This year marks a shift in Apple's product strategy. Now, the two new iPads are equals with the mini being merely a scaled down version of the same spectacular screen tech and the same high-performance internals. The iPad mini with Retina screen is everything the little tablet deserved to be a more compact equal of the bigger iPad with no compromises made.
Last year's iPad mini was more of a byproduct of the iPad lineup with a significantly cheaper price, a different design and somewhat inferior hardware, the baby iPad was quite different to its full size sibling. Comparing it to its predecessor, the Apple iPad mini with Retina screen looks no different either, but that's until you turn it on. There is been no corner cutting this time and the new iPad mini is more expensive as a result. We guess the price hike comes only to highlight the iPad mini's new standing in the pecking order it is no longer the budget option it is the more portable version of the same flagship product. A lower price point would have also hurt the big iPad sales because the two tablets are not at all that different. The new dual-core 64-bit A7 chipset inside the new mini jumps two generations ahead of the A5 processor in the original. Last season's bigger iPad at least had the luxury of being more powerful but those days are gone.
The new screen is impressively sharp and the new chipset is blazing fast, meaning loading times in most apps are noticeably faster now. The Wi-Fi speeds have doubled, there is a seriously bigger battery inside, there is a second mic for noise cancellation and now you have a brand new 128GB version. The new iPad mini is 23g heavier to accommodate the larger battery, which should deliver the same endurance despite the quadrupled resolution.
Now the two sizes of iPads have equally good specs, which kinda put the iPad Air in a sticky position. It is true that the bigger Air is easier to carry than any other full-size iPad and the slimmer frame helps single-handed operation but there is no avoiding the fact that the iPad mini is the friendlier form factor.