Weighing in on a recent resurgence of the old iPad mini rumor, this time corroborated by credible news outlets such as Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal, Apple pundit John Gruber opined that Apple could use existing manufacturing processes to quickly – and more importantly, cheaply – churn out millions and millions of seven-inch display panels for the iPad mini…

The aforementioned stories both describe a miniaturized iPad as having a screen that’s 7 inches to 8 inches diagonally. Responding to this, Gruber wrote in a post over at his blog Daring Fireball (emphasis  mine):

Displays aren’t manufactured at their finished size; rather, they’re made on big sheets, and then cut to size. I believe the iPad Mini (or whatever it’s going to be called) uses the same display as the iPhone 3GS.

Note that Gruber has been right on lots of things, more often than not. He also has some deep connections at Apple and was the first to report back in April that there was a 7.85-inch iPad with 1024×768 display cooking inside labs at Cupertino.

Gruber also provides a little insight behind display manufacturing to clear things up a bit:

So instead of cutting these sheets into 3.5-inch 480 × 320 displays for the iPhone 3GS, they’ll cut them into 7.85-inch 1024 × 768 displays for the smaller iPad. Same exact display technology, though — display technology that Apple has been producing at scale ever since the original iPhone five years ago.

These are displays Apple knows they can produce efficiently and in enormous quantities. All they have to do is cut them into bigger pieces.

It makes sense to use existing, mature and cost-optimized manufacturing processes to hit that rumored $249 price point. Besides, Apple’s agility and supply chain expertise – should it decide to manufacture the iPad mini – will prove crucial as it’d be able to quickly put the device on store shelves around the world.

Contrast this to Amazon which only sells its $199 Kindle Fire in the United States or Google that offers the Nexus 7 in three countries, though only U.S. customers can buy music, magazines or television shows on the Play Store marketplace.

Although a recent report by a Chinese news site asserted the iPad mini would rock the same Retina display as the new iPad, both Bloomberg and the Journal specifically mention a 1024-by-768 pixel resolution display (again, to keep costs down).

We believe this to be true as all existing apps would support the iPad mini without any modification required. Users wouldn’t need to sand their fingers down and Apple would avoid introducing a new display resolution that would inevitably add up to platform fragmentation.

Does that make any sense to you?

  • Although it makes sense, I don’t think it’s Apple’s style to cut corners for the sake of cost.

    • smtp25

      Style maybe but happy to do it for functionality – AKA the Front facing camera (how many more $’s for a decent one? $5?), Crappy speaker in the iPad. Plus have a 3GS screen will make a better differentiate between the budget mini and the premium iPad 9″

      • Falk M.

        I’m with your on front facing cameras, they are horrible.
        It’s as if there were the ultimate afterthought, when in fact people CONSTANTLY take pictures of themselves with friends etc…
        I mean… I’d HAPPY fork over 20-30 bucks more for the same quality lens you get on the other side, so I don’t have to think about whether the struggle to frame it sans display is worth it for the particular shot or not…


  • Gregz0r

    Cool story, but have you seen a 3GS display next to the iPhone 4/4S?
    Blacks appear to be washed out. And colours are poor.
    I’d prefer to think that the display quality will match the iPad 2.

    • ReanimationXP

      Agreed, I don’t think Apple would backpedal that far.

  • AMB_07

    This makes the iPad Mini sound like a cheap piece of old junk (compared to today’s offerings). I don’t think Apple would bother release a product that would seem inferior from the get-go compared to its iPhone and iPad cousins.

    If Apple is worried that much about fragmentation that they would use 3GS display tech, maybe they shouldn’t bother with a iPad Mini in the first place if it isn’t going to bring anything meaningful to the market (other than a smaller screen).

  • Loopthree

    Call me cynical, but if this was anyone else (Samsung), you’d be criticising them for using old technology.
    Because it’s Apple, ‘it makes sense’ for them to rip us off with old crap, then charge a fortune for an ‘upgrade’ 6 months later.
    Fanboy Zibreg strikes again.

    • ReanimationXP

      My thoughts exactly. It wouldn’t be like Apple to take a step backward.. though they could still advertise that it’s the “same resolution as the larger iPad”. It’d be easy for Apple to spin that they just miniaturized things.

    • Totally agree with you on this. Apple wouldn’t take a step back, especially after getting the “Retina” display in the iPhone, iPad, and now the MacBook Pro. They know they’d lose respect from doing so, and this company values their image very much.
      Definitely agree on the fanboy-ism too. This site has had a TON of it lately. Yes, this is primarily an Apple site, but damn, some people need to calm down.

    • MadAndronicus

      I think Christian Z is Sebestiens favorite “blogger” 7 out of the last 10 articles were written by him and every article he writes reeks of fanboyism. I wish it could just be Cody, Alex, and Jeff like the good ol’ days.

  • Oh hell no

  • Not going to happen!

  • maurid


  • It’s not going to be iPad Mini but iPhone Mega

  • to me it makes no sense to me for apple to have a retina ipod, a retina iphone, a retina ipad, a retina macbook and then release a standard display ipad mini supposedly

  • That would be less than the nexus 7 resolution and that’s not apple

  • ppi will be lower than nexus 7 and apple prides it’s self in having the highest ppi

  • Chris

    Androyed looking good getting ripped off by apple the way they are going I think they will be losing there touch. Before with all my other iPhones leaving it was not a option but now not really bothered it like owell lol if things don’t changei wil be changing

    • huh?

    • Chris, WTF are you saying?

    • Steven Fake

      LMAO, well put Glenn. Chris buddy, I don’t think anyone knows WTH you’re trying to say.

  • Eins MY

    iPhone 3GS display quality is shite by 2012 (and onwards) standard

    Even Asus can put high quality IPS display with 1280×800 in Nexus 7, and how can expect Apple will put much crappier display with lower resolution?

  • sn0wbaLL


  • I can’t see 7 inch tablets ever dominating the market.

  • Steven Fake

    Not on your life buddy!

  • I know this is going to be pretty random, but i just purchased my very first iPad! Can’t wait to get it! Tracking info says it will be here Monday.