On October 22nd, Apple is more than likely going to announce a slew of new products including OS X Mavericks, the new Mac Pro, and two new iPads including the iPad 5 and a new iPad mini 2. Many consumers are likely weighing their options at this point and ahead of the iPad mini 2 launch, we want to offer up some tips for those trying to decide between the iPad mini 2 and the original iPad mini.
Last October, Apple finally released the long rumored iPad mini, a smaller version of its original 9.7-inch iPad, and one that arrived with thin bezels, an anodized aluminum back, 4G LTE data, a price tag starting at $330 and a non-Retina Display. And while the iPad mini sold well, it was the lack of a Retina Display that made some people wait an extra year for Apple’s next version of the iPad mini.
Close to a year has passed since Apple announced the iPad mini and now, it looks like we’re just a few days away from an iPad mini 2 announcement as Apple has scheduled an event for October 22nd wherein we should see new iPads announced. The first, a redesigned iPad 5, a device that should be far more portable than the iPad 4. The other, the iPad mini 2, a device that will replace the iPad mini as the company’s flagship 7.9-inch option.
The device isn’t official yet but thanks to rumors and leaks, we have a pretty good idea about what we’re going to see on Tuesday. Rumors suggest that the iPad mini 2 will come packing some major hardware improvements including one feature that buyers have been waiting for since last year. We expect Apple to keep the older iPad mini around in some capacity and here, ahead of the iPad mini 2 release date, we offer some tips to those weighing the upgraded iPad mini 2 and last year’s model.
Do Not Buy the iPad mini Right Now
Exactly as it sounds. Do not buy the original iPad mini right now. Instead, wait of the iPad mini 2 to arrive next week, it will, and at that point, not only will another door open but the iPad mini price will likely drop on new iPad minis or refurbished ones. It’s a win-win situation for those weighing the two devices, though, as we’ll point out later, we highly suggest making a decision between the two early.
Retina vs. Non-Retina
While there are still those that think that the iPad mini 2 won’t come with a Retina Display until 2014 or even December, we don’t see that happening. There will likely be severe supply issues but we expect Apple to deliver one of the features that its consumers wanted most ahead of the holiday shopping season. That feature of course is a high resolution Retina Display that will take the device from 1024 x 768 with 163 pixels per inch to a 7.9-inch Retina Display with 2048 x 1536 resolution with a pixel-per-inch count around 324.
To get an idea about the difference in quality, we highly suggest using an iPad 2 or a current iPad mini and then shifting to an iPad 3 or an iPad 4. The difference between the Retina Display and non-Retina display is very, very noticeable and content is going to look sharper, cleaner and better on the Retina Display.
Those that can afford it, would be wise to invest into the Retina Display version of the iPad mini. This is a powerful and portable device that is made for consuming content and being productive. Whether that’s games, reading a book, or doing some work, the Retina Display is going to make those all easier on the eyes. Text, in particular, is going to look far more crisp.
If the iPad mini does stick around, we don’t expect the price to get completely slashed so right now, it’s best to start preparing for a decision about where the extra $70-$100 is going to be worth the Retina Display. We think it is, but buyers will want to think about their current habits while also thinking about how they might use the device in the future.
iPad mini Price Drop
That said, those who are looking to spend less than the iPad mini 2′s likely starting price of $330 will likely want to start looking into the iPad mini. Apple isn’t known to offer price cuts on its new products, even during Black Friday, so those on a budget will likely be stuck with the iPad mini. We aren’t sure how it will fit into Apple’s lineup but we could see a price cut down to around $270. That’s the price of a refurbished model in the Apple Store.
Rumors suggest that the iPad mini 2 is going to come with a new processor, possibly the new A7 chip that brought 64-bit support along with it. Even if that’s not the case, we expect a boost up from the A5X dual-core chip found in the iPad mini. And what that means is that we should see a significant performance increase from the iPad mini to the iPad mini 2.
The iOS operating system going forward should be a much smoother experience on the iPad mini 2. iOS 7 runs fine on the iPad mini but as Apple makes upgrades, we expect performance to decline while the new chip inside of the iPad mini 2 should deliver better all-around performance. As for specifics, look for gaming performance to be far better on the iPad mini 2.
Newer processors typically make an operating system fly and with Apple suggesting that iOS 7 was built for 64-bit, we could see the operating be a lot more fluid on the iPad mini 2. Performance nuts will want to think about this as we approach a release date.
We highly recommend becoming familiar with the iOS 7 operating system that will be on board the iPad mini 2 and is currently on board the iPad mini. We say this because software is one of, if not the important aspect of a device. A device could have the best hardware in the world and if the software doesn’t feel right to a particular user, it won’t be a useful or fun to use. That’s the first thing.
Next, it’s important to consider that iOS 7 was the first update to the iPad mini which means it will likely get two more before its retired. In the case of the iPad mini 2, it should come with iOS 7 on board and then get three updates in the next three years. This is important to consider because there are many people that should, and will, pay the extra $100 for an extra year of support. It’s nice to have that peace of mind.
It may look funny, but there are plenty of people that love to shoot photos and video with their tablet, especially the iPad mini thanks to it compact size. There are also those who may not have a stellar camera on their smartphone. Whatever the case, the iPad mini 2 will be the device that those looking for a top notch camera will want to look at.
Rumors suggest that Apple will outfit the device with an improved camera, going from 5MP to 8MP, and putting it on par with the likes of the iPhone 5. This would be a huge upgrade over the 5MP camera on the iPad mini that isn’t anything to write home about.
We highly, highly suggest making a decision between the iPad mini 2 and iPad mini before the launch event. If that isn’t possible, and we understand that rumors won’t be helpful for many people, we suggest deciding between the iPad mini 2 launch date and the day that the device goes on sale. Why? Simple. The iPad mini 2 is likely going to be in short supply which means that we could see some insane shipping times.
Apple generally does a good job of getting its supply under control around three weeks to a month after launch but given what we’ve heard about the iPad mini 2, we could see shortage extend longer than that. While not guaranteed, we think a shortage is likely and thus, buyers should start preparing sooner rather than later.
Those who decide on the iPad mini 2 will want to be present on the first day of orders because the device will sell out quick. And it’s no fun having to sweat bullets, waiting for an order to arrive, especially if this is going to be an important gift for a loved one. Buying an iPad mini 2? Buy early.