iOS 7 Beta Suggests Non-Retina A6-Powered iPad Mini in Development
The information was sent to the site by developer Nick Frey, who found the details inside a file that lists all the iOS devices that support iOS 7. The A6 processor would be a logical upgrade for the iPad mini, advancing its main processing chip to the next generation.
According to the provided information, Apple is considering three new iPad mini models: iPad “2,8,” iPad “2,9,” and iPad “2,10.” The respective code names for the devices are J75, J76, and J77. This points to one WiFi-only model and two cellular-compatible models (just like the current iPad minis).Current iPad mini models are nicknamed '2,5'; '2,6'; and '2,7'. 9to5Mac also notes that the models don't include references to '@2x' code that relates to Retina-display supported artwork -- that code is included in the iPhone 5 and the fourth-generation iPad, leading the site to conclude that the new mini will not include a Retina display.
As for what these new iPad minis will feature, the references state that the devices include the “s5l8950x” processor. This is the same A6 system-on-a-chip inside of Apple’s iPhone 5, and this would offer significant speed improvements for the iPad mini compared to the current A5-based model.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has vacillated in recent months over Apple's plans for the iPad mini, most recently saying that a Retina-equipped device would launch sometime in March or April of 2014, with Apple not planning to upgrade the device at all until that time.
It's possible that this non-retina iPad mini is merely a device in testing, but while Kuo has a strong track record, it's always possible that Apple could change product release plans at the last minute.