iPad 4 vs. iPad mini 2 (Rumored)

Next week, Apple is expected to debut not one, but two new iPads in the full-sized iPad 5 and the new iPad mini 2. Many shoppers are likely weighing the two devices against each other. Others, are likely weighing Apple’s current tablets against the new ones. Here, we take a look at how the rumored iPad mini 2 should stack up against the iPad 4, a device that could remain in Apple’s lineup with a cheaper price.

For the past few months, consumer focus has zeroed in on two brand new Apple products that figure to make an appearance in the next few days at Apple’s October 22nd launch event in San Francisco. Earlier this week, Apple sent out invites, inviting the media to a private event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and rumors suggest that the iPad mini 2 and iPad 5 will be the centerpieces of the event.

Apple, for its part, says that it will be announcing some new things but it doesn’t specify what it will be unveiling. Rumors point to an OS X Mavericks release date and price, Mac Pro release date and price, new MacBook Pro models with Haswell processors, and yes, two brand new iPads that will replace the iPad 4 and the iPad mini.

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Millions of consumers are likely gearing up to buy a new iPad as it has been a year since Apple released the iPad 4 and iPad mini without Retina Display and over a year since the company unleashed the iPad 3. And with the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 looking like they will be significant upgrades over their predecessors, interest should be high.

Buyers are likely comparing the two new devices against each other, smart considering they will be the latest technology. However, there are also those that will be covering all bases, weighing the new products against the older competition. For those that are looking for answers, here, we take a look at how the iPad mini 2 should stack up against Apple’s current full sized iPad, the iPad 4.

Release Date

Last year, in October, Apple surprisingly announced the iPad 4, a successor to the iPad 3 which had launched in March. The device, which brought a number of improvements, went on sale immediately, replacing the iPad 3 and frustrating its owners in the process. Now, it’s the iPad 4′s turn to get replaced as the iPad 5 figures to push it out as the company’s flagship model. So now, the question is, what will happen to the iPad 4 in just a few days?

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It’s difficult to predict, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Apple drops the price of the device down $100 to replace the iPad 2, a device that is showing its age. Even if the company keeps the iPad 2 around as its cheaper option, the iPad 4 will almost certainly make an appearance in the refurbished section of the Apple Store, making it a cheaper buy regardless of what happens.

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Those who are weighing the two options might have to make a decision soon as the iPad mini 2 release date is getting close. With an October 22nd event now confirmed, it’s clear that the iPad mini 2 launch is imminent. And that means that the iPad mini 2 release date is imminent. Apple historically releases devices in and around 10 days after launch and we expect November 1st to be the iPad mini 2 release date.

What this means is that the iPad mini 2 should join the iPad 4 on shelves soon. Thing is, those who are looking into the two, will need to make a decision as soon as possible as the iPad mini 2 figures to be in short supply thanks to supply issues.

Design

The iPad 4 retained a design similar to the iPad 3. What this means is that it features a sleek smooth metal back, thick bezels in the front, and an overall form factor that isn’t going to be as portable as the iPad mini 2 design.

Comparing the size of the iPad 5 vs. iPad 4 using leaked iPad 5 shell parts.

Comparing the size of the iPad 5 vs. iPad 4 using leaked iPad 5 shell parts.

Apple’s current full-sized iPad employs a design that is about 9.4mm thin and weighs either 652 grams or 662 grams depending on if the device is Wi-Fi only or LTE compatible. It’s a heavy device and one that is not going to be comfortable to use on-the-go. Still, the design is a premium one, and it’s going to be suitable for most people.

As for the iPad mini 2, it’s expected to retain the same overall design as the iPad mini. That means an anodized aluminum back, thin bezels up front, and a design that is going to be much more portable than the iPad 4′s.

This photo shows how much smaller the iPad 5 could be compared to the iPad 4.

This photo shows how much smaller the iPad 5 could be compared to the iPad 4.

There are rumors that the iPad mini 2 could be thicker and heavier than the iPad mini but we don’t expect it to be that much thicker, or heavier, than the current form factor that is 7.2mm thin and weighs 308 grams.

Display

The iPad 4 borrowed its 9.7-inch Retina Display from the iPad 3 and it offers users a massive display for reading, playing games, or simply browsing the web or checking email. The 2048 x 1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch produces fantastic looking content and iOS 7 in particular looks stunning on the new display. This is the same display that should arrive on the iPad 5 and one that should delight those who use it.

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Last year’s iPad mini did not feature a 7.9-inch Retina Display, instead opting for a screen that produces 1024 x 768 resolution at 163 pixels per inch. This less-than-Retina resolution, while good, simply can’t compete with the likes of the iPad 4 display or with the displays on competitors like the Nexus 7 from Google. And that, is why the iPad mini 2 should have a Retina Display on board this time around.

Rumor has it, the iPad mini 2 will have a 7.9-inch Retina Display on board. If true, it would likely mean a resolution bump up to 2014 x 1536 to match the screen on the iPad 4 and iPad 5. If true, it would mean that the iPad mini 2 would produce great looking content like the full-sized iPad mini, something that will make choosing the overall size of the device, that much more important.

Specs

The iPad 4 uses some powerful hardware. It sports a dual-core A6X chip with quad-core graphics that offers high-performance, particularly when it comes to gaming. Games not only fly on the iPad 4 but they look great doing it. The iPad 4′s camera is a 5MP camera that takes decent photos and video though they are nothing to write home about. In the front, it uses a FaceTime HD camera.

Apple upped the ante with a 128GB option last year which means that the device comes in four different configurations in terms of storage. The cheapest is the 16GB model followed by 32GB, then 64GB and then the 128GB model which is the most expensive. As for battery life, the device packs some of the best in the business as its massive battery can not only handle all day use but is able to conserve tons of battery in stand-by mode.

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The company’s original iPad mini simply was not as powerful as the iPad 4. However, we expect the iPad mini 2 to make some inroads when it comes to performance. Rumors suggest that it will come with an A7 chip which would bring 64-bit performance. Apple has said that iOS 7 was designed with a 64-bit processor in mind, which means that we could see some top notch performance from the smaller iPad.

iPad mini 2 rumors also suggest an 8MP camera upgrade, something that would likely trump the iPad 4′s 5MP camera. Like the iPad 4, the iPad mini 2 should have a front facing FaceTime HD camera.

As for storage options and battery life, the device may not come with a 128GB model. Nothing has been rumored and the original did not have that option available. Battery life should be the same as the iPad mini which means that it should be comparable to the iPad 4′s.

One last specification that has been rumored is a fingerprint reader, TouchID. The iPad 4 does not have a fingerprint reader. If the iPad mini 2 were to get one, it would be embedded in the home button like the iPhone 5s’ and it would produce some added security for owners, important for a portable device like the smaller iPad.

Software

The iPad 4 was recently updated with iOS 7, Apple’s latest update, and one that brings a new look and a ton of new features to the table. Those who are unfamiliar with the software can check it out in the video below which will showcase many of its important features.

The iPad mini 2 is going to have iOS 7 on board as well, though, it’s not clear if it will have the same software as the iPad 4. While the iPad 4 was only missing filters inside photos, it could be missing a lot more if Apple chooses to bestow the iPhone 5s’ camera features like slow motion unto the iPad mini 2. It’s also possible that could see TouchID as well, something that would alter the software.

Also of note is the fact that the iPad 4 is now a year old which means that it won’t get the same support as the iPad mini 2. Apple typically offers three updates before retiring a device which means that it probably has two updates left. As for the iPad mini 2, it should have three updates in the bag.

Carriers

The iPad 4 offers compatibility with three major LTE networks in AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. It was the first iPad to run on Sprint’s 4G LTE network but it certainly will not be the last. The iPad mini 2 is also expected to arrive for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon and it could possibly land in T-Mobile stores for the first time as well.

Yesterday, T-Mobile CEO John Legere hinted at a debut on the UnCarrier and it could be that the iPad mini 2 follows the iPhone 5s and launches on all four of the largest carriers in the United States.

Whatever the case, both the iPad 4 and iPad mini 2 will be available on the big three with the iPad mini 2 potentially being available on the big four.

Price

While we haven’t seen anything about the iPad mini 2 price, we have no reason to believe that Apple will be changing things up this year. The company sticks to its price points and that means that the iPad mini 2 should start at $330 for a 16GB Wi-Fi only model and start at $460 for a 16GB 4G LTE model. If true, it could mean that it will only be $70 cheaper than the 16GB Wi-Fi iPad 4.

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Apple likes to keep its older devices around as cheaper options. So, it could be that the iPad 4 takes the place of the $399 iPad 2. If Apple does keep the iPad 4 around, it will likely only be available in two forms, a $400 16GB W-Fi only model and a $530 16GB LTE model.

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If the company decides to do away with it, it could be that it’s the iPad 2 that remains at $399. The iPad 2 does not have LTE and it does not have a Retina Display which will make it far less appealing than the iPad mini 2.

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