iPad mini 2 release date, rumours, Retina news and specs

The iPad mini 2 is set to bring the nascent mini range bang up-to-date. Apple’s first iPad mini has become hugely popular, but in several respects it lags way behind its bigger brother, the iPad 4. Apple is yet to officially reveal any details about the upcoming tablet, but the rumour mill has done its job well. We already know a good deal about the iPad mini 2.

Please note: This article is based on rumour. We will update it with concrete information as it becomes available.

Should you wait for an iPad mini 2? We find out >

iPad mini 2 Release Date

Has Apple realised that the first iPad mini was less than a technical marvel? It seems so because the second-gen model is reportedly going to be unveiled in March 2013, just five months after the original. As usual with Apple’s products, the iPad mini 2 will be launched at its own event, rather than as part of a larger technology expo.

iPad mini 2 Screen

The biggest improvement we’re expecting in the second-generation iPad mini is in its screen. Currently, the mini has a rather unimpressive 1,024 x 768 pixel 7.9-inch display. Pixel density and overall image quality is well below what you get with an iPad 4.

However, Apple is expected to switch to using a much higher-resolution IGZO panel, a new kind of screen made by Sharp. Consistent with Apple’s previous resolution changes, the iPad mini 2 resolution is likely to use the same res as the iPad 4 – 2,048 x 1,536 pixels. This is a 2x increase of both the vertical and horizontal resolutions, letting the iPad mini 2 simply double-up on pixels for apps not optimised for the new device. However, it should also be able to use any apps designed for the iPad 4’s fab screen.

iPad mini 2 Specs

Such an increase in resolution has knock-on effects for both the processor and battery. The processor problem is a simple one. Using effectively very similar internals to the iPad 4, the iPad mini 2 is likely to use the same – or a similar – CPU to the larger tablet. That’s an A6X 1.4GHz Dual-core model with a quad-core PowerVR GPU.

This causes a pricing problem, though, as the next generation of Apple mobile processor isn’t expected until next year, and part of the iPad mini’s charm is that it’s significantly cheaper than the larger iPad.

The second problem with such a high pixel density screen is that you’d expect it to be significantly more power-sapping.  However, IGZO tech may fix that. Power efficiency is a focus of the panel type. The greatest power savings are made in the way an IGZO screen refreshes its image. Or, to be accurate, the ways it does not.

Normal LCD screens refresh their images dozens of times a second, but the IGZO type doesn’t refresh static images, only moving ones. This will reduce battery use hugely when the iPad mini 2 is displaying the iOS 6 home screen, for example.

This should mean the iPad mini 2 shouldn’t have to incorporate a dramatically larger battery, which could have ruined the thin and light design of the iPad sub-series.

iPad mini 2 Features

We don’t expect to see many other dramatic changes in the iPad mini 2 other than the screen technology. The tablet doesn’t need much else – let’s not forget the iPad mini range was only born in late 2012.

However, we would like to see Apple incorporate GPS in the second-generation model. It was left out of the Wi-Fi only models in the original, only featuring in the “Cellular” 3G-enabled edition.  

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