The iPad Mini 2: Low-Res Version This Year, Retina Version In 2014? [Rumor]

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The iPad mini is, for my money, the perfect iPad as far as form factor is concerned. But man, that 1024 x 768 display just looks like garbage once you’ve gone Retina. So while I have (and love) my iPad mini as an e-reader, I won’t get rid of my Retina iPad until the iPad mini can match it, pixel for pixel.

I doubt I’m alone in this, which is why everyone’s eagerly waiting for the iPad mini 2. Apple obviously wants to put a Retina display in the next-generation tablet, but the question remains: is the technology (and the production yields) there yet to make it a reality? Not in 2013, according to a new report.

Taiwan’s Economic Daily News says that because there are display panel shortages, Apple won’t be able to release a Retina iPad mini later this year alongside the new, improved iPad 5.

Instead, what they seem to see Apple doing is releasing a low-res version of the second-gen iPad mini this year, then perhaps beefing it up with a Retina display during a mid-cycle update in early 2014, similarly to the way the third-gen iPad was replaced within 6 months with the more powerful, Lightning-equipped iPad 4.

Sounds plausible to me, which makes the prospect of buying a low-res iPad mini 2 this year even less palatable than it was before. On the other hand, at least there’ll still be some point to the iPad 5 when it’s released, if only for a few months.

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  • Jeff Hurd

    CheckUrHeadline

  • Steven Quan

    Brownlee might have a point about the retina iPad Mini being the more desirable tablet until he sees the $400 price tag. Then he might back track when he realizes $299 for a low res iPad actually isn’t so bad. If you think Apple will be able to increase the resolution of the screen, give it a bigger battery and faster processor, AND keep the price the same you are out of your mind.

  • MrsCleaver

    “But man, that 1024 x 768 display just looks like garbage once you’ve gone Retina.”

    Give it up, John. Millions of people have Mini’s, and love them. I’m 64, wear glasses and have a MacBook Pro (non-Retina), an iPhone 5 and a Mini… and I don’t think the display looks like garbage. I’m sure if you work on a Retina MBP or Retina iPad for any length of time, and then switch to the Mini you’ll notice the difference in resolution, but it’s not a fair comparison. It’s not a Retina display, but it’s hardly garbage.

    Maybe those glasses you wear need tuning up. (g)

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  • technochick

    This is typical rumor crap. They assume, like John, that Apple is certainly going to go retina so they started that rumor. But then thy remember that the iPad 2 didn’t have retina so they get scared there will be to non retina Minis. And start this rumor to put the game on something they can’t control that way they can say that they were right and Apple was going to do it but could cause x, y, z

  • technochick

    Brownlee might have a point about the retina iPad Mini being the more desirable tablet until he sees the $400 price tag.

    It won’t have a $400 price tag just cause it is Retina. Apple already gets enough shit for it being ove $299. If the power needs bring the battery down or the cost of the tech is going to raise retail, etc they will wait.

    But honestly, the screen is already like 80% retina which is way better than the iPad 2. THey could be gearing up to work in battery etc first and keep the Mini as the ‘cheap’ model in place of keeping the iPad 2 etc around. The rumors of a budget iPhone could be more of a similar thing than keeping up the whole ‘dump the bottom and shift two down’ that is currently happening.

  • mitch_rodman

    How is it that an iPhone 5 and the standard size iPads have Retina and the mini which is in between those two in size display is such a challenge? Is it due to the processor or?

  • Ianthetechman

    If Apple are not gonna release a retina mini this year then i don’t think they should bother with a refresh for the device at all.
    The first mini got mainly criticised for not having a retina display so if Apple release the next one without the tech community will be bitterly disappointed.

  • Zod Buster

    they will be releasing something ..gotta keep feeding the iSheep,, otherwise they will start to wake up and see reality..don’t want that… Apple forever…bahhha bahhh

  • MrsCleaver

    How is it that an iPhone 5 and the standard size iPads have Retina and the mini which is in between those two in size display is such a challenge? Is it due to the processor or?

    Because the iPhone is much smaller, and hence less expensive to make retina screens for. Also the cost of the phone is partially subsidized by the carriers. In the case of the Retina iPad, it’s an expensive display because of its size, but the higher price enables Apple to recoup the cost of the screen. Many people will always buy the highest resolution and fastest device. That’s fine.

    The Mini is a different matter. Due to it’s larger size than an iPhone It would be expensive to build it with a retina display, but it is not subsidized by carriers. Further, to reasonably compete with similar sized devices, Apple has to keep the cost lower. Remember, an iPad is almost ALL battery. Most Mini buyers just don’t need retina resolution or a super-fast processor.

    Personally, I feel the price point of the Mini is quite good for what you get. Yeah, you can by Android/Google/Samsung devices with higher resolution and a little more ram, and maybe even some faster dual-core-whatever processor. But honestly , I’d rather have the thin Mini, Apple OS and integration I’m used to and love. It’s plenty fast enough, a perfect size, and despite what Brownlee says, has good resolution.

    There’s will ALWAYS be detractors to any device released. These devices and strategies are easy to deride and criticize, but marketing devices that work well, make a profit and please buyers is not easy. Just ask Bill Gates about the Surface, the Zune and Windows 8.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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