Poll: would you buy a non-Retina iPad mini?

By , Oct 8, 2012

With the successful iPhone 5 launch now behind us, the rumor-mill has turned its attention to another looming Apple product: a smaller, lighter, sexier and more affordable mini iPad. The obligatory people with knowledge of the situation are dutifully churning out speculative reports on a daily basis (iDB typically brings you a smaller selection of stories we think are worth your attention).

As various plugged-in sources have increasingly been leaking alleged parts left and right, we’ve come to the point where one could pretty accurately predict the form factor (a 7.85-inch display), the design (think slick) and how much it’s gonna cost ($249-$299).

That being said, the biggest unknown of a mass market iPad remains a screen resolution and to many early adopters this is the sole determining factor in the purchase decision process…

According to Apple, a display can be filed as Retina when the human eye is unable to discern the individual pixels. In the case of iPhones, which are typically held at ten inches away, this means at least 320 pixels per inch.

For the iPad, Retina means at least 264 pixels per inch because a 9.7-inch device is typically operated at 15 inches away.

A 7.85-inch iPad mini would be comfortably held somewhere between 10 and 15 inches away. Consequentially, for its display to class as Retina it’d have have to sit somewhere in between the 2,048-by-1,536 Retina display on the third-gen iPad and the iPad 2’s 1024-by-768 non-Retina display.

Another important piece of the puzzle to factor in: a chip powering the iPad mini.


iPad mini renditions by designer Martin Hajek.

Past rumors largely suggested Apple could re-use the iPad 2 components, including its A4 processor. If true, a Retina iPad mini is out of the question as the A4 package lacks the oomph needed to comfortably drive anything beyond the 1024-by-768 pixel resolution (yes, Retina is taxing on the CPU/GPU)

Plus, the A4 is outdated.

Perhaps Apple will re-use the A5X chip powering the iPad 3 and its massive Retina display? Or, why not take advantage of the powerful new A6 silicon that made a debut on the iPhone 5, or a variant of it (A6X?).

The truth is, we simply don’t know and can only speculate at this point.

I do this for a living so I’m gonna buy the iPad mini no matter what.

But what about folks who are sold on the idea of a smaller, nicer-looking iPad that won’t burn a hole through their pocket?

If you’re in the target demographic, there’s a high likelihood you already got rid of your iPad 2 or are planning to do so.

Which brings me to my question of the day: would you buy the iPad mini provided the price is right and it looks nice, but has a screen that does not class as Retina-quality?

In other words, is a non-Retina iPad mini a deal breaker to you?

Cast your vote now.


Of course, you’re free to post your observations on the topic in the comments.

Before I sign off, let me say I’d be very surprised if Apple brought a non-Retina iPad mini to the market as the company’s evidently in the process of upgrading its entire lineup around Retina displays, slowly but surely.

Plus, Retina has become a key hardware feature prominently featured in Apple’s advertising.

A mass market device like the iPad mini (it’s gonna change everything all over again) needs Retina to destroy the Nexuses and Kindles of this world.

Then again, there’s always a second-generation iPad mini.

Don’t worry, the truth is around the corner.

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  • http://twitter.com/ihxclos Carlitos 

    My iPad 2 doesn’t have a retina display and I still love it. What matters to me is the jailbreak.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      you ipad2 is old tech and thats fine but if im going to spend money now i dont want to buy old tech

      • http://twitter.com/ihxclos Carlitos 

        In that case, buy the new iPad. It comes with a retina display.

      • Bob

        Duhh, you think we don’t know that?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-N-Shanna-Bernauer/100002948594321 Thomas N Shanna Bernauer

        The iPad 2 is more than capable to handle all task and games for the foreseeable future

    • Emre SUMENGEN

      +10000000

  • http://www.facebook.com/mitchell.blaurock Mitchell Blaurock

    iPad 2 with an A4? What are you talking about?

    • Johnathan Jennings

      My iPad 2 has an A5.. Idk what they’re talking about.. Lol

  • NinjaCEO

    It’s gotta have Retina, or at least something very close to it (better than iPad 2)!

  • http://twitter.com/MHCsk MHCsk

    Retina isn’t such big deal. I’m more interested in hardware.

  • CollegiateLad

    This will be a hit with children. And I doubt they will care about the processor or whether it has a retina display. They will have hours of fun – And that’s all that matters.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Cannan/100000630162509 Steven Cannan

      Uh I’m a child I majorly care about the processor lol I won’t mind a a5 but a4 uh hell no lol

    • Ben Robertson

      sorry mate but I have to agree with Steven here. I’m a child and I care about the processor. I can see what you mean though, most children wouldn’t care about the inside of an iPad.

  • http://twitter.com/chingoz1 Chingiz Saidov

    Unrelated: I have recently bought an a glass screen protector ( ULTRA Shield). And after a couple months of use i noticed i part of glass fell off. Then the screen started scratching. I HUGE SCRatch right across the screen. I WANT TO REMOVE THE screen protector but the adhesive is one there pretty good. How do i remove it without damaging the screen? Please respond A.S.A.P

  • http://www.GoldenGateDomains.com/ Golden Gate Domains

    I have an iPad 2 and I love it for what I use it for, the smaller “Mini” would be just fine.

    ON ANOTHER THOUGHT ABOUT THE “MINI”….
    I was thinking maybe that Apple may introduce it being made of Liquimetal which they have the world wide patent rights for these devices.

    Reason being, from your iDB article a few months back – I seem to remember that one reason they liked Liquimetal was it could be molded like plastic – thereby saving costs to production. It was also lightweight, scratch resistant and basically all around AWESOME!!!

    But, back to the cost savings, if they can produce this with a low cost “injection molding” method – perhaps that will be one way they can separate this product from the Kindle Fire and others that made it to market first with their $199 price!

    Anyways, anyone got any more ideas on Liquimetal???

  • pawfyd

    “A mass market device like the iPad mini (it’s gonna change everything
    all over again)”

    What?! Why is it going to change everything all over again? It’s not going to be something new like the first iPhone or iPad, it’s going to be a Nexus 7 with iOS, nothing revolutionary…

    • pawfyd

      3 people seem to disagree. Could you please elaborate?

      • Zubbus

        No, I agree completely. Even the first iPad didn’t change EVERYthing. And it looks like this one won’t change ANYthing. They have officially stepped over to having nothing actually new to sell so they turn to their marketing to pretend they have. I have an iPod Touch and none of the other i products change anything enough to be worth buying. What I need now is an android phone. It’s sad to see they stepped down to rehasing gimmicks rather actually try to fight the battle with their competition.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-N-Shanna-Bernauer/100002948594321 Thomas N Shanna Bernauer

        The iPad was and is still a game changer

  • http://granniethegeek.tumblr.com/ GrannieTheGeek

    This is a Tech Toy for the kids. Period! Although I can see tons of adults chomping at the bit for this device. Me? I love the latest and the greatest. The New iPad. But, if this Mini has new features that intrigues me – and believe me, it doesn’t take much from my end -, I will purchase it. But grandchildren come first. It’s a done deal this holiday season.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    umm why in the hell would i buy a new device with old inferior tech? i may as well go buy a VCR also

  • Long

    Alsolutely No, You know what, Which main functions is playing game, surf every favorite website and read the book, Need retina Display. without Retina, Ipads become no meaning.

  • Walcy Carroll

    i would say it will have to have the same hardware specs/speed as the ipad 3, but even if it was just better than the ipad 2 and ipad 3 people are gonna go crazy for this thing. I think it will be viewed as more portable than ever, and very marketable towards women. i would get one of the price was right. I also think it will also give the other 7-8 in tablets a big run for their money. Think about it if someone can get an ipad vs an android tablet especially a really cheap/crap one that sucks, why would you not get a better product. Just saying. Now on the defense of android tablets over the last year there are some really nice ones out there that do have features that the ipad does not..

  • mickey nguyen

    Can there be a sub 300 iPad mini since the new iPod touch starts at 299?

  • chjode

    I thought it was a given that the iPad mini would have a 7.85″ screen at 1024×768. It will be a lower-cost entry into the iPad market and because it uses the same resolution as the iPad 1 and iPad 2, developers will be able to release apps for it immediately. Why are we now talking about a retina display for the iPad mini? It would have to be either a 7.85″ LCD at 2048×1536 (same as iPad 3) or a new resolution and thus further fragmenting the ecosystem.

  • http://twitter.com/rashadnoor2005 R N

    I would by one, as long as its Retina Display and newest *or newer* CPU :), also if they hack a Black Front & Back finish like my iPhone 5 Black :D

  • Eric Armstrong

    I suspect that the people who are fine with a non-retina iPad mini, are currently using an iPad 2 or other non-retina device.
    But I bet most people who have been using the iPad 3 (myself included) would be very upset with a non-retina iPad of any kind.
    I did some comparisons when I first got my iPad 3, and I could barely tell the difference, but after about 6 months of use, the difference is immediately clear.
    Also, iPad 2 has the A5 chip, so your argument starting at paragraph 8 is a little goofy.

  • jose castro

    didn’t apple say that every app had to be retina? so why make a ipad mini not retina ?

  • GaugePrower

    If they don’t use a retina display, their sales will not be as high as they could be. I have a strong belief that Apple wouldn’t put out a crappy screen resolution since the Kindle Fire HD would already have the one up on the iPad mini at launch in a less expensive device. Apple won’t have that… Apple always has to sell a product that everyone will “need” aka want badly enough that spending the extra money vs. buying something else is “worth it” in the consumer’s opinion to have the Apple branded product. Bottom line, I’m almost sure Apple wont leave out an hd/retina display. Apple as a company wins over customers by selling “sexy” products. If there is something out there that already exists that could be sexier at a cheaper or similar price, Apple will out-sexy that product. I’m being repetitive but just trying to get my point across. Plus, Apple’s big thing they’re pushing right now is retina everything… macbooks ipods ipads iphones. I’m surprised the new nano doesnt have a freakin’ retina display with the intensity that they’re pushing these high resolution displays.

    As for the younger generation not caring about the processor power and such. This isn’t necessarily true. Younger people will be playing graphically intense games. Try playing Tiny Wings or Angry Birds on a 3G or 3GS… any kid would get quickly annoyed or pissed off as well as myself. Apple is also the kind of company that sells a product that is definitely capable of running what apps are out at the time. They don’t like to sell stuff that doesnt work… every once in a while they slip up and they do (MAPS) but they hate negative publicity and they hate apologizing for stuff not working, so they do their best to not release something that is a “beta test” to the public. They already learned their lesson with Apple Maps, I don’t think Apple can afford to make another mistake like that for a long time. They’ll lose customers to Microsoft’s new Windows 8 Surface if they keep screwing up.

  • skychet

    With the new iPod Touches starting at $299, there’s no way an iPad Mini will be even close to matching that price. What would a (hypothetically) $399 iPad Mini offer that an iPad 2 couldn’t for the same price? If there’s no Retina Display, good luck selling it over an iPad 2 or new iPad (iPad 3).

  • @dongiuj

    Why is everyone talking about the price being the same as an ipod touch? This “ipad mini” is perfect. I have an iphone so i don’t need an ipod touch. I really see NO point in the ipod touch if you have an iphone ( millions of people have an iphone ). If you have both an iphone and an ipod touch then you are just a die hard apple fangirl and will by everyrhing and anything apple. For me the ipad is a little too big for my liking but I would like a tablet therefore this “ipad mini” makes a lot of sense.
    Anyway apple hasn’t officially mentioned anything about this. So just wait until they tell us and then kick and scream about the price.

  • Carlos Briones

    There’s no way I’d pay for a non-retina iPad. I don’t believe they will take a step backwards, because pretty much everything has retina now. (iPod Touch, iPhone, iPod Nano (?), Macbook Pro, iPad) I just don’t know how that would make sense.

  • Irene N.

    I’ve been spoiled. I’m too used to the sexy retina display, I couldn’t downgrade.

  • http://twitter.com/mattiebatslayer Matt Bona

    I will never own another non-retina display device from apple. It has gotten to the point that I consider it a spec that is standard now that it is on iPhone, iPad, iPod and MacBooks. I upgraded from iPad 1 to 3 and it was completely worth the upgrade on the display alone for me.

    As for the mini iPad, it is not something that I am interested in because my #1 use for the iPad is to digitally read comics, which the screen for the normal-sized iPad is just about perfect. Having the ability to use HD comics from Comixology is a game changer too. These are the reasons that I voted no.

  • Anonymous

    Whoever wrote this article is retarded. The iPad 2 has an A5 chip, the same chip as the iPhone 4s.