What's new
Apple iPad Forum

Welcome to the Apple iPad Forum, your one stop source for all things iPad. Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

iPad Mini Doesn’t Cut It For Images

mgpitt

iPF Noob
Joined
Jan 11, 2012
Messages
5
Reaction score
1
lecycliste said:
1. Apple already uses retina screens for iPad 3 and 4 at 9.7 inch diagonal size, with wide color gamut and good contrast. Yields were high enough to allow those products to be produced and sold to Apple's high profit-margin requirements. Yields generally go up with smaller die and display sizes, all other things being equal.

2. Large die and panel yields can be quite low (15-20%) and still produce saleable product, depending on the process and profit goals. No one likes yields that low, but products can be made. After initial release, it's time for design and product engineers to work on increasing yields.

3. While I haven't worked directly on displays, I've designed products that drive them, and worked on relatively large-die products in bipolar, CMOS, and BiCMOS. Some of the basic engineering and product P&L considerations apply to most electronic products.

4. Apple's Retina screens in iPad 3 and iPad 4 both have large color gamuts approaching 100% of the sRGB colorspace commonly used in consumer displays. The iPad Mini's color gamut is considerably smaller at 62% of sRGB, according to iPad mini Display Technology Shoot-Out. Apple has demonstrated they know how to do it better right now with the 9.7 inch tablets.

5. Apple has access to 28nM and smaller technology. If the goal was to produce an iPad Mini with a retina display, they could drive it with low-power graphics processor and CPU designs in the small-linewidth technology. That would reduce battery drain.
There are small-linewidth processes available with low gate capacitances and high k' Apple needs for high-speed, low-power design at Samsung, their foundry of choice, and others (TSMC comes to mind for this too - I designed in their processes awhile back).

6. I've edited photography for commercial clients on several platforms. To do this adequately, you need a high-resolution display with accurately-calibrated color rendering, large color gamut, and high contrast range. I've been seeking a lighter-weight alternative to a laptop for critical evaluation of photographs in the field. I'd like to use the iPad Mini for its light weight, small size, and apps it runs, but its display isn't good enough *for this application*. Differences between its display and Retina alternatives are definitely visible to my naked eye.

7. Apple's corporate culture was opposed to producing tablets with screen sizes below 9.7" until relatively recently. Faced with the explosion of the small-tablet market, they may have decided to (a) produce a 'good-enough' small tablet to compete (b) with sufficient profit margins to meet Apple's profit model (c) in a relatively short time-frame - before this Christmas.

I have trouble believing a company with Apple's engineering talent and technology access couldn't produce a retina-screened iPad Mini at a competitive price point right now. My guess is that Apple's marketing people drove this one, or there was a temporary yield glitch. Most products are a tradeoff, and the marketing folks may have won out this time.

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.
 

scifan57

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Messages
31,608
Reaction score
13,478
Location
Regina,Canada
lecycliste said:
1. Apple already uses retina screens for iPad 3 and 4 at 9.7 inch diagonal size, with wide color gamut and good contrast. Yields were high enough to allow those products to be produced and sold to Apple's high profit-margin requirements. Yields generally go up with smaller die and display sizes, all other things being equal.

2. Large die and panel yields can be quite low (15-20%) and still produce saleable product, depending on the process and profit goals. No one likes yields that low, but products can be made. After initial release, it's time for design and product engineers to work on increasing yields.

3. While I haven't worked directly on displays, I've designed products that drive them, and worked on relatively large-die products in bipolar, CMOS, and BiCMOS. Some of the basic engineering and product P&L considerations apply to most electronic products.

4. Apple's Retina screens in iPad 3 and iPad 4 both have large color gamuts approaching 100% of the sRGB colorspace commonly used in consumer displays. The iPad Mini's color gamut is considerably smaller at 62% of sRGB, according to iPad mini Display Technology Shoot-Out. Apple has demonstrated they know how to do it better right now with the 9.7 inch tablets.

5. Apple has access to 28nM and smaller technology. If the goal was to produce an iPad Mini with a retina display, they could drive it with low-power graphics processor and CPU designs in the small-linewidth technology. That would reduce battery drain.
There are small-linewidth processes available with low gate capacitances and high k' Apple needs for high-speed, low-power design at Samsung, their foundry of choice, and others (TSMC comes to mind for this too - I designed in their processes awhile back).

6. I've edited photography for commercial clients on several platforms. To do this adequately, you need a high-resolution display with accurately-calibrated color rendering, large color gamut, and high contrast range. I've been seeking a lighter-weight alternative to a laptop for critical evaluation of photographs in the field. I'd like to use the iPad Mini for its light weight, small size, and apps it runs, but its display isn't good enough *for this application*. Differences between its display and Retina alternatives are definitely visible to my naked eye.

7. Apple's corporate culture was opposed to producing tablets with screen sizes below 9.7" until relatively recently. Faced with the explosion of the small-tablet market, they may have decided to (a) produce a 'good-enough' small tablet to compete (b) with sufficient profit margins to meet Apple's profit model (c) in a relatively short time-frame - before this Christmas.

I have trouble believing a company with Apple's engineering talent and technology access couldn't produce a retina-screened iPad Mini at a competitive price point right now. My guess is that Apple's marketing people drove this one, or there was a temporary yield glitch. Most products are a tradeoff, and the marketing folks may have won out this time.

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.
 
OP
lecycliste

lecycliste

iPF Noob
Joined
Oct 22, 2011
Messages
18
Reaction score
0
Location
95070
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:

Talk2USoon

iPF Noob
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Messages
32
Reaction score
1
Location
St. Simons Island, GA
lecycliste said:
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.

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.
 

Kaykaykay

iPF Noob
Joined
Apr 28, 2011
Messages
6,970
Reaction score
446
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.

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.
 

Talk2USoon

iPF Noob
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Messages
32
Reaction score
1
Location
St. Simons Island, GA
Kaykaykay said:
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.

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

Kaykaykay

iPF Noob
Joined
Apr 28, 2011
Messages
6,970
Reaction score
446
Much better to look at? or operate? I had no qualms with the view, just with using the browser.

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.
 
OP
lecycliste

lecycliste

iPF Noob
Joined
Oct 22, 2011
Messages
18
Reaction score
0
Location
95070
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.

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:

thormcse

iPF Noob
Joined
Dec 21, 2010
Messages
19
Reaction score
0
Location
Virginia
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.
 

wrathchild

iPF Noob
Joined
Jan 15, 2013
Messages
31
Reaction score
2
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:

thormcse

iPF Noob
Joined
Dec 21, 2010
Messages
19
Reaction score
0
Location
Virginia
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.

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)
 
OP
lecycliste

lecycliste

iPF Noob
Joined
Oct 22, 2011
Messages
18
Reaction score
0
Location
95070
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:

Wolfpuppies3

iPF Noob
Joined
Aug 9, 2010
Messages
732
Reaction score
10
Location
Virginia, USA
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.
 
OP
lecycliste

lecycliste

iPF Noob
Joined
Oct 22, 2011
Messages
18
Reaction score
0
Location
95070
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:

Most reactions

Latest posts

Top