At the moment, there are a number of big name 7-inch tablets on the market including the Kindle Fire HD, Nexus 7 and of course, Apple’s iPad mini. Rumors suggest that all three will be replaced with a Kindle Fire HD 2, Nexus 7 2 and iPad mini 2 sometime this year which likely has some consumers wondering whether to wait for the successors or buy a tablet right now.
Last year was a good year to be a consumer in the market for a 7-inch tablet. In July, Google released the Nexus 7, the first Nexus-branded tablet that combined powerful software, beautiful software and a cheap price tag that made it one of the big surprises of the year.
Later in the year, Amazon took its turn and released the Kindle Fire HD, a 7-inch follow up to the original Kindle Fire that boasted all of Amazon’s services with a better quality display. Like the Nexus 7, the Kindle Fire HD was one of the best 7-inch tablet options for those looking for something more portable than a regular sized tablet.
After the Kindle Fire HD launch came the finale which of course saw Apple announce and release the long-rumored iPad mini, a 7.9-inch slate that came without a Retina Display but with solid battery life, an aluminum design and Apple’s iOS 6 software. The iPad mini quickly established itself as a competitor to the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 and remains one of, if not the best tablets on the market.
Unsurprisingly, all three companies are rumored to be coming out with sequels to their popular 2012 tablets. With Google, it’s the Nexus 7 2. With Amazon, the Kindle Fire HD 2. And with Apple, it’s the heavily rumored iPad mini 2. All three are looking like worthy successors, particularly Apple’s new iPad mini.
We’ve already looked at the pros and cons of waiting for the Nexus 7 2 and now, it’s time to dig in deep and take a look at why some consumers should be waiting for the iPad mini 2.
Why You Should Wait for the iPad mini 2
The iPad mini that’s on the market right now does not have a Retina Display. What this means is that while content will look good, it’s not going to look as crisp as it does on a tablet like the iPad 3 or iPad 4, both of which employ Retina Displays.
To break this down, the current iPad mini boasts 1024 x 768 resolution at 163 pixels per inch (ppi). If the iPad mini 2 does come with a Retina Display, and there is little reason to doubt that it will, the iPad mini 2 display would likely feature 2048 x 1536 resolution at around 324 ppi. That is an incredible difference in both numbers and quality.
So while the iPad mini might look like a tempting buy, especially since an iPad mini 2 release date hasn’t been nailed down yet, a Retina Display is going to be one reason to wait for the iPad mini 2 instead of buying something right now.
As far as the other devices are concerned, both the Nexus 7 2 and the Kindle Fire HD 2 are expected to displays comparable to the iPad mini 2 so it will be other things that Apple’s device brings to the table that should motivate prospective customers to wait.
Won’t Be Any More Expensive
Those looking to buy the iPad mini right now will be staring a $330 price tag in the face. Later in the year, consumers will more than likely be staring at the same exact starting price tag for the upgraded iPad mini 2.
That’s because Apple tends to keep its pricing year-over-year. The price of the iPhone and larger iPad have remained unchanged for years now and considering how well the iPad mini sold, consumers should expect the company to retain a starting price tag of $330 meaning, consumers will get all of the bells and whistles of the iPad mini 2, with any extra cost.
While tablets don’t necessarily make the best cameras, the iPad mini is much more suitable as a camera than the full-fledged 9.7-inch iPad. And while an upgraded camera might not be the first thing that iPad mini 2 customers are going to be looking for, those that do cherish the camera on a tablet will likely find a good one on the iPad mini 2.
One of the features that Apple tends to upgrade year after year, across all of its devices, is the camera sensor. While the camera upgrades aren’t as significant as they are on the iPhone, Apple still offers improvements to those that like to shoot photos and video with their tablet.
The iPad mini’s rear camera is nothing to write home about and the iPad mini 2′s may not be either, but we do expect there to be some kind of an upgrade. It won’t be drastic but those looking for a better camera experience would be wise to wait for the iPad mini 2.
Chance for Full iOS 7
iOS 7 is going to be coming out sometime this fall and when it does, it will deliver a number of new features for both iPhone and iPad owners. In particular, the iOS 7 update for the iPad mini will be a big one though it will be missing a couple of features at least.
Apple says that Panorama and the Filters in Camera from iOS 7 will not be coming to the iPad mini. In fact, none of the iPad models will be getting these features. That doesn’t bode well for the iPad mini 2 but it’s possible that Apple will save them for the iPad mini 2 in an effort to make it unique.
Further, the iPhone 5S is thought to have a few unique software features of its own and given that the iPad mini 2 may launch around the same time or after the new iPhone, it could be that Apple delivers some of the iPhone 5S’ unique features to iPad mini 2 users.
This isn’t set in stone, but for those that want a chance at a full version of iOS 7 rather than one that is a bit scaled back, the iPad mini 2 is worth waiting for.
At WWDC, Apple announced new MacBook Air models. And while the talk of the town was the battery life (and since then, Wi-Fi issues), the company quietly tacked on the 802.11ac networking standard, something that isn’t found on the iPad mini or iPhone 5.
While it’s not confirmed, it’s likely that Apple will include it on its products moving forward as the company claims it will enable internet speeds that are up to three times faster. That’s huge for a portable device like the iPad mini 2.
So for those consumers that do a lot of reading, gaming or work on-the-go, the possibility of 802.11ac, and thus the iPad mini 2, is probably going to be worth the few month wait.
In addition to the camera upgrade, Apple typically introduces a new processor in its successors. Currently, the iPad mini uses the A5 dual-core chip, the same chip that was found in the now aging iPad 2. And while it’s nice, the iPad mini is certainly in line for an upgrade.
Since the arrival of the A5 chip, Apple has released iPads with the A5X and A6X chips so it’s possible that one of those chips, or perhaps even something newer could arrive inside the iPad mini.
Whatever the case may be, a new CPU is likely and that will more than likely mean improved performances in areas like gaming, multitasking and quite possibly battery life, all of which are affected by the on-board chip.
The iPad mini 2 should sport both a higher-octane display and processor making it a wise choice for those looking to play games on their 7-inch slate.
Simply put, the iPad mini 2 is going to outlast the iPad mini in terms of support. The iPad mini is nearing its first birthday and while Apple devices typically get several years of support, it will, because of its age, likely stop receiving software updates a year before the iPad mini 2. It’s worth the four month wait for a future operating system that the iPad mini likely won’t get.
As far as the Nexus 7 2 and Kindle Fire HD 2 are concerned, Google typically updates Nexus devices for about two years which means that the Nexus 7 2 could potentially see support dry up a year before the iPad mini 2 since Apple typically updates devices for three years.
Amazon’s tablets typically run a heavily customized version of Android and don’t get the major Android updates that owners of other Android tablets do. While there is no telling how it will all play out, Apple and the iPad mini 2 are the safest bet amongst the bunch.
The Apple ecosystem is undeniably strong which should make the iPad mini 2 an extremely attractive option to those that value a wide range of applications, tons of accessories and fantastic support.
By waiting for the iPad mini 2 rather than buying the Nexus 7 2 or Kindle Fire HD 2, users will have access to the App Store which is chock full of tablet specific applications. The Google Play Store does have its fair share of applications but Apple’s marketplace simply has the edge when it comes to applications specifically made for tablets. Amazon’s Appstore simply can’t compete.
The iPad mini 2 will also have a wide assortment of accessories, more accessories than both the Nexus 7 2 and Kindle Fire HD 2. Things like cases and docks will be more widely available for the iPad mini 2 thanks to the success of Apple’s previous products. The Nexus 7 2 and Kindle Fire HD 2 will have their fair share but it likely won’t come close.
And finally, the support. iPad mini 2 users will simply be able to bring their device into an Apple store and get their problem fixed whereas users of the Nexus 7 2 will have to send their device in and wait for it to return. While Apple’s customer service may not be hassle-free, it’s much more streamlined.
If You Want the iPad mini
Finally, those who don’t need the iPad mini 2 and want to buy the iPad mini should wait for the iPad mini 2 simply because of the price drop that will occur when the new model comes out.
Since the iPad mini is a new device, it’s unclear how much the price will drop but Apple likely won’t kill off the iPad mini and simply will drop it down to a price like $199 to compete against the likes of the Nexus 7 2.