The Retina iPad mini has an LED-backlit LCD screen with in-plane switching (IPS) for a wide viewing angle. It also has a 2048x1536 display crammed down to 326ppi to fit into a 7.9-inch screen. That's the same pixel count as the iPad Air, the same density as the iPhone 5s, and the same screen size as the original iPad mini. (And yes, the same narrow color gamut as the original iPad mini as well.) So what does all this mean for the stuff we look at all day, the icons, the comics and graphics, and the text?
The Retina iPad mini promises all the pixels of the iPad Air at the density of the iPhone 5s. That's 2048x1536 at 326ppi. If that sounds like a screen-dream come true, in many ways it is. Unfortunately, the Retina iPad mini only provides the same, narrower color gamut of the original iPad mini. That translates into reds that appear slightly less saturated on the Retina iPad mini than they do on any of the full-sized Retina iPads, or Retina iPhones. Anand Lal Shimpi ran his usual, comprehensive battery of tests for AnandTech:
Small tablets are back in the news this week with Google's new, 1080p capable Nexus 7, prompting many folk to question why Apple can't do the same with the iPad mini. It isn't quite as simple as slapping on a 1080p display, and there are many things to consider in a theoretical Retina equipped iPad mini. One big one is battery life; Apple won't ship until they've managed to get the battery life to their liking, so we're asking you guys. What's more important to you for the next iPad mini, battery life or a Retina Display.
Marble-rolling games have been around for iOS ever since developers learned how to use accelerometer controls - there are countless examples of labyrinth games and other ball rollers, enough to make your eyes glaze over. One has always stood apart for me: the Dark Nebula series. Now it's back and better than ever in HD, with new levels.
Samsung does make some great displays, for sure, though while they've taken on the Retina Display on mobile, their laptop displays pale in comparison next to the MacBook Pro's Retina Display. In truth, only Google's Chromebook Pixel and Toshiba's new Kirabook can really sit at the same table as the Retina MacBook Pro. Samsung is looking to change all that with the announcement of their new panel with a staggering 276 PPI.
Last weekend it was iPhone 5 displays, now it's iPad 4 displays, and just as before, we have a sensational headline attributed to a couple of anonymous sources, with only the most superficial context and analysis provided far, far below in the body. This time, according to Reuters, production of iPad 4 displays at Sharp is being kept at levels only sufficient to keep the line running. However:
The iPad mini doesn't have a Retina display, and that's left it and Apple open to a lot of criticism. It's easy to say the iPad mini should have a Retina display, but unfortunately for Apple and for us, it's not so easy to engineer. It comes at a cost. I've mentioned that before in passing, but given the press it's still getting, over a week over launch, it bears repeating.
The iPad mini is the first non-Retina display iOS device Apple has introduced since the iPad 2 in the spring of 2011. The iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and iPhone 5 are all Retina devices, as are the iPod touch 4 and iPod touch 5. There's are a lot of technical reasons why Apple made that choice. Lighting, powering, and paying for a 2048x1536 panel would have resulted in a substantial thicker, heavier, more expensive iPad mini. But how much of a difference does it really make?