The iPhone 5 launch and release date has come and gone and now, it’s time to shift towards another rumored Apple product that may come out this year. That device of course is the oft-rumored iPad Mini tablet, a device that is said to feature a display and design smaller than the current iPad model.
Over the past several months, the rumor mill has been hard at work, piecing together the iPad Mini. And while the puzzle is far from finished, we still think we have a pretty good bead on what Apple might announce sometime later this year and quite possibly, if rumors hold up, in just a few short days.
It now appears that we’re closer than ever to an iPad Mini launch and those interested in picking up a new, smaller tablet from Apple will want to keep reading to find out out what we know, or think we know, about the iPad Mini design, display, specs and software.
iPad Mini Launch Date
Right now, the current rumor pegs the iPad Mini launch date as taking place on October 17th. That date comes from a rumor courtesy of CNNMoney which stated that Apple would be sending out invites to an event on October 10th. If Apple follows normal event protocol, that should mean that the iPad Mini will be announced a week later.
Unlike the iPhone 5 launch date though, this rumor has not been corroborated by other outlets, something that is generally the norm for Apple events.
That doesn’t bode well for October 10th, but at this point, it’s as good of a date as any.
iPad Mini Release Date
Plugged in sources including Jim Darlymple and John Gruber chimed in shortly before the iPhone 5 launch and said that an iPad Mini launch would likely come in October. Neither chimed in on a possible release date however.
Going off of the supposed iPad launch date, we can theorize that the iPad Mini might not launch until November, and specifically, November 3rd. Again, that date only works if Apple follows protocol and the invite and launch event rumor holds up.
Apply typically releases its devices several weeks after it announces them and an early November release date would put the iPad right in the thick of the holiday shopping season.
Another possible clue is the fact that Apple is announcing its quarterly fiscal results on October 25th. Apple could use that date to tout the amount of iPad Mini pre-orders it has taken.
iPad Mini Design
Our exclusive iPad Mini engineering samples revealed that the overall design of the iPad Mini was one that was about two-thirds the size of the normal iPad. It’s also likely going to be a bit thinner.
Current mockups place the iPad Mini as having a thickness of 7.69 mm compared to the 9.91 mm thickness of the iPad 3.
As for the rest of the design, it’s supposedly going to have a design that is similar to an iPod touch rather than an iPhone. Mockups and rumors suggest that the iPad Mini will sport a thinner bezel which will make it easier to hold
iPad Mini Screen
Just about every single rumor in regards to the screen on the iPad Mini suggests that it will be 7.85-inches, smaller than the 9.7-inch display found on the regular iPad.
However, what we don’t know for sure is whether or not Apple will include a Retina display on the iPad Mini. We have heard that Apple might be using a Sharp-made IZGO display which would allow for a thinner screen featuring better brightness.
Sharp’s IGZO displays also apparently can handle 330 ppi which means that the display could very well be a Retina Display.
As for the aspect ratio, it’s assumed that Apple will keep a 4:3 aspect ratio with the iPad Mini and not bring it up to 16:9, the aspect ratio of the iPhone 5.
iPad Mini Specs
Other than the design and screen, the iPad Mini remains a relative mystery. We’ve heard that it might come with a 16GB storage option at the very least and we suspect that Apple will likely offer larger storage options as well.
We’ve seen cases that sport a rear facing camera though there is debate about whether Apple might not include one to keep costs down. Asus and Google did something similar with the Nexus 7 which doesn’t have a rear camera and only boasts a front-facing camera.
Processor and RAM both remain unknown. Apple’s new iPod touch has an Apple A5 processor inside of it and it could be that Apple decides to stick that inside of the iPad Mini as well. It’s also entirely possible that Apple will stick the new A6 processor inside but with the price rumored to be around $200-$300, that seems unlikely.
iPad Mini Price
Speaking of the price, Apple is rumored to be releasing the iPad Mini for a price around $200 to $300 in an effort to compete with the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7. Both the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD retail for $199.
Apple’s larger iPad, the third-generation iPad, retails for $499 for a 16GB model so we don’t expect the device to go for anything over $500.
iPad Mini Carriers & Connectivity
There are rumors swirling about a possible 4G LTE version of the iPad Mini. The current iPad has connectivity for the 4G LTE networks of AT&T and Verizon with the 4G LTE models retailing for more than the Wi-Fi only devices.
Apple could very well do the same with the iPad Mini, offering 4G LTE models at a premium to those who want cellular data.
While Amazon opted to offer a 4G LTE model on AT&T, Google’s Nexus 7 currently is Wi-Fi only. However, there are whispers hinting at a possible Nexus 7 with cellular data launching down the road.
iPad Mini Software
It’s all but certain that Apple’s iPad Mini, if it’s even called that, will run iOS 6, Apple’s new mobile operating system that has launched amidst criticism.
While the software brings over 200 new features to the table, two staples of iOS have been taken away with the latest version. iPad owners no longer have access to an official YouTube app and Apple has replaced Google Maps with Apple Maps.
Remedies might be on the way in the future but if the iPad Mini arrives in November, owners will likely be in the same boat as currently iPad owners.