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iPad mini 2 – Should you wait for its release date?

Andrew Williams

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iPad mini 2
iPad mini 2

The iPad mini has proved hugely popular, and all despite former Apple CEO Steve Job's 2010 claim that tablets smaller than the full-size iPad 5 don't offer the full tabular experience. But is it worth waiting for the iPad mini 2 rather than buying one now?

Already own an iPad mini? Check out our top 50 iPad mini tips and tricks >

The current iPad mini is so popular that production of the 9.7-inch screen of the iPad 4 has reportedly stepped down a gear. iPad mini popularity isn't down to technological superiority, either. The screen, processor and RAM are significantly worse in the iPad mini than its brother – one of the few parts that matches the iPad 4 is one we don't care a great deal about, the camera array.

Apple is set to solve a few of these inadequacies in the iPad mini 2. And some say its release date could be as soon as March 2013. However, there's a chance that the mini series might “jump the shark” as soon as episode two.

It's all down to the requirements of what is a dead-cert upgrade. The iPad mini 2 is highly likely to feature a Retina display screen.

A KGI Securities analyst writes that the iPad mini 2 will have a resolution the same as the iPad 4 – 2,048 x 1,536. This will give it significantly higher pixel density than the 9.7-inch iPad 4, close to the iPhone 5's pixel density at 324dpi.

We would love to see this upgrade applied. Although the iPad mini has a significantly sharper screen than the iPad 2, you can still see the granularity that comes with fairly low pixel density in text. However, the move comes with significant technological hurdles to surmount.

The easiest way to illustrate this is to look back to the transition between the iPad 2 and the iPad 3. This was the moment when the 9.7-inch model took the giant leap to Retina.

It came with a significant cost, and not one of coin. The iPad 3 was roughly 50g heavier, and a shade under a millimetre thicker. It may not sound like a lot, but it makes a difference in a tablet.

Such an increase would be even more of a blow for the iPad mini 2, whose key allure is that it's slim and light enough to carry without getting forearms on your forearms. A Retina display iPad mini 2 could need a battery as larger as 8,000mAh, almost twice the size of the first mini's unit.

An IGZO Future?

However, there is a saviour around the corner. At CES 2013, Sharp talked openly about a technology we've heard about on the grapevine for a year or so now. IGZO is a type of display designed for high pixel density and low power consumption, and it may feature in the iPad mini 2.

The key to the battery-saving tech is that unlike the iPad mini's IPS screen, it doesn't fully refresh dozens of times a second. It only rapid-refreshes when there's movement on-screen. Sharp says that in a phone it'll up stamina from the smartphone-standard one day length to two.

This should limit the size of battery the iPad mini 2 needs – but there's still a lingering question of real-life usage. If it drains at a “normal rate” when rendering animation, won't games drain the second-gen dinky tablet in no time?

Also, Sharp says that it'll be a while before IGZO smartphones arrive in the US – as reported by TomsHardware. Could this also mean the IGZO-sporting iPad mini won't arrive until the third-generation model? Even if an IGZO iPad mini 2 arrives in just a couple of months, it wouldn't be the first tablet-like device to feature one. The Asus Padfone 2 quietly slipped in sporting IGZO last year. But the no-one bought one of those.

We're going to erect a fence to lean on. If the iPad mini 2 offers battery-saving IGZO tech, it'll be worth the wait even if its new tech bumps the price up to, say, £299 for an entry-level 16GB model.

If it pulls an iPad 3 and bulks-up for the sake of the battery needed to power a Retina display screen, Apple may be cradling a dud. At the time of writing, I have an iPad mini waiting in my virtual basket at a well-known supermarket's site, just willing me to hit the checkout button. Should I? Let us know what you think the iPad mini 2 will offer in the comments.

Can't wait for the iPad mini 2? Then check out our video review of the iPad mini:

StuMobile

January 21, 2013, 6:02 pm

Surely there is an equally important question, what sort of processor are Apple willing to stick into a retina iPad mini? assuming they keep the price the same.

The current iPad mini achieves similar game performance with iPad 2 internals at its current resolution to a retina toting iPad 4. There could be a real hit on performance if Apple put in a high rez screen but skimp on the silicon

Kevin Cortez

January 21, 2013, 6:25 pm

The processing chip should be capable of handling and maintaining great battery life. I returned my ipad mini with the desire to purchase this upgrade. I would believe that the new processor will be somewhat similar to the iPad 3, if not the 4 at this point.

Chad

January 21, 2013, 8:29 pm

will there be an i pad mini 2 with coloured backing like this photo

MIKE

January 21, 2013, 8:52 pm

NEEDS RETINA DISPLAY, AND THE FASTER PROCESSING CHIP. END OF STORY. WITHOUT THOSE TWO THINGS WHATEVER THEY RELEASE WILL BE NOT WORTH BUYING

Andrew_TR

January 21, 2013, 10:18 pm

Absolutely, but I think there's less chance of Apple dropping the ball on that front. My main aim was to say... fat iPad mini = bad times. For now I'll wait on pulling the trigger on an iPad mini I think.

Peter Edwards

January 22, 2013, 9:33 am

I would just the current one, if i was into IOS.
Then sell it if it is worth upgrading to the new IPad mini.

Ross

January 23, 2013, 9:23 am

I'm sitting in the same boat, I have an iPad 64w (3rd Gen) and am donating my device to our children and exchanging for the greater mobility of the iPad mini, I'm reluctant to buy now based on the current spec, but if a retina model is to be released within the next 5/7 weeks, I'll hold out!... I will be holding out until April at which point I think we'll have a clearer picture of the iPad2 release.

Bugblatter

January 23, 2013, 12:47 pm

Well with the iPad 3 they quadrupled the pixel count but only doubled the GPU power, which had a big imapct on gaming performance. They fixed that with the iPad 4 by again doubling the GPU power. However if they can't fit the iPad 4's silicon in the mini form-factor (and they are very large chips) then it could be a problem.

Iowncacat

January 23, 2013, 4:13 pm

It seems to me Apple is not in the habit of going backward...generally. They are all about performance and occasionally minor sacrifice...enter ipad 4 and its 50g. Alas, I believe the ipad mini 2 would be worth the wait if you already sport an ipad. If not, click away...as with all technology, it is obsolete the moment we buy it, and with Apple there is always the 'latest and greatest' around the corner. There will always be something better.

Parm

January 23, 2013, 9:51 pm

Apple makes good solid products - there is no doubting that, but with the last few releases of iPad and iPad mini, its definitely showing that Apple is more about making money than anything now. Honestly, there was nothing stopping them from making an iPad mini with retina display, but they new that should they release a new product - iPad mini that it too would be popular. *Oh Apple* or maybe I should say...*oh Apple fans*

Udit Biswal

January 24, 2013, 5:25 pm

is the retina display going to be much of an edge over the current display, say if u wanna read text, surf web, photos, occasional video playback BUT NO GAMES ....if not then the iPM will be a really safe option since its certified awesome by hordes of users...and ya since ease of use sleekness is its main pro, it wont be wise to risk on that

Peter Helstrup Jensen

January 24, 2013, 7:04 pm

What up. Oi seems like my products is already obsolete. Well... I love my iPad mini, and coming from the iPad 2 the screen is perfectly acceptable for anything I'm doing. Secondly I'm not as excited in what new HW Apple has for us, more what kind og iOS upgrades 6.2 and 7 is going to bring. As I feel the power in the current mini to be adequite for everything, web browsing, reading comics/books, playing the odd indie game etc.. The only thing I think it needs is more ram for more open applications, let's see that happening.

Steve

February 28, 2013, 1:41 pm

i actually don't mind waiting 8 weeks or so this time, to see what Apple does (with the 2 and with pricing on the original), before i buy a mini.. if the mini 2 does have retina display and is a little heavier, i'll still consider it.

i just sold my 32gb iPad2 to get the most i can out of it now and really my life will be no worse off by waiting a little while for something i don't NEED anyway. (plus my iPhone 5 will satisfy my iAddiction until then)

wetwew

April 9, 2013, 10:48 am

All i need in the iPadMini 2 are:

Faster Chip
Retina Display
Camera Flash, HDR, Macro etc. (like the Itouch 5)

THAT'S ALL!

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