iPad mini 2 release date
Apple has finally launched the second version of the iPad mini: the iPad mini 2 (or iPad mini with Retina display as Apple would prefer you to call it). It has a Retina display and is now on sale in the UK. Here's everything you need to know about the iPad mini with Retina display's release date and specification. See also: iPad mini video review. See also: Apple iPad mini Retina price in the UK and iPad mini with Retina display first-look review.
Apple iPad mini with Retina display: specifications
As you'd expect from an iPad Retina display it has 2048x1536 pixels. That's a quadrupling of the original iPad mini's resolution, and as it's the same 7.9-inch size as before, that equates to a healthy pixel density of 326ppi.
Keeping the resolution the same as other iPad Retina displays means apps can be identical across the iPad 3, 4, new Air and new iPad mini.
The original iPad mini was underpowered as it took the older iPad 2 processor rather than use the A6X from the iPad 4 which was launched at the same time.
This time around, the iPad mini with Retina display gets no second-class treatment: it has the A7 chip that's also inside the new iPad Air. That means it's a 64-bit device, which makes it more future-proof than if it had stuck with a 32-bit processor. It also gets the M7 motion coprocessor.
As usual, Apple offered no extra details such as the amount of RAM but this is of little consequence: the second-gen iPad mini is bound to live up to Apple's claims of being four times faster.
Gamers should appreciate the fact that the new mini will be up to 8x faster in the graphics department, so next-gen titles should play and look just as great as they do on the iPad Air.
There's good news if you like to keep vast libraries of music, videos and photos on your iPad as capacities range from 16GB to 128GB. As ever, this isn't expandable. All you can do is buy a wireless hard drive if that's not enough (or use cloud storage and stream content).
The only noteworthy change is the new dual-antenna Wi-Fi and support for MIMO which Apple says doubles the theoretical transfer speed compared to the original iPad mini (300Mbps versus 150Mbps).
You still get Bluetooth 4.0 and only the cellular version (which supports more LTE bands than ever) has a GPS receiver as normal.
Size and weight
Not much has changed in terms of dimensions, and that's no real surprise as the design hasn't changed. The new model is very slightly thicker than its predecessor - 7.5mm versus 7.2mm but it's the weight gain that's slightly disappointing.
The Wi-Fi version weighs 331g (23g heavier) while the Wi-Fi + Cellular model gains 29g over the previous equivalent iPad mini.
It's doubtful the extra mass will be that noticeable, but viewed against the iPad Air's weight-loss regime, it seems the team couldn't shave off any tenths of a millimetre here and there to even retain the same weight as before.
There's no major change in the camera department, with a 5Mp iSight snapper on the rear (capable of 1080p video) and an improved FaceTime HD webcam on the front - likely the same unit that the iPhone 5C received.
The faster A7 CPU means the iPad mini with Retina display can auto-focus faster and has stabilisation for stills and video. What you don't get is the slo-mo capability of the iPhone 5S.
In line with the new iPhone 5s, the iPad mini with Retina display is available in white or Space Grey. Anyone hoping for a gold iPad will have to opt for a custom paint job. A new Smart Cover and Smart Case has been launched in various colours - both fit the old and new iPad mini models.
Apple iPad mini with Retina display: release date in the UK
Update 12/11/13: Apple has quietly put the iPad mini 2 on sale in the UK so grab it while you can as it's possible the limited stock will be quickly snapped up. At the time of writing the 16- and 32GB Wi-Fi only models will be dispatched in 1-3 business days. All other models will be dispatched in 5-10 business days.
See also: iPad mini with Retina display goes on sale.
Apple iPad mini with Retina display: price in the UK
The new screen and processor don't come cheap, so the new iPad mini costs more than the original. The 16GB Wi-Fi-only version starts at £319 - £50 more than the equivalent original iPad mini.
See also: iPad mini cases and covers roundup