back to article New iPad mini gobbles Retina display, 64-bit brain, puts on little weight

Proving yet again that there's no such thing as a secret in the tech world anymore, Apple has – as widely rumored – produced a new iPad mini with a Retina display. iPad mini with Retina display The new iPad mini with Retina display benefits from a prodigious processor power pop "The one most-requested feature to add to iPad …

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'"The one most-requested feature to add to iPad mini is a beautiful Retina display," Apple marketing man Phil Schiller told his product-rollout audience in San Francisco on Tuesday, "and that's what we're going to do today."'

Meanwhile, the rest of the industry decides to stick with tradition and continue to incorporate incremental improvements without making up kiddie-talk names for them.

Come on Apple. Where's the handsome Bob CPU and the glamorous Mary battery? And the cuddley Mickey mouse?

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JDX
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>>Meanwhile, the rest of the industry decides to stick with tradition and continue to incorporate incremental improvements without making up kiddie-talk names for them.

Yeah, tech companies never make up stupid names for their new refinements. Only all the time.

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@JDX, you're right of course, but I still get the phrase "Rectal Display" run through my head whenever I see "Retina Display"... though I imagine that it's just a touch of Applephylactic shock on my part.

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Innovation

So just to confirm, putting a faster processor and higher resolution screen in something is now 'innovation'? Well I suppose they've devalued the word 'genius' as far as they could, may as well start on another one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Innovation

It's in the pipeline at the US patent office apparentlty, Genius (TM) and Innovation (TM). Once it's been approved (and of course it will be) no one else will be able to use these words. Einstein will be reclassified as ' a gifted individual'

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Innovation

Well, quick question, I didn't watch the video of the presentation, but did Apple actually call the new iPad mini innovative, or are you just trotting out an old strawman to beat?

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Re: Innovation

... said Apple CEO Tim Cook ... adding that "these amazing products are examples of the type of innovation that only Apple can deliver."

Yep, that's officially "Innovation" (TM) from Apple.

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Stop

Re: Innovation

Designing your own processor that is twice as fast as the previous model, and cramming it in to a smaller, lighter package while keeping the same battery life is innovative, yes.

Don't try to trivialize what they have done without first understanding what that takes and realizing how few companies out there could do all of those things together (Samsung use off-the-shelf ARM cores rather than designing their own for example).

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Re: Innovation

I added 4 gigs of RAM to my desktop last weekend. Does that mean I'm innovative now?

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Stop

Re: Innovation

Not unless you (1) designed the RAM yourself, (2) it's the first of its type on the market (how many other tabs have 64 bit CPUs?) and (3) it is faster than the previous stuff while drawing the same or less power, no.

Enough with the trivialisation of what has been done here, swapping the screen for a model with 4 times the number of pixels while using the same power and giving the same or better performance is far from easy to start with.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Innovation

"Enough with the trivialisation of what has been done here, swapping the screen for a model with 4 times the number of pixels while using the same power and giving the same or better performance is far from easy to start with."

Indeed, it's amazing how jaded technical people have become with advancements to mobile platforms.

If somebody doubled the performance of my desktop computer and quadrupled my monitor resolution, I wouldn't go to an internet forum and complain that there weren't more improvements.

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Anonymous Coward

As a one time sceptic, then fan of the mini

I'm not so excited by this launch. The original has the perfect size, shape and feel in the hand. What Apple has done to shrink the full sized iPad OTOH is utmost interesting, making it a far more compelling device. Obviously, caveat IMHO/YMMV.

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Re: As a one time sceptic, then fan of the mini

" What Apple has done to shrink the full sized iPad ... is utmost interesting, making it a far more compelling device."

Was size / weight previously a problem? I haven't used an Apple one but do have a different tablet which is probably on the chunky side but doesn't strike me as unwieldy.

I think I would rather have extra robustness (particularly waterproofing) than reduced size but I might be missing something.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: As a one time sceptic, then fan of the mini

>> I think I would rather have extra robustness (particularly waterproofing) than reduced size but I might be missing something.

There are cases that can do this better than any device could.

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They had to go "retina", the original ipad mini's screen was an embarrassment.

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Anonymous Coward

No, they had to go "retina" because otherwise what would the advantage be in upgrading to the last model? A faster processor that is also 64-bit that most people won't use?

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Anonymous Coward

"They had to go "retina", the original ipad mini's screen was an embarrassment."

Was it really an "embarrassment"? It had more or less the same size and resolution as any competing 7-8" tablet.

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Facepalm

Had to go "retina"?

The competition overtook "Retina" a while ago.

Is Apple stuck with "Retina" until they can think of another inappropriate name?

Do car manufacturers gave engine sizes names, instead of using appropriate units?

Does /anyone/ else drop relevant units in favour of silly names?

Let's try...

The temperature is Joseph today. Tomorrow it will be House.

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Would you like me to put William gallons / litres of petrol / gasoline in your car?

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Have you seen the new Corvette? It's got a Jonathan Engine.

What size is that?

Huh? I told you. It's a /Jonathan/ engine. They don't use old-fashioned units. They're much too innovative for that.

Sound innovative?

Or a bit stupid?

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Anonymous Coward

"Is Apple stuck with "Retina" until they can think of another inappropriate name?

Do car manufacturers gave engine sizes names, instead of using appropriate units?"

As I'm sure you already understand, Apple is using "Retina" as a sort of brand name now... plenty of companies use plenty of brand names in the same way that Apple is using Retina... maybe car companies don't have names for particular engine sizes but look at all the other words that are associated with engines... Dodge has Hemi, Honda has VTEC, BMW has VANOS, Toyota has VVT-i, Mazda has Skyactiv, there's Duratec, Ecoboost, ... well, now I haven't been able to think of one for 10 seconds so I'll stop. But you get the idea.

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Re: more or less the same size and resolution as any competing 7-8" tablet.

The original iPad Mini had more or less the same size and resolution as any $200 (or cheaper) 7-8" tablet, (Fixed it for you.)

The "competing" 7-8" tablets (think Nexus 7, Kindle HD, etc) had much higher resolutions - and are considerably cheaper than even the old iPad Mini.

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Car engine names

I think you'll find they have internal names - my Land Rover Defender has a Puma engine. That dates from Ford's ownership, so I'm sure it's more widespread than we realise.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: more or less the same size and resolution as any competing 7-8" tablet.

"The "competing" 7-8" tablets (think Nexus 7, Kindle HD, etc) had much higher resolutions"

Not really. Both the 2012 Nexus 7 and and the Kindle HD had 1280x800 screens. The 2012 iPad mini had a 1024x768 screen. I don't see how those few pixels in either direction make a meaningful difference.

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Re: more or less the same size and resolution as any competing 7-8" tablet.

Either your calculator isn't working, or your definition of "a few pixels" is generous to say the least.

Or you're just a bit silly?

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Re: more or less the same size and resolution as any competing 7-8" tablet.

"Either your calculator isn't working, or your definition of "a few pixels" is generous to say the least."

Well, it's 256 pixels (20%) in one direction and 32 pixels (4%) in the other. Those aren't exactly huge numbers. In terms of raw number of pixels, it's a 23% or 30% difference depending on how you look at it. When you consider that Apple quadruples the number of pixels in its retina display, or that going from 720p to 1080p means a 2.25x increase, that 30% difference puts the iPad mini and the 2012 Nexus 7 square in the same "generation" of displays.

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JDX
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Re: more or less the same size and resolution as any competing 7-8" tablet.

Meh, I have an iPad2 and the resolution on that is in no way a problem, let alone an embarrassment. It looks sharp and clear. When I use a retina and non-retina side by side, I'm hardly bowled over.

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Re: more or less the same size and resolution as any competing 7-8" tablet.

"The "competing" 7-8" tablets (think Nexus 7, Kindle HD, etc) had much higher resolutions - and are considerably cheaper than even the old iPad Mini."

Weird how many iPad Minis they sold then really given the competition was "better" and "cheaper". Better doesn't always mean bigger numbers, cheaper doesn't always mean costs the least.

For instance I would consider a gold brick for £50 to be much better value than a Starbucks for £3.

I would also consider an iPad with a 3000mAH battery which lasts 10 hours doing video playback better than a Windows tablet with a 6000mAH battery which lasts 2 hours doing video playback.

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Re: more or less the same size and resolution as any competing 7-8" tablet.

> I would also consider an iPad with a 3000mAH battery which lasts 10 hours doing video playback better than a Windows tablet with a 6000mAH battery which lasts 2 hours doing video playback.

Except if you are a doer, not a brain dead follower. Like for example if you want to paint with a stylus, with pressure sensitivity. Or write some code. Whatever. You prolly have no idea what I'm talking about.

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Re: more or less the same size and resolution as any competing 7-8" tablet.

"Except if you are a doer, not a brain dead follower. Like for example if you want to paint with a stylus, with pressure sensitivity. Or write some code. Whatever. You prolly have no idea what I'm talking about."

I'll admit your grasp of the language does make it difficult to work out what you're trying to say, but those who wish to produce art would be using the Mac range rather than the iPad, or they would use one of the many pressure sensitive accessories available for iPad. Those who wish to write code are free to do so on the iPad but would generally compile said code on a computer more suited to the task. Generally real coders prefer a keyboard though.

As to what your babbling had to do with my post though, I have no idea.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: more or less the same size and resolution as any competing 7-8" tablet.

"Except if you are a doer, not a brain dead follower. Like for example if you want to paint with a stylus, with pressure sensitivity. Or write some code. Whatever. You prolly have no idea what I'm talking about."

Oh, you're such a "doer" that you can do your very important work on a small toy computer like a tablet? (Any tablet.)

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I predict with absolute certainty, probability=1, that every owner of the new iPad mini and iPad Air will use the faster processor.

Perhaps if you learned to formulate your words like an adult, your communication efforts would be more successful.

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Pint

Shopping 101

"...non-Retina predecessor. ...$329 16GB price tag lowered to $299;..."

Under $280 in March 2013.

No, not stolen. Paying attention while shopping.

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WTF?

RAM price

300 dollars to go from 16 to 128 Gb is taking the piss.

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does one need 128GB of RAM?

I have a 16GB iPad, still not full. At home I stream music from drives and when I fly I load some movies/TV shows for the trip. So it's only apps that really take up space. But an iPod I have has 64GB and I need every GB to store all my music.

The 16GB iPad was a very conscious decision, driven solely by my understanding of my usage and only partly by the price. Whenever my friends ask me which iPad I always tell them buy 16GB, for all the above reasons.

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JDX
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Re: does one need 128GB of RAM?

I load ripped DVDs onto my iPad to watch at the gym. Now I can obviously batch what's on there every few days, but it's a bit annoying. Equally if you go away with your iPad and want to watch non-streaming content, or can't guarantee good WiFi, you can easily fill it up with a single boxset.

If that isn't something you do, then I agree - 16Gb is/should be enough for most people with only a small amount of extra faffing.

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Some Simple Maths

four times the CPU performance and eight times the GPU oomph

But the Retina display means four times the pixels to move about. So, expect somewhere between the same speed and maybe twice as fast as the previous generation.

Or have I got that wrong?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Some Simple Maths

"But the Retina display means four times the pixels to move about. So, expect somewhere between the same speed and maybe twice as fast as the previous generation.

Or have I got that wrong?"

Yes and no. Moving pixels around (i.e., filling that retina screen) basically means fill rate. The GPU does other stuff too: triangle setup, pixel/vertex shading, blah blah. All that stuff stays constant. As does the amount of stuff the CPU has to calculate per frame. So the CPU is honestly 4x faster, and the GPU is somewhere between 1x and 2x as fast.

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JDX
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Re: Some Simple Maths

It also depends a lot on what the app is doing. A 3D game rendering at full resolution will need 4X the GPU power to get the same FPS (approximately) but pretty much any other app will not be maxing out the GPU. And, 3D apps don't have to render at full-resolution... they can still render at 1024x768 - which is just fine for 3D gaming on a small screen - and use loads more detail. It means you can render scenes at decent FPS you simply couldn't before.

And the CPU improvement is relevant in either case too - your game can have much better AI or whatever.

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080

So how much more memory does $100 get you, 16, 32, or 64 this is blatant gouging.

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JDX
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Where do you buy RAM that is small enough to fit in an iPad for comparison?

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Not RAM

Where do you buy RAM that is small enough to fit in an iPad for comparison?

The various "capacities" of iPad differ in the amount of flash storage they have. The RAM is apparently the same in each model (at least, Apple's own blurb doesn't make a distinction).

So, compare the prices of SD cards. The flash fitted in the iPads probably operates a little faster because it doesn't have to go through the SD card i/o interface but the costs should be comparable.

I see that from NewEgg a 16GB (Kingston Class 10 (fast)) SD card is only around US$ 15 and Apple charge six times as much by making the 32GB pad US$ 100 more than the 16GB. Here in the UK it's about £10 for a 16GB card and the difference in iPad prices is £10, so Apple are marking up by more over here.

A 128GB SD card card costs a little shy of $US 100 (or £70), so the Apple mark-up is less vicious on the higher capcity iPads.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not RAM

"So, compare the prices of SD cards. The flash fitted in the iPads probably operates a little faster because it doesn't have to go through the SD card i/o interface but the costs should be comparable."

Apples and oranges. The flash in iOS devices has SSD-level performance. There is no comparison to cheap and painfully slow SD cards.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Nominative determinism

"Apple marketing man Phil Schiller"

Is it only me that finds this amusing?

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Will definitely get the new Mini

Retina is the max resolution that matters. No innovation in that and no future upgrades necessary coz you can't see the diff. I was disappointed with the first mini but it was still the best package available for surfing and gaming. The real innovation is to run at X times the speed and last as long with the same battery. Has anyone tried charging a Nexus? It took ages, gets really hot and lasts not very long. Feels more like using a lousy laptop. Someone wonder if the act of then soldering the A7 onto the ipads is called innovation:) Having said that, Apple does lack innovation if this isn't the last upgrade cycle for the iPads and iPhone. I suspect 2014 is the year of China Mobile TDD-LTE deal and 2015 will be the one to look out for.

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But is it worth it?

Is the new ipad mini really worth the (minimum) price hike of £120 over a new nexus 7?

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Meh

Re: But is it worth it?

Yes to iFans who have a big library of apps to bring over. To those not yet stuck in the apple ecosystem, probably not

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JDX
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Re: But is it worth it?

Hard to say without actually trying them I imagine... is a BMW worth more than a Ford?

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iPad 2

The only galling thing in this slide is the fact they are still going to produce and sell iPad 2, a totally out of date piece of hardware, for an insignificant discount. Ouch.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: iPad 2

I have an iPad 2 and it's in great use every day - it's certainly not a poor tablet.

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Re: iPad 2

Precisely. A defining factor of geeks is that they can never get past their built in "newer is better and required" for all things. The iPad mini purchased a year ago will still be capable of doing precisely the same job in another year, or two or three ...

It is not unless the thing breaks, wears out or the underlying requirements change that the device becomes useless.

The original iPad mini only has an embarrassing screen if you have never seen or used one and rely on pointless hardware specifications to reach conclusions (yet another defining geekdom characteristic).

Luckily, it is a rare day when I am mistaken for a geek.

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