Imagining the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2: What we expect Apple to cover next!

Imagining the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2

Analyzing rumors and speculation surrounding Apple's 5th generation iPad and 2nd generation iPad mini, from chipsets, to designs, to screens, and more!

Apple is holding their next big event on October 22 and among the biggest news will likely be the updated iPad 5 and iPad mini 2. It's likely the new full-sized iPad will be made less fully-sized, and it's possible the new iPad mini will get a screen that's more maxi. But what else do we have to look forward to? Let's take a look!

iPad 5 design: Thin is in

Imagining iPad 5: Lighter, thinner design

Looking back, the original iPad was thick, heavy, RAM-starved, and low resolution. It was also magnificent. A big iPhone, according to its detractors, unimaginative, and, of course, doomed. Turns out it was an iPhone gone IMAX, bigger but also broader, as imaginative as the person using it, and the next evolution of personal computing. But, thick and heavy. Apple fixed that somewhat with the iPad 2, regressed slightly with the iPad 3 and 4, and then showed the world a thinner, lighter future with the 7.9-inch iPad mini. The iPad mini was so light and thin it was impossible to look at it and not want the same design on the 9.7-inch iPad 5. And it looks like that just might be exactly what we get...

iPad mini 2 display: Retina or bust

When the iPad mini launched it garnered universal acclaim for its smaller, thinner, and lighter 7.9-inch form factor that looked light-years ahead of the then 4th generation iPad. Slightly cheaper, the only thing it really seemed to lack was the high density Retina display of its 9.7-inch elder sibling. The reason for that? Retina is hard. You can have Retina, you can have lightness, and you can have battery life, but not all three at the same time. At least not back then. So what about now? Has time let technology catch up? Can Apple ship a Retina iPad mini in 2013? I'm thinking yes...

iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 internals: Touch ID, Apple A7, and M7

Apple A7 chipset brings 64-bit, twice the speed, OpenGL ES 3.0 gaming

There are some other new features that could make an appearance in Apple's next-generation tablets, including Touch ID, the fingerprint identify sensor. Of course, Touch ID requires the new Apple A7 chipset and its secure enclave to work, but that's a likely addition anyway, at least to the full-sized iPad. And with the A7 also comes the possibility of the Apple M7 motion-coprocessor. Would that make sense for a tablet? Or would running the deck on A7 this year, the way they did Lightning last year, make perfect sense...?

iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 cameras: iSight and FaceTime HD

What also remains to be seen is what will happen with the iSight and FaceTime HD cameras, tablet editions. While not as dismal as the original iPad camera, they've still lagged enormously behind the iPhone. Better FaceTime HD cameras are a given, but could an 8 megapixel camera, powered by the A7 image signal processor, make this year much, much better?

iPad 5 and iPad mini 2: The bottom line

A lot of questions still surround the iPad 5 and iPad mini launch, especially when it comes to Apple A7 chipsets and Touch ID on both models, and Retina on the mini. That also means pricing is up in the air. Apple will almost certainly keep the iPad 5 at a base $499 price tag. Will they keep the 2011 iPad 2 around at $399, even for education? Can Apple afford to put an A7 Retina iPad mini at the same $329 price point as last year's A5, non-Retina version? And if not, if it does have to move up to $399 (the old iPad 2 price point), does last year's iPad mini drop down to $299 to further lower the lowest cost of entry? Based on past behavior, Apple could run the tables on Retina and Touch ID this year, and use older models to make sure there's no umbrella beneath them. That's what I'd like to see.

But only one thing is for certain at this point: The October 22 iPad event is going to be something. And iMore will be bringing you the absolute best coverage, color, and commentary in the business, like usual!

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Imagining the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2: What we expect Apple to cover next!


I'd like to see the new iPad with the slim bezels like the iPad mini, and with Touch ID. That'd be interesting wouldn't it?

Cannot wait. Would love to see a retina mini with touch id. Could we possibly get haptic feedback on one model tomorrow? Apple acquired a company two years ago, if memory serves me correctly, that was working on that at the time. For the next iPhone, which is at least a year away from now a bigger screen is an absolute must for me. Going with a bigger screen will allow them to pack more battery an added benefit to the iPhone. Imagine, 20 hours or more on an iPhone. They will not be able to build enough for that demand I'd bet.

As long as it has the mini form and the new chip, I will be selling my iPad 3 for the 5. One thing I dislike about my 3 is the shape.

The iPads are nice and everything but what I really wanted is Mavericks. Because my current OS feels a little dusty.

I know HD/retina is hard to make thin but what are the other tablets doing? was the Nexus 10 and its crazy pixels thin? I know not apples to apples but I think that gives a clue to what can be done and the hope is that apple can do better....but I remember searching to a 7"er last xmas and comparing kindles. minis, etc...and they were all pretty close to the same thickness but the Mini was not HD/Retina...I just assumed this will mean...they can do it next time.

I think from the financial sources are saying that Apple last year did not want to make an iPad Mini Retina due to the fear that it would take away from some of the full size flagship iPad 3/4 sales and reduce their profit margin. So they decided to use low resolution screen, limit RAM options and a two year old processor to keep it from happening. Not sure if Apple will continue with this strategy or make the iPad Mini Retina a "flagship" product and put up to date components inside it like they do for the iPad5.

Here's my thinking:

iPad (5th gen)
- Slimmer, lighter, narrower bezels as in all the rumors
- Space gray+black or sliver+white (no gold)
- A7X SoC with M7 co-processor and Touch ID
- Same camera as in iPhone 5S
- Same $499 base price

iPad mini (2nd gen)
- Space gray+black or sliver+white (no gold)
- Old A6X SoC with new Retina display
- No Touch ID or M7 co-processor
- Lower $299 base price

iPad mini (1st gen)
- Base model will remain in the lineup (16GB, wi-fi only)
- Discounted to $229, and production might end after the holiday quarter

How come imore doesn't get invited to the keynotes. Your pretty responsible and fair when it come to reporting on Apple products. A lot more so than some other sites.

Sent from the iMore App

iPad 5 - $499 (new form factor)
- A7X
- no M7
- camera bump to last years iPhone 5 8MP

iPad mini with retina display - $399
- iPad 2 says bye-bye
- A7 processor (the consumer choice will be screen size, not capability)
- no M7
- same 8MB camera as iPhone 5
- is slightly larger than last year's mini (you can't have it all, but if you want retina in a 7" package, you'll take the big battery)

iPad mini - drops to $299
- surprise, gets a bump to A6 and camera bump too (ends the 'this is last year's mini' argument)
- consumer choice for this unit is basically the price and size combination in exchange for lack of retina

(if they don't bump the specs, the price will have to drop further to compensate)

Longshot prediction (perhaps 5 months too early)
- a big 'iPad in the enterprise' presentation
- "a lot more to cover" keyboard cover on a larger enterprise iPad
- new keyboard cover, new 12.2" iPad, Touch ID
- new upgraded iWork 2013

"… gets a bump to A6 and camera bump too (ends the 'this is last year's mini' argument) …"

If it has an A6, then it's "last year's internals" by definition. If all Apple can do for the mini (arguably one of the most popular products it has ever made), is give it last years' crap internals at the same relatively high price, then Apple is pretty much finished as a company to emulate in terms of product quality.

It's not that cheap. It's not that much cheaper than the full iPad and it uses less material to justify that lower price. There is no reason in the world that the iPad mini should suffer any lesser internals than the flagship product and no reason why it should be higher priced.

It needs to be an A7 or A7X, it needs to have TouchID, and it needs to be the same price as last year's mini to be a credible product at all. They probably have to have retina just because so many whiners seemingly can't live without it, but that requirement comes about only because Apple is a victim of it's own hype over retina.

If they were smart, they would make a non-retina version for $100 less than the retina and kill the market with the best $249 or so tablet ever made. There is a huge market out there that doesn't care about the "rich corinthian leather" (retina) and just wants a working computer for a good price.

I think you may have missed that I have 2 minis in my line-up, one retina, and an improved non-retina version. Many others have suggested leaving last year's mini in the line-up 'as is', I'm suggesting it gets upgraded, but not quite to the same spec as the retina version. It gives the buyer a reason to 'walk up the product line' even if they are mixed regarding retina.

Don't forget that more pundits than I care to mention strongly suggested that last year's mini was going to be priced at $199 to $249 -- they missed by a long shot and as you mentioned, it was 'one of the most popular products ever' despite being priced far higher than these Apple friendly experts predicted.

Another factor to think about, there is no point to losing margin with a low price and being unable to meet market demand. The price elasticity curve has a sweet spot that is usually higher than most people would guess. Apple has the demand data and knows their production capability -- we don't. Pricing a new retina mini at a point where they need to be able to ship 20 million in a quarter to meet demand doesn't make sense if they can only manufacture 10 million.

I agree there is a large contingent of buyers who don't care or even notice retina and therefore keeping both in the line-up is necessary. For me retina to non-retina is huge and I will never buy a non-retina device. As Rene says, it's like running "sandpaper across my eyes". I'd happily pay $100 to avoid that.

This is precisely the reason why I didn't buy the new MacBook Airs. I have the older one, but retina is a must in this day and age. I'd even consider upgrading to a MacBook Pro if Apple offers. It's still kind of a contentious issue for me because I really do appreciate the thinness of the Air.

Retina + thin + long battery life = The ultimate Apple product.

I like the idea of a Retina on the new iPad Mini but would not buy one if Apple decides to add the fingerprint scanner. I would prefer not to volunteer by personal details to the NSA and GCHQ, anyone who thinks that their fingerprints won't be stored on some government database has clearly been asleep for the last year.

You don't have to program the fingerprint function. You can use it with no password or you can with password only. As long as you do not program it; it defaults the other options.

I'm exactly the opposite: I don't really care about Retina, but I want Touch ID on everything I own. LOVE it on my 5S!

CNBC video clip at the ends said that "Apple might treat the iPad Mini Retina as a flagship device". So that means it may be the same components inside as the iPad 5! I hope this is the case; since I willing to spend the same amount on the iPad Mini Retina as the iPad 5! Maybe even a bit more for the iPad Mini Retina since it is smaller size.