iPad 3 vs iPad Mini (rumours)

Vs Paul Briden 16:23, 11 Jul 2012

We compare Apple's newest iPad 3 to the much-rumoured iPad Mini

Rumours suggest Apple is gearing up to launch a scaled-down, 7-inch and possibly budget version of the iPad this year. We take a look and see how it’ll differ from the iPad 3, apart from the size.

Form

Apple iPad 3 - 241.2x185.7x9.4mm, 652g
Apple iPad Mini – TBA

Despite earlier rumours claiming the iPad Mini would simply be a shrunken version of Apple’s full size 9.7-inch tablet, the most recent mutterings from the grape vine indicate it’ll actually have an entirely different aesthetic.

These new hints imply Apple will take styling cues from its own line of portable music players – the iPod Nano range.

In some ways we find this hard to believe, but we really do hope it’s true as it’ll provide a much needed refresh of the iPad design while distinguishing the Mini from its peers and bringing forward something both different and familiar to Apple fans at the same time.

We can guess that if it holds true to the iPod Nano design, the iPad Mini will feature a more angular outer shell than any earlier iPad model. Like the iPod Nano, this could house a touchscreen with curved corners reminiscent of the true iPad’s overall shape.

It’s also possible it’ll come in the iPod Nano’s range of bright colours, which is certainly a good idea to make things more lively and contemporary.

There is some indication Apple is aiming to make the iPad Mini a budget model to compete with Android, particularly Google’s new Nexus 7 which retails for £199.

Going by Apple’s usual standards we think the company won’t compromise on build quality or materials, and certainly Google hasn’t with the Nexus 7. There is the possibility that the iPad Mini could feature an aluminium back panel, as the forthcoming iPhone 5 is rumoured to.

Either way, we expect Apple to bring a device which is light, portable, well-made and good-looking with the iPad Mini.

The iPad 3 is pretty much a perfect demonstration of why Apple needs to revamp its design with the iPad Mini. There’s nothing actually wrong with the iPad 3’s design it’s just that we’ve seen it all before and something different is needed.

The form factor is virtually identical to its immediate predecessor, the iPad 2. It’s slightly heavier and less than a millimetre thicker but these changes are not discernable when you’re using it or looking at it.

Assuming for now that the rumours are true, we’re going to go out on a limb and say the iPad Mini will be the prettier of these devices.

Winner – iPad Mini

Display

The iPad Mini is expected to sport a 7-inch capacitive multi-touch display, but allegedly unlike its larger cousin it isn’t going to have Apple’s acclaimed Retina technology.

Presumably this is to keep costs low, but it means the iPad Mini could instead have a 1024x768 pixel resolution and a pixel density of approximately 163 pixels-per-inch (ppi).

That’s a bit of a step back for Apple, which makes us question the truth of this rumour, but if it is the case it’ll be a fairly average display quality.

Of course, it is possible that Apple will have an amazing 7-inch Retina screen in store, but we don’t have anything of that nature to go on for now.

Which means the full-size iPad 3 is in a better position at the moment. It features a 9.7-inch LED-backlit IPS TFT capacitive display with multi-touch, an oleophobic coating to repel fingerprints and scratch-resistant glass.

The resolution is an impressive 2048x1536 pixels which gives a pixel density of 264ppi – better than any other tablet on the market. The result is incredibly clear picture quality, excellent brightness and rich colours.

Winner – iPad 3

Storage

With previous iPads Apple has remained consistent in its storage and memory offerings. They always come with a 16GB lower-end, 32GB in the middle and 64GB for the top-tier model and this is the convention the iPad 3 adheres to.

The iPad 3 also has 1GB of RAM to assist the processor, around twice as much as the previous iPad. If the rumours that the iPad Mini is a budget model turn out to be wrong then there’s a good chance it’ll follow the same routine outlined above, perhaps including the 1GB of RAM.

However, there is a strong case for the idea that it’ll be designed as a more affordable product. With that in mind, we think around 8GB seems likely for the standard model. There is the possibility we could also see a 16GB higher-end model too, but likewise it could just be the one 8GB option.

If things are on the budget side then 1GB of RAM isn’t definite and Apple could opt for 512MB, but as its nearest rival, Google’s Nexus 7, is offering 1GB Apple could feel the need to step things up here.

At the moment it looks as though the iPad 3 will rule the roost  with a greater variety of storage options and a larger capacity overall.

Winner - iPad 3

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