The inexpensive, non-Retina, iPad air

The inexpensive, non-Retina, iPad air

While a lot is suspected about the new, smaller iPad Apple is likely to debut on October 23, questions remain about just how low Apple's willing to push the price, what kind display density device size and price constraints will allow, and what exactly Apple will call it. John Gruber from Daring Fireball has drilled deeply into those three items in particular.

You know what other Apple product’s primary attributes are thinness, weight, and price? The MacBook Air. And, no coincidence, the latest revisions to the Air lineup debuted on stage at WWDC without retina displays. We’re a couple of years away from Apple going retina across the board.

I posted my iPad mini preview (redux) yesterday, but for me, right now, Gruber's take on the name is the most interesting. Go read the whole thing.

Source: Daring Fireball

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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The inexpensive, non-Retina, iPad air

31 Comments

Non retina? How is this going to compete with a Kindle HD if it costs more and has lesser specs... Apple is making it to easy to sway me towards the Kindle HD when I really want a iPad Air (love that name)..

How is going to compete with a kindle without being retina? The kindle is hardly a tablet in the first place. It is basically a window into amazon content with a few android tablet apps. If you buy your tablets based on screen resolution per dollar alone, get a kindle. If you buy your tablet based on other factors as well, like app ecosystem etc., then you'll do well to get something like an "iPad Air".

I'm thinking movies, e-reading and web browser perhaps games as well. What else should i be doing with this thing. For me productivity = laptop.

Many of us use our tablets in place of laptops. Yea, if all you do is e-reader, web browser, watch movies and maybe a game or two... there are lots of options. But, that's not a tablet computer in the sense we're using the term.

I've owned a KF and they are a waste of money. I even rooted, downloaded android OS and used it to the full potential and it is truely a POS.

And the Kindle has even less importance outside of the US which is where this would also sell very well. It is the first small tablet worth anything outside of the US.

Yes, and Rene seems to be one of the few journalists that get this... maybe because he's outside the US. :) If I weren't able to have a US Amazon account, I'd probably not thing Amazon is all that great either. That is one huge advantage Apple will have in books if they ever get their app up to speed (features and multi-platform) and get a decent selection.

iPad Air might be more appropriate, but iPad mini is language agnostic and people everywhere will understand what the product is.

Tell me something, if the ipad air/mini will show the same amount of details as the larger ipad, without retina display, isnt it going to be harder to read? Seeing that the graphics are going to be that much smaller, wont we need higher pixels to compensate so our eyes dont fatigue trying to read the same info? I understand the price thing, but not sure that this new ipad without the retina display is such a good idea, especially if they plan to market these things to students or people who love to read in general. 163dpi seems a tad low to me, if we going to have the same viewing surface like the regular ipad.

Well, I have an iPad 2 and it causes no eye fatigue. The mini would have the same resolution, just shrunk a bit, so the dpi will be higher (making the text look more like the Retina display, actually). However, it will also be a bit smaller. That could cause some eye strain for some... though you can usually increase the text size for e-readers or web sites. The main problem would be with apps that use really small text, which would then be even smaller.

For example, 163 dpi would be higher than most of the stuff Apple made pre-Retina... or the display on my desktop I'm writing this on. People have survived quite fine for decades without Retina displays. It's a nice feature, but hardly a must-have, IMO.

Ok kool....but apps that were redesigned to take advantage of the retina display for the ipad, will those work well on a ipad mini without retina? Or get a better grahics on some of the finer details, we will have to use ipad 2 apps. I am a novice, just bought my first ipad 3, looking to buy another (hopefully the mini), so just trying to understand.

No problem. :) There is no compatibility difference between apps for iPad 2 and 3, graphics wise. The iPad 3 is twice the resolution in each direction of the iPad 2, so graphics and the UI scale perfectly down on the iPad 2. Also, it's the same work-space either way, just a higher pixel density. The iPad mini (if speculations are accurate) will be the same exact resolution as the iPad 2, just on a bit smaller area, so a bit more dense.

The redesigns for Retina just means they inserted higher pixel density graphics into the app, but scale and UI remain the same. Hope that helps.

Ley me say something noone dare says. I find my wifes ipad2 easier on the eyes than my new gen ipad. Sssshh dont say a word..

I'm not sure why that would be. Certainly, there should be an advantage to text and graphics which are less pixelated (more clear and sharp). I'm just saying that I think for most people, the pixel density we've been using for decades should be fine.

Gruber's logic is faulty because it presupposes something that Apple is not famous for, namely pushing down price. There is no indication whatsoever that Apple designs any product with price, and not quality and usability, in mind.

In fact, Apple has always shown that it does NOT care about low prices, pushing prices as high as sales will allow, making it one of the post profitable companies in the business.

Apple is not entering the 7" segment to be the cheapest, but to be the best, and that calls for a retina display. If next week comes and a non-retina tablet comes, I for one will not consider buying it, and I suspect many buyers will feel the same. After seeing retina displays there is just no going back, especialy for a device positioned as a e-book reader.

By being smaller, it will already have a more Retina feel to it (higher ppi) than the iPad 2. But, as I mentioned above, people have gotten along just fine for decades without Retina. It's a nice feature, but IMO, way overblown in importance. How many desktop users, who sit at their computers much of the day, have anything close to Retina displays?

Yes I'll be very pleasantly surprised if it is priced at anything under $250, but I doubt it will be over $300. And Retina would probably make that tough, as well as impact the battery life far too much for it to be as thin and light as Apple will (hopefully) make the priority.

As it happens, nobody really knows how much a retina display costs, everybody assumes it is much more expensive. Apple switched the iTouch to retina, added a camera, and there was no price bump. It was a cheaper version of the iPhone display, but still retina and still very nice. If Apple used a cheaper retina for the iPod Touch they can probably do the same with the iPad Mini.

Yes, people have gotten along fine without retina, until they see one. From that moment on everything changes.

There would also be the additional costs of larger batteries required for retina, which would also be harder to fit into a physically smaller case.

Actually, it's the weight, size, and battery life which concern me more than the cost. Heck, Apple could take a loss on the cost difference, but it still won't solve the physics realities they would face.

I have a feeling they'll call it the "iBook" - it's a name they've already used, sure. (Microsoft did the same thing with the Surface)
I think it fits exactly what this "alleged" device is geared toward.
Plus, Apple seems to already own www.iBook.com - redirects rather interestingly.

They seemed to have managed to make the new iPod Touch remarkably thin and that's a retina display. I wouldn't be surprised it it was retina, but naturally the price will be in the $349 range.
The iPad 2 goes away.

I am positive that Apple will not move backwards in technology. All there iOS devices have retina display. If the iPad Mini does not, then it might compete well with other tablets like the Kindle Fire HD. So I really do think there will be a retina display on the iPad Mini. I can't wait for the event :D