By Jim Karpen on Wed, 10/17/2012
It won't be long until we have all the details of the new iPad mini (assuming that Apple will indeed announce an iPad mini at next Tuesday's event). There have been many rumors that the device will have the same 4:3 aspect ratio as the current iPads and that it will be 7.85 inches. These rumors appear to be confirmed by some leaked photos of the display that have been posted on ETRadeSupply and that show those dimensions. There had been rumors that the device will have a 16:9 aspect ratio, but apparently the narrower bezel on the sides of the display (that make it a bit smaller and more portable) simply give that impression.
Previous rumors have suggested that the iPad mini will have the same resolution as the iPad 2, at 1,024 by 768 pixels. This will have a number of advantages, the chief one being that it will be able to run current apps wtihout their needing to be modified by developers. Everything will look the same on the screen as the current iPad, but will simply be a little smaller. The iPad mini will be about two-thirds the size of the current iPad.
A lot of details have emerged lately and it will be interesting to see how well they're borne out. It appears that there will by many configurations, including 8, 16, 32, and 64 GB. And that there will be WiFi only, WiFi plus 3G, and WiFi plus 4G versions. Speculation is that the price will start around $300.
I'm hoping that it will be significantly lighter and thinner than the current iPads, perhaps using the same in-cell screen technology as the iPhone 5. One market analyst who recently traveled in Asia said that he had actually handled a prototype iPad mini and that the fit in his hand was pretty amazing.
One big question in my mind is whether the event will also include a new version of the iPad with retina display with the Lightning connector and a thinner, more energy-efficient display. This has been rumored for months, and was most recently noted on Macworld. It would make sense for Apple to convert its latest iPad to the latest technology without waiting until next spring, especially given the increased competition. My impression has always been that the retina iPad was a bit of a compromise, that Apple had originally planned to use technologies that weren't quite ready, so they came out with a compromised version that was both thicker and heavier than the iPad 2. So I'm hoping that Apple announces a thinner, lighter iPad with retina display at the event next week.