So what we have got in store for you here, is ’10 things we’d like to see in the iPad mini’. As you can probably tell from the title, this isn’t a confirmed list of iPad mini specs – far from it in fact – it’s merely an unassuming collection of features that would be nice if the iPad mini included.
A lot was made about the iPad mini’s big brother being 4G compatible, and it was a great feature. The only problem was that the 4G LTE that the iPad proper came with was the wrong frequency to work in Australia. So we’d love to see the iPad mini beat the odds and come equipped with superfast 4G.
Apple has been drawn into the smaller tablet market thanks to the likes of the very cheap Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD. While, we expect Apple’s iPad mini to be a class above both of these tablets, we still expect the iPad mini to be a slightly more affordable tablet than previous iPads, and the only way Apple can achieve this is by excluding non-essential features, something that 4G certainly is. In fact, we’d be impressed if 3G was even available in the iPad mini, as we expect it to come equipped with Wi-Fi only.
It was a bit of a shock that last month’s iPhone 5 launch didn’t see the inclusion of NFC as one of its main attributes. Instead, Apple opted for championing its new iOS 6 feature, Passbook, which uses barcodes displayed on its screen, and in all honesty is probably a poor man’s work-around for not having NFC. Having near field communication technology in the nearly pocketable (certainly handbag-able) iPad mini would be a nice and almost Steve Jobs-eque touch.
Apple are likely to stick with its new iOS 6 feature Passbook in the iPad mini, and try and champion that instead of the need for NFC. It’s almost as if this is a mini VHS vs Betamax war developing here. Watch this space.
3. Retina display
We’re into familiar Apple territory now. All of Apple’s new products are coming equipped with stunning ‘retina’ displays, be it a smartphone, tablet, laptop, it’s as if it’s now part of the Apple’s own magna carta. A reasonably priced iPad mini with a retina display would really be giving the V’s to the competition.
This one could be a goer. Apple has always prided itself on being the best in the business and a 7in tablet with a dashing display really would make it stand out from the crowd. It’s certainly not beyond Apple’s reach either as the Californian company has made retina displays for both smaller and larger screens in the past. Whether this feature is included or not will all boil down to what price Apple decides to charge for the iPad mini – if they are aiming to make it more affordable, then you can kiss chance of a retina display goodbye, however if they opt for a more Apple price tag, then it’s a distinct possibly.
4. 30-pin to Lightning adaptor
Once again, Apple ruffled a lot of feathers by changing the data/charging port of the iPhone 5. The reason Apple gave for its introduction was because technology has moved on and it could now achieve the same results with a smaller port as it used to with the old 30-pin port, thus freeing up room in the device to squeeze in more clever stuff. This logic means that the iPad mini would surely follow suit (as probably all future iOS devices will). An adaptor to make sure all old iOS docks would still work with new Apple Lightning ports would be a thoughtful addition. See our Lightning to 30-pin Adaptor review.
It would be a nice touch if Apple were to include at least one 30-pin to lightning adapter with the iPad mini, as without it all previous iOS compatible docking gizmos become redundant. But this means nothing, and Apple is set to make a pretty penny (and the rest) off the back of 30-pin to Lightning adaptors alone, so this very much hangs in the balance. Don’t get your hopes up.
Ah Siri. This feature is a bit of an odd one as it’s something that everyone wants, but those that are lucky enough to have it, don’t really use it in the way that it was designed to be used. Rather, it is used by the masses as a little test to try and catch it out with questions like “Which greyhound will win the 3:30 at Dapto?” to which Siri will probably fetch the latest odds for the race. Anyway, we’re going ever so slightly off topic here. What we mean in a nutshell is, an iPad mini with Siri will be better than an iPad mini without Siri.
There is not an awful lot of complicated hardware needed for Siri to work on iOS devices. In fact, the main thing that it needs to work is a microphone designed to pick up a human voice from over a foot away, something that isn’t beyond Apple’s reach. So bearing this in mind there’s a good chance the iPad mini will have Siri.
6. MicroSD card slot
Apple has been unwaveringly rigid on the inclusion of expandable memory slots in its iOS devices. It just doesn’t do them. That doesn’t mean we don’t want Apple to buck its trend with the iPad mini.
We hope this comes back to bite us, because we’d really like to see expandable memory in the iPad mini (and future iOS devices). However, we really can’t see it happening. Apple has an extremely successful pricing model that is based around the storage on offer in each device, so introducing expandable memory to its devices would ruin a tried and tested moneymaker.
7. Google Maps
The loss of Google Maps is a big deal. It was one of the most widely used and appreciated apps on previous iOS’, but now it’s gone. I think we’re all agreed that having an iPad mini with at least the choice of having Google Maps would be a nice feature. However, Apple and Google aren’t really the best of friends at the minute.
The good news is that if Apple and Google kissed and made up, then it wouldn’t take an awful lot to get a sound Google Maps app on the iPad mini. The bad news is that Apple and Google seem to be growing further apart and therefore Google Maps on future iOS’ isn’t very likely.
8. Flash web browsing
Ok, this one is a bit of a pipe dream considering Apple mobile devices and Adobe Flash has been a complete non-starter. However, the thought of having a tablet with a truly capable web browser is pretty appealing, so needless to say, we’d love to see it in the iPad mini.
Unfortunately, this just isn’t going to happen. The iPad Mini is going to be a less specced version of the iPad and the thought of the ‘mini’ holding the trump card of Flash over its big – and more expensive – brother is laughable. We could be wrong on this but we won’t be.
Steve Jobs himself said a smaller tablet than the iPad would require people to use sandpaper to file down their fingers to use it properly (or something similar). So with a smaller iPad on the way, one would naturally think that Apple has thought of a way to let people use its new tablet without the need to file down fingertips. The most feasible solution to this would be to include a stylus.
This one could happen. Simply because Apple has belittled the idea of smaller tablets for years, and now that they’re about to make U-turn and enter the smaller tablet market a Stylus would allow Apple to have a new feature to shout about while saving a little bit of face at the same time.
10. HDMI output
We all know that Apple loves to have its own unique ports, but wouldn’t it be great if the iPad mini came equipped with HDMI output. Picture this, you buy a movie on iTunes at work, download it, watch it on your commute home and then plug it in to your big TV at home and continue watching it with no added hassle. Very Apple isn’t it?
Remember when we said that this would be very Apple? Well forget it. It’s not. It is, but it’s not. Apple has made the decision that any iOS TV connectioning gizmos will be performed on it’s own terms, which makes the likeliness of the iPad mini including a generic HDMI output pretty slim. It’s more likely that Apple will want you to ‘mirror’ your iPad mini via Apple TV.