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Old Dec 14, 2012, 09:47 AM   #1
paulloewen
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What does iPad mini retina mean for the full-size iPad?

I do not understand why no one has pointed this out. If the iPad mini goes retina (by quadrupling every pixel), it will have a much higher pixel density than the large iPad. Aside from speed and screen size, it will actually be a better iPad than its big brother.

Apple never lets cheaper products be "better" than their more-expensive counterparts. In my mind, there are two possibilities:
  1. the iPad mini goes "retina" in ppi but not by quadrupling. In other words, some intermediate resolution between 1024x768 and 2048x1536 - aiming for the same "retina" ppi as the current iPad with retina.
  2. the iPad mini quadruples its resolution, and the full-size iPad goes retina+, though what that resolution would be is hard to say. Perhaps aiming for the same ppi as the iPhone 4-5 and the new iPad mini retina.

Given the technological challenges they faced from the iPad 2 to 3 (battery, GPU power, lighting, etc), I'm hesitant to think they can do the same thing with the mini and keep its physical form factor the same. That makes me lean in the direction of option 1, but some might cry that it's not true "retina" because it didn't quadruple.

Notably, either option will mean developers will have a new resolution to work with. Unless they keep both at 2048x1536, which, to me, seems extremely strange.

Your thoughts? Why has no one else talked about this?
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 10:20 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulloewen View Post
I do not understand why no one has pointed this out. If the iPad mini goes retina (by quadrupling every pixel), it will have a much higher pixel density than the large iPad. Aside from speed and screen size, it will actually be a better iPad than its big brother.

Apple never lets cheaper products be "better" than their more-expensive counterparts. In my mind, there are two possibilities:
  1. the iPad mini goes "retina" in ppi but not by quadrupling. In other words, some intermediate resolution between 1024x768 and 2048x1536 - aiming for the same "retina" ppi as the current iPad with retina.
  2. the iPad mini quadruples its resolution, and the full-size iPad goes retina+, though what that resolution would be is hard to say. Perhaps aiming for the same ppi as the iPhone 4-5 and the new iPad mini retina.

Given the technological challenges they faced from the iPad 2 to 3 (battery, GPU power, lighting, etc), I'm hesitant to think they can do the same thing with the mini and keep its physical form factor the same. That makes me lean in the direction of option 1, but some might cry that it's not true "retina" because it didn't quadruple.

Notably, either option will mean developers will have a new resolution to work with. Unless they keep both at 2048x1536, which, to me, seems extremely strange.

Your thoughts? Why has no one else talked about this?
My guess if they do give it retina it will be a lower ppi. I really can't see Apple totally cannibalizing their upper tier line to sell lower margin iPads. It just sounds like bad business. Raising the price of the iPad line doesn't seem like a good option either. Maybe rather than just doing the simple double pixel they will release it with a new resolution spec. That is the only I can see them doing "retina" on an iPad Mini.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 05:40 PM   #3
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Assuming it's technologically feasible for Apple to take the iPad Mini into retina territory, they won't hesitate to do it. The iPad Mini has all the potential to be for the iPad what iPod Mini/nano was for the iPod (i.e. the most popular device in that category).
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 06:19 PM   #4
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Apple might give the full-size iPad a faster processor, faster graphics, longer battery life, and better cameras compared to the Mini. They also might double the RAM to 32, 64, and 128 GB, while keeping the Mini's RAM as is. Otherwise, I agree: there would be nothing to differentiate them other than size and weight.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 06:26 PM   #5
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Big iPad will go quad core (or just considerably faster again) with much more gfx power and 128gb.

Otherwise the only other thing I could see them doing is dropping the price $100, which I don't see them doing!
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 06:37 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ubele View Post
Apple might give the full-size iPad a faster processor, faster graphics, longer battery life, and better cameras compared to the Mini. They also might double the RAM to 32, 64, and 128 GB, while keeping the Mini's RAM as is. Otherwise, I agree: there would be nothing to differentiate them other than size and weight.
Not "RAM" - storage. 32GB of RAM is an insane amount for a tablet
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 02:53 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by paulloewen View Post
Your thoughts?
Well, there are tons of threads here right now where people who have bought the mini argue that retina isn't important, and that form factor is a more important criteria. So, I guess that will apply to regular iPad owners, too (it definitely does for me, I use my iPad extensively for work and want the larger screen for those tasks).

Having said that, a lot of people's opinions seems to change according to what the latest apple product looks like, so what I am anticipating if/when the 'retina mini' comes is a flood of threads talking about how retina is suddenly the most important criteria again.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 03:22 AM   #8
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Maybe like 295 ppi or something... Lower than iPhone 326 but higher than iPad 264.

Smaller the screen, higher ppi.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retina_Display
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 05:17 AM   #9
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By apple's own definition of retina, there should be no benefit from that many pixels, and would also result in excessive battery drain and tax the processor, not to mention making the device thicker and heavier.

I suspect apple will eventually be forced to use a third resolution, and the developers would simply have to program their apps for it. Preventing fragmentation is fine and all, but I feel it is the lesser of two evils here.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 05:25 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by paulloewen View Post
Your thoughts? Why has no one else talked about this?
Because everyone else recognizes the obvious fact there's more to iPads than screen resolution. Oh, and other people have talked about it, e.g., Anandtech talked about it when the Mini was first available.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 06:18 AM   #11
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Something to consider is the amount of people who never were interested in an ipad bought a mini. They really opened the door to a new group of people. Those who still like bigger ipad will still buy them...especially when the larger one becomes more "mini like" in weight and form
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 06:34 AM   #12
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They'll probably keep the mini one step behind the fat iPad in processor terms. The A5x can run retina. I can't see them introducing another resolution which will then give developers a 6th resolution to cater for. (3x iPhone and 3x iPad). Battery life will be the big factor, smaller ipad = smaller battery.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 01:32 PM   #13
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Not "RAM" - storage. 32GB of RAM is an insane amount for a tablet
Oops. I must have been thinking about the iPad 9.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 04:51 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Ubele View Post
Apple might give the full-size iPad a faster processor, faster graphics, longer battery life, and better cameras compared to the Mini. They also might double the RAM to 32, 64, and 128 GB, while keeping the Mini's RAM as is. Otherwise, I agree: there would be nothing to differentiate them other than size and weight.
Huh? You mean storage? 32GB of ram would make the iPad one of the very best machines better than any macbook pro, mba etc...
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 06:08 PM   #15
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Since when is how "good" a device is measured in ppi..

Also, it won't ever really be better. They're just different. I love my mini and for my use a large iPad would be impractical. I do however know for a fact that some people would never wan't to settle with the smaller screen, whatever the pixel density may be.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 06:13 PM   #16
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Oops. I must have been thinking about the iPad 9.
Well, maybe by the time iPad 9 comes, CPU, RAM and storage memory will be one and the same. Memristors have all the potential.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 06:21 PM   #17
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If Apple decides on using the full-sized iPad's resolution on the mini, then the mini will have a higher DPI of 324 (according to my calculations). It makes the full-sized iPad feel less "pro." On the other hand, making a new resolution with a similar DPI to the iPad's 264 would cause defragmentation for iPad app developers. Maybe this isn't as big a problem as I think.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 06:26 PM   #18
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In iOS-land, Apple either
1. keep the diagonal, quadruple the resolution
2. keep the resolution, SLIGHTLY tinker with the diagonal (9.7" to 7.85")
3. keep the width and pixel density, add height/pixels IF you're REALLY serious about changing the aspect ratio, and this could happen like once every 5 years (iphone 2007 - 2012), not earlier. (ipad will only be 3yrs old in 2013)

You gotta "keep" something and fight fragmentation.

Throwing in another resolution just for the sake of it won't happen, so both your options seem unlikely.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 06:48 PM   #19
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Thoughts... iPad could go Pro at some point giving it a real file system that users have been longing for, USB connectivity, more Ram, and bigger storage options.

Mini could still go retina if possible and continue being a media consumption device.

I don't see the Mini ever being totally equal to the larger iPad unless there is just no real demand for the larger size at some point.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 06:58 PM   #20
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I see the mini outselling the ipad by 4-1 or so, even without retina. If the mini gets pixel doubled or if apple blesses a new mini resolution, there will no longer be a 2013 ipad product using the original resolution, assuming the ipad 2 is discontinued at the next update. Weird! This is one of the reasons I think it is unlikely mini will go retina. Another possibility is apple keeping the mini and introducing a second mini with 2x res retina and higher processor specs at--say--$429. Then they could make more money from their most popular form factor
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 07:38 PM   #21
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The "apple will never do xxxx because it could hurt the sales of the product yyyy" game is always full of fails and claim chowder fun.

Truth is nobody knows and when the mini will eventually goes retina (2014?), its relationship with the big iPad could either be

1. "MBA vs rMBP"-ish (with the big iPad having some killer hardware feature over the mini, not necessarily display-related)

2. "15" uMBP vs 17" uMBP"-ish = basically the same product, just pick your screen size

as you see, there's no "apple will never"

Apple has already experimented with both strategies.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 07:52 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post
Huh? You mean storage? 32GB of ram would make the iPad one of the very best machines better than any macbook pro, mba etc...
I do indeed mean storage. Sorry for the techno glitch!
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 07:54 PM   #23
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Cannibalization.

If I had a iPad Mini with the same specs as the big boy then I would have no reason to upgrade to the larger one. Seems like a waste.

Mini is a mistake, its going to eat into the larger iPad sales cutting profits. Even with the processor specs being higher in the larger iPad I still don't think thats going to be enough to keep the smaller iPad from stealing sales.

Sure there are going to be those few that will buy into both markets that can afford it but for most, if you have one of them you aren't going to waste money on the other.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 08:09 PM   #24
giggles
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When and if the time will come, the big iPad will go the 17" MBP way (may it rest in peace). Who cares. Not Apple.

until then

"Hello sir and welcome to the apple store, just pick your favorite ipad screen size, we'll make a crapload of profit out of it anyway".

The mini is not a mistake by any means.

Guess what else you're not gonna "also buy" if you buy a mini? The competing 7" tablets...

Guess what you wouldn't have bought anyway if you can afford to spend 499$ for a tablet or you don't wear a backpack to carry your tablet? the big retina iPad..

Last edited by giggles; Dec 15, 2012 at 08:19 PM.
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Old Dec 16, 2012, 07:51 AM   #25
Rhyalus
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Once again people are failing to realize that there are different market segments for these devices.

Some people cannot function on the smaller screen based on how they use pad devices.

For business presentations to customers or large PDF / magazine reading, the larger pad is a must.

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