Is it realistic to expect a Retina iPad Mini soon?
So I tried out the iPad Mini in Best Buy yesterday, and was really tempted to buy it, but can't get over the resolution (not bad, just not as good as my iPad 3).
So the question is: Is it realistic to expect a Retina iPad Mini next year? First off, I think based on Apple's extreme desire to reduce fragmentation (which I applaud), I think it is unrealistic to expect a Retina iPad Mini to be anything but 2048x1536. They have made a major push to mention the 250,000 tablet apps, and I can't see them doing anything to hurt that.
So first, I'll talk about the physical requirements. How realistic is it for them to produce a 2048x1536 screen? That would be a 324 PPI screen and would be even better than their premium iPad. That is an extremely good screen and would be far better than any ~7" tablet out there. It's a screen that would require a lot of battery and:
Processing power. We would probably need the A6X processor to push all those pixels. Apple just refreshed the iPad 3 after 6 months presumably because they realized that they weren't getting the performance they desired with the A5X. That will presumably cause heating concerns in a device with a lot less space than the iPad 4 to dissipate the heat. And then there is the whole battery issue. If there's one thing we know Apple values over just about any other spec, it's battery life. The battery in the iPad 3/4 is massive. They simply can't put that much battery in a 7.9" device. The iPad Mini is an extremely lightweight and thin device, and I'd hazard they would like to keep it that way. Will they be able to keep it thin enough while accounting for the extra heat and power requirements?
Is it feasible at this point in time to make a 2048x1536 7.9" screen with an A6X processor in a 7.9" tablet, while keeping the thinness similar, not hurting battery life, and not causing heating issues. It would seem like an awfully tall challenge, and while I don't think it's too high of a hurdle for Apple to get past, it brings me to my second point:
Price. The way Google and Amazon are undercutting the market and basically selling close to cost tablets, I think that Apple knows that the $329 price point is as high as they can possibly go to be attractive enough the small tablet market. Will Apple be able to stay in that $329 price range, with an incredible screen and very good processor, all while keeping the profit margins that they "require"? I would love an iPad Mini with Retina Display, but I just don't see it happening soon. Is it realistic to expect one? I just don't think so.