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iPad mini to be called iPad Air and launch without Retina display?

John Gruber also thinks the smaller iPad could be cheaper than iPod touch

The iPad mini may actually be called the iPad Air, have a non-Retina display, and be cheaper than the high-end iPod touch. See also: New Apple iPad Air review: hands on with Apple's thinner, faster iPad.

Daring Fireball's John Gruber believes that the upcoming smaller iPad may not have a Retina display because: "Each new iOS mobile device has debuted with a non-Retina display, and then gone Retina two or three years later."

Also, Gruber says that a Retina display could be too expensive, and could also make the smaller iPad heavier and thicker, due to the extra power needed for the pixel-packed display.

"I expect the primary attributes of the smaller iPad to be thinness, weight, and price," writes Gruber. "A Retina display would make it thicker, heavier, and more expensive.

He also highlights that not including a Retina display in the smaller iPad would help differentiate it from the current 9.7in iPad. "Retina displays are premium features; the new smaller iPad is not the premium model in the lineup."

As for the pricing debate, Gruber thinks that the iPad mini could still be cheaper than the iPod touch, because the iPod touch "isn't just smaller than the iPad - it's miniature," and technology is sometimes priced as "big is expensive, small is cheap, miniature is expensive."

Here in the UK, the newest iPod touch, which was unveiled alongside the iPhone 5 in September, is available as a 32GB model for £249, or 64GB for £329.

Plus, as Gruber points out, if customers choose an iPad over and iPod touch because of the price, it's still a win for Apple. The customer has still purchased an iPad.

"Don't worry about comparing the price of the new smaller iPad to the iPod touch," Gruber writes. "It's a different category. Compare it to the price of competing tablets and to the regular iPad. That's all that matters."

Finally, Gruber discusses the classic question of what Apple will name the smaller iPad. Currently, the web tends to refer to the device as the iPad mini, but there's no evidence that Apple will settle for this.

Gruber predicts that the smaller iPad will be called the iPad Air, like the MacBook Air. His second guess is that Apple will just go with iPad, as it did with its third generation, and the iPad mini is the name he thinks is least likely.

""Mini" just doesn't feel like the right way to describe something that's remarkably thinner and lighter but not that much smaller than the regular iPad," he concludes.

The iPad mini (iPad Air, or whatever it may be called) is expected to be unveiled at Apple's special event tomorrow, alongside a 13in Retina MacBook Pro and new iMac line-up.

What are your guesses for the name of the smaller iPad? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments section below.

See also:

Leaked 13in Retina MacBook Pro photos and pricing surfaceiPad mini rumour rollup of the week iMac shipping delays add evidence to line-up revamp at next week's Apple event


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