iOS 7 Beta Suggests Non-Retina A6-Powered iPad Mini in Development
According to the iOS 7 beta, Apple is testing a new iPad mini model that includes an A6 chip -- the same as the current iPhone 5 -- and a non-retina display, reports 9to5Mac.
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).
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.
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.
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.