Apple just sent out press invites for a press event on Oct. 23 where it’s largely expected to unveil the 7.85-inch iPad mini. If correct, this will be Apple’s first foray into the 7-inch tablet market, which is largely dominated by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samsung and Google. What features will the iPad mini offer? What kind of price point will it come in at? Well, those are questions that we won’t have final answers to until next week, but we do have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
A 7.85-inch Screen
This is pretty much in the bag at this point. Nearly every single leak and report has said that Apple’s iPad mini will have a 7.85-inch display. We’re guessing it will pack a “Retina” resolution, too, much like Apple’s iPhone and larger iPad products. We wouldn’t be surprised if the screen uses the same new in-cell technology that the iPhone 5 uses, but that’s purely speculation at this point.
A Lighting Dock Connector
Again, this one is fairly obvious. When Apple launched the iPhone 5 it moved from its classic 30-pin dock connector to its new Lightning port, which is smaller and more efficient than the old adapter. We’re still kind of bummed by the move, since you need to purchase adapters from Apple for $29.99, but at least it’s standardizing things moving forward. So, yes, we’re willing to bet the farm that the iPad mini is equipped with a Lightning port.
An Aluminum Body
Several leaked hardware images and reports from analysts have suggested that the iPad mini will have an aluminum body. That’s nothing new, since Apple uses aluminum in everything from its MacBooks to its iPads and the iPhone. We’re guessing we’ll see a unibody design, too, again in line with what Apple typically offers on its products. As usual, we don’t expect a removable battery or exapandable storage.
A High Capacity Battery
Recent leaks have suggested that the iPad mini will sport a large 4,490 mAh battery. The current “new iPad” by comparison, offers a much larger 11,666 mAh battery, but that’s required for the larger display, which drains the juice faster. The 4,490mAh should provide about a day of use, we’re guessing, since it’s about twice the size of a battery in today’s smartphones.
A Starting Price Point in the $250 – $350 Range
I’ve already speculated a bit on the iPad mini price. My guess is that we will see an 8GB model for $250, but I could be totally off base and Apple might price it much higher. I think it’s possible that Apple could eat into its new iPod touch sales if it prices the iPad mini too low, but it can also aggressively kill off competition if it keeps the price down. Higher capacity models with 4G LTE connections, if available, will probably cost hundreds of dollars more. I’d just really like to see Apple enter the 7-inch space with a super-aggressively priced tablet.
I suppose it’s entirely possible that Apple will include the A6 processor used in its new iPhone 5 in the iPad mini, but I’m guessing it will stick to its older chip to keep prices down. I also think it might reserve the chip for a newer full-sized iPad. We’ll see, though, Apple always seems to have a surprise or two up its sleeves.
We’re also willing to bet that Apple will include a FaceTime camera on the front of the iPad mini, as well as a secondary camera on the back. We’re guessing it’s going to shoot at a similar resolution as the new iPod touch, however, and won’t offer as many features as the camera on the iPhone 5. We’re also guessing that Apple will toss in its new Earpod headphones in the box and, maybe, after a lot of feedback, a 30-pin adapter. But I doubt it.