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iPad mini

Retina models launched on November 12, 2013

At a Glance

Apple’s new iPad mini with Retina display offers not only an improved display but significantly upgraded internals. Launched November 12.

Specs

  • 7.9-inch Retina display
  • A7 processor
  • iOS 7
  • Slightly thicker form factor
  • 5-megapixel camera
  • 16-128 GB capacities
  • Priced from $399
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What's New

At its October 22 media event, Apple introduced its second-generation iPad mini, bringing a new Retina display as well as upgraded internals including the A7 chip and M7 motion coprocessor introduced in the iPhone 5s.

The improvements to the iPad mini have necessitated a slight increase in thickness and weight for the iPad mini, with the device now measuring at 7.5 mm thick and 0.73 pounds compared to 7.2 millimeters and 0.68 pounds for the original generation.

With a Retina display, the new iPad mini's resolution has increased from 1024 x 768 to 2048 x 1536, matching the resolution of the full-size iPad but with the smaller screen pushing the pixel density to the same 324 pixels-per-inch seen on Apple's iPhone and iPod touch models.

The iPad mini with Retina display became available for purchase on 12:01 AM on November 12, 2013. Capacities range from 16 GB up to a new 128 GB option, with all models available in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular versions and in silver/white and space gray/black color options. Pricing has increased from the previous generation, now starting at $399 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi model and adding $100 for each capacity increment and $130 for cellular connectivity.

The non-Retina iPad mini remains available in a single configuration of 16 GB in both silver/white and space gray/black color options. Pricing has dropped by $30 over the original pricing, with the Wi-Fi model coming in at $299 and the Wi-Fi + Cellular model priced at $429.

Initial Impressions

Following Apple's October 22 announcements, press attending the event were given a chance to look at the new Retina iPad mini. Initial impressions were positive, noting that the device felt similar to the previous iPad mini despite its small increases in weight and thickness.

According to The Verge, the Retina iPad mini was noticeably faster and smoother, with sharper, more readable text, and CNET thought it looked better than its larger counterpart, the iPad Air.

Performance

According to Geekbench 3 benchmarks, the Retina iPad mini is running at 1.3Ghz, similar to the iPhone 5s. The Retina mini scored a 1390 on the single-core test and a 2512 on the multi-core test, which is an incredible boost in performance over the original mini's score of 261/493.

ipad_mini_retina_geekbench

The Retina iPad mini is, in fact, is 400% faster than the original iPad mini, though it is not quite as fast as the iPad Air, which clocked in at 1466/2856.

Known Issues

There have been a few reports of a limited number of Retina iPad minis displaying image retention issues. Image retention is not noticeable in regular use, but a grid test can be used to detect a possible problem.

Some Retina iPad mini users have noted that the tablet has a poor color gamut in comparison to the iPad Air. According to AnandTech, the Retina iPad mini has the same color gamut as the standard iPad mini, which is indeed narrower than the iPad Air.

Surprise Release

On the evening of November 11, 2013, MacRumors received a tip that Apple's GDX website for service providers was listing a November 12 launch date for the Retina iPad mini.

While the launch date initially appeared to be a mistake, as it was already November 12 in a number of countries around the world, Apple Online Stores went down at approximately 9 PM Pacific Time, suggesting that a launch was indeed imminent.

At 12:01 AM Pacific Time, Apple Stores began coming back online, with the Retina iPad mini available for purchase.

Launch Supplies

Prior to the release of the Retina iPad mini, rumors suggested display production troubles could cause supply shortages. According to a recent IHS iSuppli report, quantities of the Retina mini will be "ridiculously tight" until early 2014 and Tim Cook himself indicated that he was unsure if Apple would have enough supply to meet demand for the Retina mini.

Apple's low supply of the Retina iPad mini may be the reason behind its quiet launch. The mini was announced via press release on the morning of November 12, after orders had already been live for several hours. In addition to launching the tablet in the middle of the night, Apple also opted to offer in store Retina iPad minis solely via Personal Pickup, preventing walk-in sales for the time being.

Despite reports of limited supplies, the Retina iPad mini launched in multiple countries around the world at the same time. Shipping estimates in the United States started out at 1 to 3 days for the 16 and 32 GB Wi-Fi versions and at 5 to 10 days for the 64 and 128 GB versions along with all cellular models. Several other countries also had similar shipping estimates, while others started out with 5 to 10 day shipping times for all Retina iPad minis.

At the current time, shipping estimates have improved quite a bit as Apple has managed to reach supply/demand balance and new Retina mini orders for all colors and capacities (both Wi-Fi and Cellular) will ship within 24 hours from multiple countries including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, and the Asia Pacific.

Apple began offering a limited number of Wi-Fi Retina minis for Personal Pickup on November 12, and customers should be able to pick up a tablet at a local retail store. A Retina iPad mini tracking website may help customers locate a specific model to reserve for Personal Pickup. On November 22, Apple began allowing walk-in sales of the Retina iPad mini, despite some continued supply shortages.

Outside of Apple's stores, supplies have been even tighter, though retail outlets are now seeing improved supplies. Major U.S. carriers Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile originally experienced back orders of the Retina iPad mini, with up to eight week shipping estimates for cellular models. Major retailers like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart now have stock available.

Availability improved significantly towards the end of 2013, with production reportedly on the rise. The Retina iPad mini is now shipping in the U.S. within 24 hours from the Online Apple Store and is readily available at most brick and mortar Apple stores for both Wi-Fi and Cellular models.

What's Next

While KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo initially predicted Apple would not launch an updated Retina iPad mini in 2014, he reversed course and now expects Apple to release an upgraded version of the tablet with the same form factor, an A8 processor, and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

The update will likely come during the third quarter of 2014, possibly in September or October.

iPad mini Timeline

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