Rather than get embroiled in the emotional reasoning why the Retina display was not included, I decided to take a look at it from a numerical and logical angle. I wanted to see how feasible it would be to fit in an iPad Mini so I cross examined the device with other Apple devices. Die Size Apple A5X: 163mm2 (45nm process) for iPad 3 Apple A5: 122mm2 (45nm process) for iPad 2, iPhone 4S Apple A5X is 33% bigger than the A5 in order to power a tablet retina display. Apple A5r2: 71mm2 (32nm process) for iPad 2,4, iPhone 4S Apple A5r2 58.2% as big as Apple A5. Apple A6: 97mm2 (32nm process) for iPhone 5 I assume that all of Apple’s allocation for chips at Samsung’s 32nm foundry are currently being used to make Apple A6 chips for the iPhone 5 and Apple A6X chips for the iPad 4 and that there is no extra capacity for iPad Mini. Volume *modeled as a cuboid shape as it is impossible to calculate the rounded edges of each iPad iPad 3: 241.2mm x 185.7mm x 9.4mm = 421.033cm3 * iPad Mini: 200mm x 134.7mm x 7.2mm = 193.968cm3 * iPad mini has approximately 46% of the internal volume of an iPad 3. Thermals Anand Shimpi from AnandTech, on the iPad 3: Imagine how hot the iPad Mini would become if you had to dissipate the heat from an enormous chip in a chassis which is less than half the size of its larger equivalent. It would be unbearably hot to touch and that wouldn’t augur well for the longevity of the device nor its components. Battery Size iPad 3: 42.5-watt hour iPad Mini: 16.3-watt-hour In order to power a Retina capable chip manufactured on the last generation Samsung 45nm process, the iPad Mini would require a battery approximately 2.5 times as big as the one it has. Additionally, this battery would have to fit in a volume of less than half that of the big iPad. Weight iPad 3 Retina: 652g (WiFi) iPad Mini: 312g (WiFi) iPad Mini weighs 47.85% as much as the iPad 3 Weight to volume ratio iPad 3: 652 ÷ 421.033 = 1.54g/cm3 * iPad Mini: 312 ÷ 193.968 = 1.61g/cm3 * The iPad 3 and iPad mini have basically identical weight to volume ratio once you factor in the inaccuracy of my model for calculating the volume. The additional weight required to put in a battery 2.5 times as powerful would make the iPad mini noticeably more unwieldy than its predecessors. Pixels Per Inch iPad 2: 131.96 iPad 3: 263.92 iPad 4: 263.92 iPad Mini: 162.03 iPad Mini Retina: 324.05 iPhone 5: 326 This could actually pose a problem for Apple as their entry level unit would have much better pixel density than the flagship iPad, taking away a major unique selling point from the bigger tablet. The display would almost have parity with that of the iPhone 5, another Apple flagship device. Future Models When Apple moved from the Apple A5 to the A5r2 (45nm process to 32nm process), they were able to cut the die size by about 42% while giving equal performance and slightly better battery life. Assuming they were able to do the same with the Apple A5X which powers the iPad 3, this would mean that a Retina-capable chip would measure in at about 95mm2 or thereabouts. Or Apple could maintain the die size at roughly 120mm2 and use the additional space on the SOC for improvements in processing and graphical speed. Conclusion We can keep praying to the pixel pixies and lithium leprechauns to cheat physics and fit a Retina display in an iPad Mini but logic dictates that is just isn’t currently feasible in any manner which would be remotely usable. We should be able to see a Retina-capable iPad mini in a year - or six months - given the technology available to Apple. Once there are enough iPhone 5s and iPad 4s out in the wild, it would behoove Apple to move the iPad mini onto Samsung’s 32nm process, clearing the way to a Retina display. My Opinion I think the first generation iPad mini is quite overpriced but it is done so that when the second generation mini’s bring twice the RAM and Retina display, they can incorporate them without raising the price. Perceptively, starting at a high price and maintaining it is more palatable than starting lower and increasing. It’s almost like an early adopters entry fee. I genuinely believe that Apple has accounted for the price of future Retina displays in the pricing of first generation of iPad minis. Like the current iPad, where they make smaller margins on the 16GB versions, but charge $100 premium for the 32GB version (which requires $10 of additional NAND over 16GB) and $200 premium for the 64GB version (which requires an $30 of additional NAND over 16GB). I am eagerly awaiting the second iteration of the iPad mini which should be everything the first generation was meant to be.