Once upon a time Apple had a big, industry leading product that they fearlessly overshadowed by releasing a slightly cheaper, more portable version. That was January, 2004 and the product was the iPod mini. This is October, 2012 and Apple has just done it again with the not-coincidentally named iPad mini.
Like the iPhone 5, the iPad mini looks and feels almost unreal. It's not much smaller than the full-sized iPad 4, 7.9-inches diagonally across the display rather than 9.7, but it's almost 25% thinner -- as thin as the last generation iPod touch -- and over 50% lighter. Yet it still runs the same tablet-optimized version of iOS 6 as the iPad 4, and has access to the same 700,000+ apps, 275,000+ of which are tablet-optimized.
Unlike the iPhone 5 and iPad 4, however, the iPad mini uses last year's specs to get that thin and light, and run all those apps. That means no Apple A6-series processor, and most noticeably, no Retina display.
So does portability ultimately win out over power and pixel density, or is Apple's iPad mini a non-Retina non-starter?