Apple’s 7-inch iPad mini remains a hot commodity on the tablet market. However, like any piece of mobile technology, its counting down the days before its replaced by something new, something better. That something better is heavily rumored to be Apple’s new iPad mini 2, a device that should replace the iPad mini as the company’s flagship, but shouldn’t replace the older model completely.
For some time, Apple was rumored to be developing a smaller version of its popular 9.7-inch iPad to help round out its tablet lineup. Last year, those rumors finally firmed up and the company released its iPad mini unto the world to compete with the likes of Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s popular 7-inch Kindle Fire HD.
As expected, the iPad mini was a success with the device reportedly surpassing the larger iPad in popularity. So, it should come as no surprise that Apple is rumored to be working on a second-generation iPad mini, a device that is currently being called iPad mini 2.
For weeks, iPad mini 2 rumors have surfaced, attempting to shed some light on Apple’s rumored, but likely successor to the original 7.9-inch slate. And while we haven’t seen those rumors firm up yet, they do point to the company introducing something later on this year to compete against devices like the Nexus 7 2, set to make its debut next week, and the rumored Kindle Fire HD 2 from Amazon which is expected to arrive sometime in August or September.
That said, consumers are likely weighing their options. And for many, it’s likely a decision between buying the iPad mini right now or in the months ahead or waiting and buying the next-generation iPad mini 2.
It’s not going to be an easy decision, particularly when the iPad mini 2 will likely remain relatively secret up until its launch, but it can be made easier. Here, we try and make the decision a bit easier by offering up the five most important things consumers need to know about the rumored battle between the iPad mini 2 and the iPad mini.
Those hoping for an iPhone design change this year are likely the same people clamoring for a change in design for the iPad mini. Unfortunately, those who are hoping for a massive overhaul to the iPad mini design should start tempering those expectations right now as there is currently no indication that Apple will be making any major design moves with the iPad mini 2.
Instead, rumors suggest that Apple will make the iPad mini 2 both thinner and lighter while installing a number of hardware upgrades including a more powerful processor and a better rear camera. There are, however, no rumors suggesting that the iPad mini’s aluminum build will change in any way other then in the dimensions.
So buyers hoping for a thinner and lighter version of the iPad mini might be in luck with the iPad mini 2 but those hoping for a completely different design from the brushed aluminum one on shelves are likely going to be disappointed.
There are rumors out there that suggest that Apple may not be delivering an iPad mini 2 with a Retina Display until 2014. Buyers who have been waiting for a Retina Display with the iPad mini should not expect that to happen for two reasons.
First, Apple likes to please its customers. It likes to tell them that at just about every press event that it hosts. The biggest thing missing from the iPad mini? A Retina Display. So, given the rumors of Retina Display production and the fact that Apple knows that that was the biggest flaw of the iPad mini, it would be shocking to see the iPad mini 2 keep the same display as the older model.
Second, Apple likes money. By offering a Retina Display on the iPad mini 2, right during the holiday shopping season, Apple has the ability to maximize its profits.
Despite the rumors, buyers should expect the iPad mini 2 to feature an upgraded screen and one that blows the iPad mini’s display out of the water.
The iPad mini will be getting iOS 7. We know this because Apple says that it will be getting iOS 7. However, it won’t be getting all of iOS 7′s features. Not included are Panorama or Filter in Camera, both of which are excluded from all of the iPad variants.
It’s tough to say if the iPad mini 2 will get those features, though given the likelihood of a camera upgrade we’d have to think that it’s possible, but at the end of the day, we don’t expect the software to be drastically different on the iPad mini 2.
The iPhone 5S may come with several unique abilities, a fingerprint reader is one of those, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be coming with the iPad mini 2. In fact, there are no rumors that suggest that it will have that on board and there are no rumors that suggest the iPad mini 2 will have any killer features other than its Retina Display.
So at this point, buyers should know that while the iPad mini 2 could indeed sport a few unique iOS 7 features, they likely won’t be massive deal-breaker features.
The iPad mini landed on a small swath of 4G LTE carriers including AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. iPads are also unlocked so they can be used on GSM carriers like T-Mobile as well. Buyers can expect the same carriers with the iPad mini 2 and should also know that there is a possibility that we could see it land on even more carriers right from the start.
With T-Mobile now selling the iPhone 5, and likely the iPhone 5S, we could wind up seeing the iPad mini 2 officially launch on T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network. Same goes for U.S. Cellular which has confirmed an iPhone for its 4G LTE network later this year.
Point is, buyers may have more of a selection come launch day.
Apple doesn’t stray too far from the tree when it comes to the pricing on its products. Typically, the company decides on a price point and keeps it there, refusing to fluctuate even with stiff competition.
That said, buyers should know that a price cut or drop with the iPad mini 2 is unlikely. Instead, it will more than likely start at the familiar $330 price point and go all the way up to $659 for the LTE 64GB model.
Apple also tends to drop its older devices down in price so buyers should know that while the iPad mini may be priced at $330 right now, it’s possible that it will be priced at $230 or so when the iPad mini 2 arrives.
This would make it an extremely enticing option for those looking for a cheap option and could mean that it will be priced at the same price as the Nexus 7 2 which is rumored to be checking in at $230.