iPad Mini Doesn’t Cut It For Images

Discussion in 'iPad Mini Forum' started by lecycliste, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. mgpitt

    mgpitt iPF Noob

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    Given the clamour for an iPad mini with a retina display it is only a matter of time as to when Apple introduce such a product. Technically of course it is possible since a 7.9" retina display would have about the same pixel density as in the iPhone 4 and 5. Any yield issues can be solved given time. However, I would wonder whether it would be wise to introduce a new product with only a 15-20% yield as aside from the impact on cost this would be a major bottleneck in ramping the product (from what I read I think that Apple already sold something like 3 million minis).

    Why would an iPad mini that had a spec essentially that of the iPad 4 be significantly cheaper? Having a higher resolution display predicates having a bigger battery and a faster processor. The end result would be a product costing maybe $50 more to build and therefore selling for significantly more than $400.

    I guess one question is how Apple want to position the Mini in the future. Going to a retina display would likely bump up the price and from a marketing perspective I imagine that they wanted an entry level device at around the $300 mark. It may well be that when (if?) they introduce the iPad mini 2 they will continue to sell the original iPad mini (as they did with the 2 when they introduced the iPad 3). Hopefully, they would also be able to shave $50 or so off the price! Personally I do think there is a market for a (relatively) cheap, entry level device.

    Speaking purely for myself I don't feel the need for an iPad mini with a retina display and am happy to spend my money now, rather than wait 6-12 months for something that will be of marginal benefit to me (and for which I would not want to pay a significant amount of money for). I fully appreciate that other people have other needs.

    I don't think it is a question of marketing "winning out" over engineering. All products are compromises. In the case of the iPad mini I imagine that other factors such as weight, thinness and sales price won out over the display spec. It is also possible that Apple was wrong sided by the introduction of the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD. Remember that it takes a considerable time to introduce new products and at the time that they started development of the iPad mini they hadn't realised that there would be higher resolution, cheaper 7" tablets available from competitors by Q4 2012.
     
  2. scifan57

    scifan57 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Believe me, if it would have been possible to produce a retina display iPad Mini at this time, Apple would certainly done so. It would be much more difficult to produce a smaller retina display, with a greater pixel density, due to its smaller size. It would draw more power, needing a bigger battery, resulting in a heavier and thicker iPad at a higher price.
    If it were as easy as you suggest, to make high resolution displays as cheaply as you imply, Apple would have one it. You underestimate the technical challenges involved in producing such a display.
    Apple will produce a retina display iPad when it becomes technically feasible to do so at a price that results in expected profit margins and sales. Producing one now won't do any good if it costs so much that sales result in little or no profit for the company.
     
  3. lecycliste

    lecycliste iPF Novice

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    Apple's competition has high-resolution screens in 7" diagonal sizes in their tablets at lower price points *already.*

    Amazon's Kindle Fire HD 7" has a 7" screen at 216 ppi and 11 hour battery life, priced at $199.
    Barnes and Noble's Nook HD has a 7" screen at 243 ppi and 11 hour battery life, priced at $199.
    Google's Nexus 7 has a 7" screen at 216 ppi and 8 hour battery life, priced at $199.

    Just for comparison with larger-screened devices,
    Amazon's Kindle Fire HD 8.9" has an 8.9" screen at 256 ppi and 10 hour battery life, priced at $299.
    Barnes and Noble's Nook HD+ has a 9" screen at 256 ppi and 10 hour battery life, priced at $269.

    You may argue that these prices give the companies no profit, that they rely on content sales to support the prices. or that the iPad Mini's screen is slightly larger and more costly than other 7" tablets at 7.9". OK, Apple's costs for higher materials quality and larger screen size are likely somewhat higher. if it costs, say, 1.2 times these amounts to build tablets with the same high-resolution 7.9" screens to Apple's quality level, then Apple's cost would be around $238.80.

    At the IPad Mini's $329 price point, that still gives a per-unit profit of $90.20. I don't know what Apple's profit models are, but that's a 27% profit, pretty good for consumer electronics.

    So we have at least three other companies able to build high-resolution 7" tablets with comparable battery life and sizes below Apple's price point. (At least two companies build tablets with larger 9" displays priced below Apple's iPad Mini). **That shows feasibility - it's being done right now.**

    Apple chose to produce an iPad Mini with a significantly lower-resolution, slightly-bigger display and a comparably-fast processor at a price 65% higher than the competition.

    Those are the facts.

    As an integrated circuit design engineer and design manager for 25 years, I understand the challenges of producing semiconductor and system-level electronic products quite well. I.C. development can take many months. I worked with Cisco and HP to supply network interface circuits meeting their product cost requirements for many years.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2012
  4. Talk2USoon

    Talk2USoon iPF Novice

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    Can't compare the Kindle Fire HD with a mini, because I only own the original Kindle Fire. While I couldn't fault the screen for its display, operating it by its touchscreen made me want to throw it across the room. I couldn't WAIT til the mini was announced. Sure I wanted the Retina screen too, but that's the only disappointment. The rest of it is as it should be. I just don't think any amount of expertise equates to insider information when it comes to Apple products. You get what you pay for, and nothing drives home Apple's quality like personally owning a Kindle Fire. No. Comparison. IMOHO.
     
  5. Kaykaykay

    Kaykaykay iPad Wizard

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    I have Kindle Fire HD, as well as the original Fire. The new screen is much better. I use mine mostly to stream movies and read books.
     
  6. Talk2USoon

    Talk2USoon iPF Novice

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    Much better to look at? or operate? I had no qualms with the view, just with using the browser.
     
  7. Kaykaykay

    Kaykaykay iPad Wizard

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    The screen is better to look at -- better than my iPad 1 and 2 for sure. I don't really browse on it, because I prefer a bigger screen at home, where I do most of my browsing, and use iPads for that. I've not had trouble operating it or the original when it comes to apps, carousel and such. I like 7" screens for books, and for streaming movies when I'm surfing on iPad. I rigged my Levo stand so it holds an iPad and Kindle Fire at the same time, so I can watch a movie and surf at the same time, hands free.
     
  8. Wolfpuppies3

    Wolfpuppies3 iPad Junkie

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    I'm a photographer, it works well for me.
     
  9. lecycliste

    lecycliste iPF Novice

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    Power drain is in part a function of pixel and screen size. A smaller screen has smaller pixels, and therefore presents less capacitance for display drivers. That translates into less power needed to drive the screen.

    So an iPad Mini with a 7.9" retina screen would require a smaller battery than an iPad 4 with its 9.7" screen. The power decrease would be less by roughly the ratio of the screen areas for the same resolution and screen technology.

    Using a screen technology like IGZO lowers the power even further.

    Similarly, semiconductor processes with narrower linewidths present lower transistor gate capacitances and require less power to operate. Usually, silicon foundries are able to maintain (or even increase) the k' or gain of individual transistors as they shrink processes. As we go smaller into the submicron linewidths, maintaining k' will get tougher. But until then, we'll still get lower-power processes from process shrinks.

    So CPU and graphics processors designed for lower power consumption in shrunk processes, along with lower-power display technologies like IGZO (Indium-Gallium-Zinc Oxide), will get Apple to an iPad Mini with retina display. That new iPad Mini should also have acceptable battery life and pricing.

    From screen-ordering rumors and my own educated guessing, I'd say we'll get a retina-screened iPad Mini sometime this spring.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  10. thormcse

    thormcse iPF Novice

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    I just talked to Steve jobs ghost and it turns out apple does want to make a profit. He said that Intel, Microsoft, and google are for profit as well. Who knew.

    Tongue in cheek. I love my iPad mini LTE and I will love my mini with retina even more but only because I will be able to see it outside when it's sunny.
     
  11. wrathchild

    wrathchild iPF Novice

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    There is absolutely nothing wrong with the ipad mini screen. I'm so sick of all the Edited by Moderator - please refrain from using disrespectful language here, thank you. out there crying about "no retina display" The ipad mini has a excellent display, it's color saturation and brightness is by far more superior than any other 7" tablet even though it has a lower resolution. I can bet you money if Apple had never came out with a retina screen no one would be crying about it. Get over it already.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2013
  12. thormcse

    thormcse iPF Novice

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    A little testy are we?
    I love my mini as I said, but, I cannot use it much outside. Maybe it's me, I don't have great vision, but I know I can see a retina display pretty good in the sunlight. If you see the current mini in the sunlight, good for your blessed vision.
    (This is where I might put a disrespectful comment but I will refrain)
     
  13. lecycliste

    lecycliste iPF Novice

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    Hi-res screen critical in visual applications

    If you're only doing casual applications and reading/media consumption, then a non-retina screen works fine.

    For critical image evaluation, I need more resolution than a non-retina screen would give, together with accurate color calibration (available through an app from DataColor) and wide contrast range / large bit depth per pixel.

    So I'm waiting for release of the iPad Mini 2, or whatever Apple will call the Retina screen version of the iPad Mini.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013
  14. Wolfpuppies3

    Wolfpuppies3 iPad Junkie

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    To the OP-

    I am a photographer and would never dream of lugging either my mini or my iPad3 while working. Why on earth would I do that? So the weight of either would never be in addition to my equipment which is very heavy. When it is time for show and tell, one of my Macs comes out.

    That was easy.
     
  15. lecycliste

    lecycliste iPF Novice

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    When I'm carrying a 500mm f/4L IS and other gear for a wildlife shoot, I want everything else to be as light and small as possible. The same goes for a product shoot with shorter lenses and speedlight-based lighting.

    I want the capability to review images on a next-generation iPad Mini, as well as the capability to give clients a first look at their images on the device.

    I usually use an older MacBook Pro 15" for this and off-loading memory cards on location, but would like the possibility of using an iPad Mini, iUSBPort ad hoc WiFi adapter, and other pieces I already have for a much more portable solution. Yes, there would be more pieces to buy and keep track of, but the whole approach takes up less space and weighs less.

    Add to that better resolution for preliminary go-no go editing in a hotel room, and it's a winner for image applications alone.

    Do I need all this stuff? No, I could still use the old, heavy MacBook Pro and 500GB USB drive to do it. But since I'm likely to pick up the next-generation iPad Mini for location note-taking and other uses anyway, it makes sense to get one *capable* of doing image applications, especially for this photographer who's starting to need reading glasses.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013

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