The report comes from notorious Apple rumor supplier DigiTimes. Although the paper’s track record on “insider” Apple news is questionable, it’s had some successes lately, correctly predicting Apple’s move to retina displays in the company’s MacBook line.
Given Apple’s overall move to high-resolution displays, upgrading the iPad mini’s display is a no-brainer. However, given Apple’s overall consistency with iPad resolution — it just simply doubled the pixel count in both directions for the upgrade to “retina” — the only pixel resolution that makes sense for an improved iPad mini is 2,048 x 1,536, the same as the current 9.7-inch iPad.
At the iPad mini’s 7.9-inch screen size, that would mean a pixel density of 324 pixels per inch, about the same as the iPhone 5. While that’s technically possible, it would be the first time Apple has built a screen with such a high pixel density at a size larger than a smartphone.
Other manufacturers have already begun venturing into this territory, however. Google’s Nexus 10 tablet (a 10-inch model) has a pixel density of 300 ppi, and the 5-inch screen on theHTC Droid DNA has an incredible 440 ppi.
As pixel densities increase, however, it bears reminding that the term “retina display” implies that the resolution is already so vast that the human eye cannot discern individual pixels at normal viewing distances. If the large-size iPad is a retina display at 264 ppi, it stands to reason that the smaller pixels in theoretical 324 ppi iPad mini (held at a similar distances) would give no tangible benefit.
With the large-size iPad already a retina screen, Apple appears content to make more incremental upgrades, and reducing its overall weight, as the report suggests, is certainly likely. The iPad will get whipped into shape by losing one of the two LED light bars that illuminate the screen, with the next model needing only one, DigiTimes says.
How much does a “retina” display matter to you in a tablet? Let us know in the comments.
Photo courtesy of Apple