Soon after Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) released its new iPad mini with Retina display on Tuesday, the tech researchers at iFixit began the process of disassembling the device in order to discover the hardware behind the hype. Here is what has changed and what has stayed the same in Apple’s latest compact tablet.
Obviously, the biggest change over the previous iPad mini model is the Retina display. According to unnamed industry sources cited by Korea’s ETNew, both LG Display (NYSE:LPL) and Sharp encountered some production problems with the iPad mini’s Retina display. However, it appears that LG Display was able to overcome its issues, since the researchers at iFixit found an LG display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 in the iPad mini they disassembled. According to iFixit, the Retina display is powered by a Parade LCD driver similar to the one found in the larger iPad Air.
Apple also upgraded the battery along with the display in the new iPad mini. As seen in the video below, the iFixit researchers discovered that Apple’s latest iPad mini model comes with a larger 24.3 Whr battery, compared to the 16.3 Whr battery found in the original iPad mini. Although the larger battery makes the new iPad mini 0.3 millimeters thicker than its predecessor, it doesn’t give the device any extra battery life, because the Retina display also requires more power.
The iPad mini’s display and battery weren’t the only components to be upgraded. The iFixit researchers also confirmed that the iPad mini with Retina display comes equipped with the same 1.29 gigahertz version of the A7 chip that is found in the iPhone 5S, rather than the 1.4 gigahertz version that is found in the iPad Air. The iPad mini with Retina display also includes the M7 motion coprocessor and the same STMicroelectronics (NYSE:STM) accelerometer/gyroscope that is found in the iPad Air.
The iFixit researchers also found an interesting design change inside the Wi-Fi version of Apple’s iPad mini with Retina display. Typically, the Wi-Fi-only versions of the iPad mini would have a blank space at the end of the logic board where the cellular chips for the cellular versions of the device would be installed. However, the Wi-Fi versions of the iPad mini with Retina display have a hole cut out on this portion of the logic board. The researchers at iFixit speculated that this was done by Apple in order to reduce the overall weight of the device. However, due to the larger battery and Retina display, the new iPad mini still weighs 19 grams more than the original iPad mini.
One component that hasn’t changed in the new iPad mini with Retina display is the camera. Like the original iPad mini, the latest model is also equipped with a 1.2 megapixel FaceTime camera and a 5 megapixel rear iSight camera. Although Apple’s newest iPad mini is expected to be even more popular than the iPad Air this holiday shopping season, market research firm IHS iSuppli has predicted that supplies will be “ridiculously tight in the fourth quarter.”
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