In addition to the iPad mini, Apple today announced a new version of the iPad with retina display -- just 6 months after the model was first introduced. Referrinig to it as the 4th-generation iPad, Phil Schiller said that it now has an A6X chip that doubles the performance for CPU tasks, as well as doubling graphics performance. It also uses a new-generation image processor for tasks such as face recognition. It's now compatible with many more LTE networks worldwide, and also has new WiFi technology that doubles the speed.
Apple's event just finished, and it didn't disappoint. The iPad mini looks like a winner. As I expected, one of the emphases was thin and light. It's 23% thinner than the current iPad and 53% lighter. It weighs just .68 lbs, and is .28 inches thick. As was rumored, it has the same resolution as the iPad 2 (1024x768), with the screen measuring 7.9 inches diagonally. What's important is that it's been completely re-engineered. This is, basically, a new iPad -- not just a current iPad made smaller. The WiFi-only model starts at $329 for 16GB memory. The version that connects to the cellular network starts at $459.
Count me among the Apple fanboys who can't wait to hear what Apple will announce tomorrow. Most of the rumors center around a purported iPad mini with a 7.85-inch screen. Bloomberg reported earlier today that a focus of the event tomorrow will be the use of the iPad mini in education. So here's my prediction: assuming that Apple does indeed introduce an iPad mini tomorrow, I think it will outsell the current iPad in this quarter, and possibly also end up being the more popular model in the long run.
Rumors continue to surface as we look ahead to Tuesday's announcements from Apple. 9To5Mac is reporting today that the iPad mini will start at $329, though their sources didn't specify whether the base model would have 8 or 16GB of RAM. That price does seem a bit high for 8GB. They say that they expect the models with the ability to connect to the cellular data network to add a $130 premium to the price, as with the current iPad models.
Apple is expected to announce the iPad mini at their event scheduled for next Tuesday, Oct. 23, and today TechCrunch reported that a source close to Apple's supply chain has said that the device will go on sale on Nov. 2. And price? The heavy betting seems to be on either $299 or $349. The rationale is that Apple already has a product -- the iPod touch -- at the $199 price point. Plus, Apple always builds in substantial profit margins, so it's unlikely they'd go as low as $199.
The retina displays on the iPhone and iPad have been very popular, with their high resolution and amazing sharpness and clarity. That's the good news. The bad news, according to All Things D, is that these higher-resolution displays are resulting in ever larger apps that take up more memory. This is true even if you don't have a device with a retina display, such as my iPad 2. That's because developers make a single app for iPads that automatically displays correctly depending on which iPad it's running on.
A lot of users are disappointed that Apple replaced the Google Maps app in iOS 6 with its own mapping solution. There was good reason, of course, for Apple to do this. It was the only way that Apple could keep up with the competition, since Google was withholding features that have become standard on Android phones, such as spoken turn-by-turn directions and vector-based maps. Rumors have suggested that Google would develop a new version of their Maps app and make it available in the App Store.
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.
iOS 6 brought two new apps to the iPhone 5: Apple's Maps app and Passbook. The latter is a little hard to understand at first but is slowly catching on, as people realize its utility. Passbook, as you likely know by now, is a way that vendors can make things like tickets, coupons, and loyalty cards available in a single place on your iPhone. It's a convenience for you for two reasons: 1) you have all of these items in one place on your phone, and 2) your app automatically produces the right pass depending on where you are and communicates with a terminal at a ticket booth or point of sale.
This is just what we've been waiting for: Apple has announced an event to be held in San Jose at 10 am Pacific Time on October 23. Their typically cryptic hint on the invitations that went out reads: "We've got a little more to show you." The invitation confirms the date that has been rumored for the past few days. And it suggests we'll be seeing more than one device. In addition to the expected iPad mini, there are rumors that Apple will announce new versions of their iMac and Mac Mini, as well as a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a retina display. I can hardly wait until the announcement.