The iPad mini 2 is on the minds of shoppers who are holding out hope for a fast iPad mini 2 release in early November that will bring the Retina Display users love on the full size iPad to the smaller and more portable iPad.
Apple announced a fall iPad event for October 22nd where we expect to see the iPad mini 2 for the first time and finally get confirmation of a Retina Display and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
Last year Apple shifted to a fall iPad release cycle which put the iPad mini and iPad 4 in stores for the busy holiday season, resulting in very good sales for Apple. With the event on the books it looks like the iPad mini 2 will be playing a major role in the holiday shopping season again.
The iPad mini 2 as most rumors and speculation refer to the device will likely arrive as the iPad mini with Retina Display or the iPad min 2nd generation, but the nickname will likely stick, just as it does with the larger iPad models.
Over the past several weeks, the iPad mini 2 rumors converged and thanks to successful predictions about the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, we have a better idea what to expect from the iPad mini 2.
The iPad mini 2 comes with rumors of a cheaper iPad mini that could even borrow from the iPhone 5c model to offer a more attractive price that will help Apple lure potential Nexus 7 shoppers to upgrade to the iPad mini. If this is the case look for the current iPad mini to disappear like the iPad 3 did.
iPad mini 2 Release Date
Now that we know Apple is planning an event for October 22nd, and we expect to see the iPad mini 2 it becomes easier to predict the iPad mini 2 release date, but there is a wildcard that could change when the iPad mini 2 hits store shelves.
One rumor suggests the iPad mini 2 release date will fall on October 30th or 31st, but it seems much more likely that Apple will use Friday, November 1st as the iPad mini 2 release date, and that this will also be the iPad 5 release date.
Apple typically delivers a new iOS device a week and a half after the event, with a preference for Fridays. The latest analyst rumblings include a chance that the iPad mini 2 release date will fall victim to supply chain issues with the Retina Display, which could force Apple to push the release date to later in the holiday season or to lunch with very limited supplies.
An additional possibility is that the iPad mini 2 WiFi only release is November 1st and the iPad mini 2 with LTE comes several weeks later. This happened last year with the original iPad mini.
The iPad mini 2 release date will likely include special events at Apple Retail stores with possible early openings and a chance for iPad mini 2 pre-orders. Apple skipped pre-orders for the iPhone 5s, but the company did not stop taking pre-orders altogether. This means shoppers might be able to get an iPad mini 2 pre-order as soon as October 25th.
iPad mini 2 Design & Display
We expect the iPad mini 2 will look just like the iPad mini, but recent report suggest it may be a fraction of a millimeter thicker and slightly heavier to accommodate a larger battery. This may impact the cases that work with the iPad mini 2, but we’ll have to wait and see. Some cases will easily handle an increase in thickness of 0.3mm.
Expect the same curved sides and chamfered edges as the iPad mini, but we could see the iPad mini 2 come in space gray and gold color options. Space gray seems like a done deal given that it replaced black on many other Apple products. Several photos show what appears to be a gold iPad mini 2 shell, which is a good sign for users who want a matching iPad mini 2, but if it is anything like the iPhone 5s, a gold iPad mini 2 will likely be hard to find for the first several months.
The biggest iPad mini 2 feature could be a Retina Display. Apple still offers the iPad 2 and iPad mini as the only iOS devices without a high-resolution display. Despite claims that Apple would not be ready for an iPad mini 2 with Retina Display this year it looks increasingly like the iPad mini 2 will gain this upgrade. If this happens expect a 2014 x 1536 resolution to match the iPad 5. A higher resolution on the 7.9-inch display should deliver crisper looking text and better looking photos and videos on-screen. Users who want an iPad mini 2 to read ebooks and surf the web will likely appreciate this upgrade.
iPad mini 2 Features and Specs
The iPad mini 2 will likely run a new Apple A7 processor, which is found in the iPhone 5s. This 64-bit processor is behind the powerful photography features on the new iPhone and could deliver enhanced performance for the iPad mini 2 as well as enable new features.
One of these features could be Touch ID on the iPad mini 2. Noted Apple leaker Sonny Dickson claims the iPad mini 2 will feature a fingerprint sensor and Jeff Orr of ABI research tells Macnewsworld that a fingerprint sensor is highly likely for the new iPads. If Apple adds Touch ID to the iPad 5 it will also likely add it to the iPad mini 2.
The iPad mini 2 camera may also gain an upgrade that puts it in the same league as the iPhone 5s or iPhone 5. This comes from Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities who accurately predicted many iPhone 5s features. Kuo believes the iPad mini 2 will gain a 8MP camera with a larger aperture. There is no talk of a iPad mini 2 with a flash, but the camera upgrade and the A7 processor could bring burst photos, better low light performance and slow motion videos to the iPad mini 2.
The Apple A7 chip should help apps launch faster and deliver a better gaming experience on the iPad mini 2. Dickson claims the iPad mini 2 will have double the RAM, up to 1GB, which should help with performance of the overall device and for games.
With a larger battery on board, we expect Apple will plan for iPad mini 2 battery life that meets that of the current iPad mini. Apple rates the iPad mini battery life at 10 hours, which is realistic for real world use.
iPad mini 2 Software
The iPad mini 2 will arrive with iOS 7 on board, which means a host of new features and a completely new look for users who last used iOS 6.
There is some chatter about a possible iOS 7.0.3 update arriving soon, including one report from BGR that it would arrive last week. It could be that Apple plans the iOS 7.0.3 release for the event on October 22nd or the days before an iPad mini 2 release.
Apple is reportedly already working on iOS 7.1, the first major iOS 7 update and some early speculation suggested it could come with the new iPads. It’s still a little early for a .1 update, based on past releases which stretched out several months between a .0 and a .1 release, but it is not out of the question.
We will likely see OS X Mavericks release around this same time and the iOS 7 update that arrives next could bring iCloud Keychain back to iOS 7.
iPad mini 2 Carriers
At this point it would make sense for a T-Mobile iPad mini 2 option. T-Mobile is the latest iPhone carrier to join Apple at a day one release, which points to a iPad mini 2 on T-Mobile when the LTE models come to market.
This would join the Verizon, Sprint and AT&T iPad mini 2 options, as each of these carriers already offers an iPad mini with LTE. U.S. Cellular is the fifth largest carrier which should carry the iPhone 5s, but it is not clear if it will carry the iPad mini 2.
Users can add an iPad mini 2 to a shared data plan for about $10 a month or use it as a monthly payment device for around $20 a month. Neither of these options include a contract.
iPad mini 2 Price
The iPad mini 2 price is likely to stay the same, starting at $329 for the WiFi only model and $459 for the LTE Version. Prices go as high as $659 currently for the 64GB LTE model, which we also expect to remain in play. There is no 128GB iPad mini, and it seems unlikely that we will see the option arrive this year.
There is some chatter of a cheaper iPad mini, which could be the current iPad mini in a limited 16GB option, or it could be a cheaper iPad mini that offers a slightly updated processor in a plastic body like the iPhone 5c. Look for Apple to touch on this during the October 22nd event.