Ok here goes, This is my rough reasoning, feel free to correct me or voice your own opinion The ipad mini has a 1024 × 768 px display which is tha same as the 1st and 2nd gen ipad The ipad 3 & 4 have a 2048×1536 display If you look at the 3rd and 4th gen iPads you will note that the resolution is exactly double in both the horizontal and vertical pixel numbers. This means it can run all apps written for the 1st and 2nd gen iPads by just applying a double up filter on the pixels for apps etc. ie 2 horizontal pixels to represent one horizontal pixel etc. It works out well, and you don't notice the scaling to much for apps etc written for the lower res. If the iPad mini had a retina/ipad 3 like display , its resolution would be some weird resolution that couldn't easily be scaled . It would be some 1.x multiplication that would make apps etc look crap as it would have to fudge the scaling to fit. ie Scaling 1.6 pixels to equate to one for example, just doesn't scale properly without ugly loss. It means the screen would equate the pixels unevenly and you probably would see noticable blocking. So, you see, I don't think Apple had a choice.