Of all the iPad mini's drawbacks, the 8-inch tablet's relatively steep price-point ($329) and glaring lack of a high-definition screen were far and away the biggest arguments against buying one. So it isn't entirely unexpected that Apple, according to a new report in the Wall Street Journal, is preparing an HD version, with an eye toward a fall release just before the holidays:
Now, the report does note that Apple "routinely tests various designs and has been known to make changes late in the design process," so a high-definition iPad mini may not actually hit the market. And one of the juicier nuggets from the report is that at least a few of the high-def screens will be supplied by one of Apple's most formidable rivals: Samsung. (The other suppliers are said to be LG and Sharp.)
However, it's worth pointing out that the new version of Google's awesome Nexus 7 tablet was released just last week with an HD screen. Not only is it $100 cheaper than the iPad mini, but it's deservedly racking up rave reviews.
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Mind you, bumping the iPad mini up to HD could come with tradeoffs. As TIME's Jared Newman notes, "It takes more power to handle all those pixels." A Retina-equipped mini will need a much better processor (A5X?) crammed into the tablet's smaller body, meaning reduced battery life. Or you could give its chassis an icky size-bump to squeeze in a larger power source.
And while an HD screen sounds like the most obvious upgrade the iPad mini could receive at this point, 9to5 Mac points to an iOS 7 SDK file that seems to allude to an iPad mini with a faster A6 processor, but no Retina. Obviously, that would be a much harder feature to sell to consumers, especially in light of the Nexus 7's turbo-charged upgrades.
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