Since the iPad mini is upgrading from the A5 to the A7 chip, there’s four times CPU performance, and eight times graphics performance. The increase in screen clarity, and processing power didn’t sacrifice battery life, as there’s still the expected 10 hours. The device itself is almost identical to the previous generation, just with 0.01” greater thickness, and 0.05 more pounds. Finally, there’s the same camera system as before with 5 megapixel photos, 1080P video, and 1.2 megapixel front camera. Also, Apple has updated the iLife & iWork suites to run 64-bit for the new A7 chip, and all are free with the purchase of a new iPad mini with retina display, or other iOS device. The iPad mini is largely what we expected, but what we didn’t see is the TouchID fingerprint sensor built into the home button, a new 8 megapixel camera system, or a gold casing option.
The iPad mini with retina display starts at $399 for 16GB, and comes in either white and silver, or black and space grey. There are 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB options for $100 more each, and there’s also LTE options at $129 more each. The iPad mini will go on sale sometime in November, but it’s not clear exactly when. It’s worth noting that the price increased by $70 for the new generation from $329 to $399 at the entry level. Apple is also keeping around the original iPad mini, and dropping the price $30 to $299. Apple has also updated their Smart Covers & Smart Cases, though the previous mini models work on the new generation. New polyurethane Covers are $39, and come in yellow, blue, green, black, pink, and Product (RED), while the all encompassing leather Cases are $69, and come in brown, beige, black, blue, red, and yellow.
The iPad mini with retina display is now simply a 7.9” version of the new thin, light, and fast iPad Air.