SAN FRANCISCO - Apple announced iPad mini with Retina Display on Tuesday, a new version of the company's 7.9-inch iPad with the same resolution display as its larger sibling, the (also new) iPad Air. The company made the announcement during its "We still have a lot to cover" media event, where Apple also announced the original iPad mini will remain on the market for $299, a $30 price cut.
iPad mini with Retina Display
iPad mini with Retina Display was a highly anticipated product, though I'm not sure many people were expecting it to have the same 2048 x 1536 resolution as the iPad 3, iPad 4, and iPad Air. That puts the device at the forefront of smaller tablets, and erases any perceived edge that competitors enjoyed during the last year when the original iPad mini was introduced without the Retina Display.
One advantage of the iPad mini with Retina Display sharing the resolution of its big brother is that apps will work natively on both devices without developers having yet-another-resolution to design for. To that end, all of the native iPad apps already on the App Store will work with this device out of the box.
Apple also included the A7 processor in the new iPad mini, meaning that iPad Air, iPad mini with Retina Display, and iPhone 5s are all 64-bit devices. The iPad 2, original iPad mini, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 4s remain 32-bit devices, so it will be at least another year before Apple can move its entire product line to 64-bit.
The iPad mini with Retina Display also includes the same FaceTime camera on the front and the same 5-megapixel iSight camera on the back as the larger iPad Air.
As with iPad Air, the feature that is conspicuously absent is Touch ID. We'll have more on that in separate articles.
It will be available with 16GB ($399), 32GB ($499), 64GB ($599), or 128GB ($699) in storage. The Wi-Fi + Cellular option costs $129 more for each size. It goes on sale "later in November."
The original iPad mini dropped to $299 for 16GB, the only storage option. Wi-Fi + Cellular is also $129 more.
Note that there are few spec differences between iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display. The same storage options, same processor, same cameras, and same display make them all but identical except for the form factor.
That could make it easier for consumers to pick which device they want based solely on the physical size of the device.