iPad mini: What we know, but is it what we want?
The rumours of an iPad mini tablet by Apple just won't go away, even more so now we have a couple of 7-inch Android tablets on the market.
There is even a release date, or at least a fairly suggestive event invite from Apple. But what can we expect to see on 23 October from Apple? Would it be enough to fend of competition from Asus and Google and the Nexus 7, or Amazon and its Kindle Fire? Here's what we know, and what we would like a 7-inch iPad to feature.
What to expect
iPad mini will have a 7.85-inch screen
All the rumours so far suggest that an iPad mini would come with a 7.85-inch screen, made by Sharp (although it will be marketed as being a 7-inch tablet). The 7-inch size will make it twice the size of the current iPhone 4S 3.5-inch screen, but considerably smaller than the iPad's 9.7-inch screen.
iPad mini's resolution will be 1024 x 768
The rumour mill suggests that the screen resolution will be half the size of the current Retina Display-touting iPad. Screen size is important because it is half the resolution of the new iPad (3rd generation). That means apps can be successfully shrunk and still retain their look without developers having to develop for yet another device.
Apple will pitch it differently
Apple's former CEO expressed some disdain over the idea of a 7-inch iPad mini and that shouldn't be forgotten.
In 2010, Steve Jobs said: "One naturally thinks that a 7-inch screen would offer 70 per cent of the benefits of a 10-inch screen...this is far from the truth. Seven-inch screens are 45 per cent as large as an iPad. This size isn't sufficient for making great tablet apps."
Read: New iPad review
Ouch. However, a lot has happened in the past two years. Apple has a new CEO and, although the 7-inch BlackBerry PlayBook has failed to capture the imagination of consumers, or anyone for that matter, the launch of the Amazon Kindle Fire, and more recently the Nexus 7 from Asus and Google, have. A smaller, more portable device can be successful.
iPad mini release date
Apple has sent out invites for an event in San Jose on 23 October with the words "We've got a little more to show you", plastered along the bottom. Fairly suggestive really, and while it doesn't confirm the existence of the iPad mini, we would guess as much.
Pocket-lint will naturally be on hand to cover the event, which is also rumoured to see a reveal of a new iMac as well as other Apple kit.
iPad mini price
At the moment, the latest rumours point to no less than 24 different versions of the iPad mini. This should mean that the usual price choice between Wi-Fi and 3G as well as 16,32 and 64GB versions is given. Then again some sources are saying it won't be 3G capable.
Again this isn't confirmed. Nor is the actual price for the iPad mini, which at the moment is rumoured from an inventory leak to start at £200 going all the way up to £525 for the top-spec model.
The iPad mini will feature a Lightning dock connector
Given that Apple adopted the new slimmer and smaller Lightning dock connector on the iPhone 5, we expect it will do the same with the new iPad mini. This means accessory fans might have to pick up an adapter if they want to use the iPad mini with their old iPhone or iPad kit..
It will have a bigger battery than the iPhone 5
A picture obtained by MacRumors appears to show the iPad mini battery listed at 4490 mAh worth of power. This would put it between the iPad and the iPhone, which you would expect. Given the smaller screen though and the possible lack of a 3G antenna, it could last longer than both.
It won't be called the iPad mini
That's what all the rumours are calling it, but it's unlikely to be called that when it comes to launch, just like the iPod Touch isn't called the iPod without phone. Expect it to be something a lot cooler and more Apple. Maybe the iPad nano, or the iPad Play, or maybe the iPad Go.
What we want
All day battery life
Obviously, we want the iPad mini to have a good battery life, but if the device is pitched as being a great travel companion then having an all-day battery goes without saying.
While the rumours suggest a 1024 x 768 resolution we don't think that's good enough. That screen resolution doesn't get Apple anywhere near the same screen quality as the company's iPhone or iPad. Using an online pixels per inch calculator, that resolution delivers only 186ppi, compared to the Apple iPad 3, which delivers 264ppi.
A resolution of 1536 x 1152, however, would be just as scalable as 1024 x 768 and also give Apple a 276ppi, something that is a lot closer to the iPad's Retina Display.
Same features of the new iPad
Before we start creating a wish list that involves all manner of things, including the device doubling up as a Teasmade, we certainly want to make sure that the iPad mini has all the features of the current iPad. Anything less would be a step backwards in our mind. So that means we want 3G, Bluetooth 4, fast Wi-Fi, cameras and other goodies.
We love how the Nexus 7 uses NFC to beam photos to other Android devices, and NFC in the iPad mini would allow you to share content with other Apple devices quickly too. But more than that it would let you connect the mini to speakers or other accessories quickly to sync music playback rather than let Apple focus on payments with the device per se.
Thin and light
If the mini is going to be all about portability it has to be thin and light. If it's going to be portable, we want it not to weigh our bag down.