iPad Mini: What To Expect

Ever since Apple launched the iPad in 2010, there have been rumors that Apple will launch a smaller and cheaper version of their tablet.

The “we’ve got a little more to show you” tag line on the invite for the October 23 media event seems to strongly indicate that Apple will finally launch the smaller iPad to take on cheaper Android-based tablets like Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire.

Here’s what we expect based on the rumors and speculations we’ve heard so far.

Form Factor/Design:

The smaller iPad is widely expected to come with a 7.85-inch (diagonal) display, not that much smaller than the full-sized iPad’s 9.7-inch display.

Ironically, even though the device will get the iPad moniker, it may look more like a big iPod touch, with thinner bezels along the sides in portrait mode.

The smaller iPad will most likely come in the aluminum casing like the bigger iPad, but should be thinner and lighter than the iPad 3.

We don’t expect Apple to unveil an iPad mini with Retina Display as they would like to keep the costs down as much as possible to meet the $249 price point. Instead, it is like to come with the same 1024×768 resolution, which is the same as the iPad 2, but higher pixel density due to the smaller screen. Interestingly, if we do the maths, it could come with 163 ppi, the same pixel density as the original iPhone.

Here’s a mockup of the smaller iPad:

Image Credit: Martin Majek

And the video of the physical mockup based on the leaked parts and rumors:

If you want to see what a 7.85-inch iPad looks like then you can print the PDF (Home Screen (6MB)Keyboard (18MB) or checkout the actual size on your iPad by pointing Safari to following URL (launching it as a web icon from the home screen).

CPU:

The smaller iPad is likely to be powered by a variant of the A5 chip, which currently powers the iPad 2 and 5th generation iPod touch.

RAM:

It will most likely have only 512MB RAM just like the iPad 2.

Battery:

The photos of the leaked battery suggests that it runs at 3.72 volts, offering 16.7 watt-hour of energy on 4490 mAh of charge.

The 16.7 watt-hour capacity places it between the iPhone 5’s 5.45 watt-hours capacity and the 3rd-generation iPad 3’s 42.5 watt-hour capacity. But since it won’t have to power a Retina Display like the iPad 3 or iPhone 5, we are hopeful that it will offer longer battery life than the iPad 3.

Camera:

It should come with a 0.7MP back-facing camera with 5x digital zoom like the iPad 2 that allows users to record videos at HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with audio. It should also come with a 0.3MP front facing camera.

Siri:

We expect Siri – Apple’s personal assistant feature to be available on the smaller iPad. We are quite confident as all the iOS devices launched this year including the 5th generation iPod touch come with Siri.

Lightning Connector:

The smaller iPad will come with Apple’s new Lightning connector just like the iPhone 5, 5th generation iPod touch and 7th generation iPod nano.

LTE Support:

There have been rumors that Apple will offer a Wi-Fi only model of the smaller iPad. But since Apple has always charged a premium for 4G/3G connectivity and ends up making a higher profit on these models, we don’t see any reason why Apple will offer just a Wi-Fi only model.

We expect the smaller iPad to support 4G LTE networks just like the iPhone 5.

Storage Capacities:

Based on the leaked part numbers, Apple is likely to unveil the smaller iPad in storage capacities of 8GB, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB.

Colors:

We don’t expect Apple to launch the smaller iPad in multiple colors like the 5th generation iPod touch. It will most likely come in black and white like the iPad 3.

Pricing:

Rumors indicate that the smaller iPad will be available for anywhere between $249 to $329 for the base model. We’ve speculated that Apple will unveil the smaller iPad for $299 – $329 instead of $249 (which would have been perfect), as it will give the company a chance to drop the price of the first generation of the smaller iPad to $249, when it launches the 2nd generation device next year.

Name:

Apple could call the smaller iPad – “iPad mini”, “iPad Air”, “7-inch iPad”, just “iPad”. So far iPad mini has been the most popular. But John Gruber of Daring Fireball believes that “Mini doesn’t feel like the right way to describe something that’s remarkably thinner and lighter but not that much smaller than the regular iPad.” “iPad Air” is on the top of his list, followed by “iPad”.

Release Date:

November 2nd seems like the most obvious release date for the smaller iPad. Rumors also point to a November 2nd release date. We also expect Apple to start taking pre-orders just after the event.

Final comments:

It will be interesting to see which of these rumored features will make it to Apple’s smaller iPad and if Apple has any other major surprises under its sleeve.

We’ll be live blogging the event so don’t forget to join us at 10am PT or 1pm ET or 6pm GMT. Until then, let us know if you plan to buy the smaller iPad.