What to expect when you’re expecting an iPad Mini

Acolytes prepare for a ritual sacrifice of Renminbi at a newly-opened Apple store in Beijing.
Acolytes prepare for a ritual sacrifice of Renminbi at a newly-opened Apple store in Beijing.
Image: AP / Andy Wong
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Here’s the consensus of all the rumors about the iPad Mini–or whatever Apple chooses to call the 7-inch tablet it’s expected to unveil later today.

Remember when reviewers dismissed the iPad by saying that it was like an iPhone, but big? We’re hearing the same charges now: The iPad Mini is just a smaller iPad. Or a bigger iPod Touch! It hardly matters. As usual, Apple will probably sell as many of them as it can make.

Apple’s strategy on the iPad Mini seems to be the same one it applied to the iPod: Offer a hit device in every possible size, at every possible price point, completely saturating the market so that its competitors are left choking on their own overstock.

The rumored specs:

  • $329 for the base model
  • The screen is 7.85″ diagonally, which means it has 40% more pixels than its closest competitors, Google’s Nexus 7, Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, and the bazillions of generic 7″, Android-powered tablets that are being produced in China these days.
  • The display is higher resolution than the iPad 2, but not as high as that of the iPad 3*
  • You can get it in any color you like, as long as that color is black or white.
  • It has a “lightning” port that renders all previous connectors useless.
  • It has a rear-facing camera.
  • The more expensive version comes can access the web at any time via a cellular network.
  • Because of the slim bezel around the edge of the iPad Mini, it looks much more like a big iPod touch than a small iPad.
  • It’s thin and light, so you can hold it comfortably in one hand while reading, watching, etc.

*A screen resolution of 1,024 × 768 would be the same as that of the original iPad and iPad 2 but squeezed into a smaller, 7.85″ diagonal screen, which gives it the same effective resolution as every iPhone and iPod Touch before the retina display was added to the iPhone 4. That’s an effective resolution of 163 pixels per inch, versus a retina display’s 264 pixels per inch.