Electronic Design
The iPad Mini Arrives With Few Surprises

The iPad Mini Arrives With Few Surprises

Apple's shrunk the iPad and the result is the iPad Mini (Fig. 1). The 7.9-in screen has a 1024 by 768 pixel resolution that matches the original iPad but it is well short of the "retina display" in the iPad 3 (see Tablets Eclipse The PC Market). The iPad Mini announcement also included a new MacBook Pro with a "retina display" and two new iPad iterations (essentially the iPad 4). Battery life on all the new iPads is 10 hours.

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Figure 1. Apple's iPad Mini has a 7.9-in screen and runs Apple's A5 processor.

The $329 (WiFi only) iPad Mini fits in the palm of a large hand and is comparable to the other 7-in tablets on the market in general size and functionality. It has a 4:3 aspect ratio favored by Apple. The unit is only 7.2mm thick and weighs in at 0.68 pounds.

The processor is the dual core A5 that is found in earlier Apple platforms. The new, larger iPads utilize Apple's A6. The iPad Mini has a FaceTime HD front-facing camera plug a 5 Mpixel iSight camera on the rear. LTE wireless support is optional but all have 802.11 A/B/G/N Wi-Fi. The tabelt uses Apple's Lightning connector.

The iPad Mini runs Apple's latest iOS 6 operating system. It is available in versions with 16, 32 and 64 Gbytes of flash memory.

Apple is coming to the 7-in tablet space late and there is a lot of competition. The quad core Tegra 3 dominates the Android space and the upcoming Windows RT platforms. Apple's iPad Mini will be a top pick for Apple aficionados and it may pick up some newcomers. Unfortunately its price, screen resolution and performance will be a major consideration. In some ways, the iPad Mini may benefit from compatibility with the original iPad that had the same resolution, aspect ratio and processor. The new iPads improve on the resolution and processor.

The iPad mini will have an impact on the smaller tablet space but it is not the game changer like the original iPad.

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