Apple is testing a new iPad mini that includes a faster processor but not a Retina display, according to references in the iOS 7 SDK sent to us by a developer.

The references were located inside of a hidden file that lists all supported iOS 7 devices, and the information has been corroborated with details found within the iOS 7 beta operating system itself…

According to the provided information, Apple is considering three new iPad mini models: iPad “2,8,” iPad “2,9,” and iPad “2,10.” The respective code names for the devices are J75, J76, and J77. This points to one WiFi-only model and two cellular-compatible models (just like the current iPad minis).

The internal nomenclature for these iPads follows the current iPad minis, which are iPad “2,5,” iPad “2,6,” and iPad “2,7.”

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 7.23.25 AM

As for what these new iPad minis will feature, the references state that the devices include the “s5l8950x” processor. This is the same A6 system-on-a-chip inside of Apple’s iPhone 5, and this would offer significant speed improvements for the iPad mini compared to the current A5-based model. The A6 chip will mean that users could move around the operating system at a quicker pace, load up movies more quickly, and see better performance and frame-rates while playing games.

From the references, we can also infer that this potential iPad mini model will lack a Retina display. The versions of these references for Apple’s Retina display devices, such as the iPhone 5 and fourth-generation iPad, include hooks to images at a “@2x” mode. “@2x” is how developers reference app artwork that is built for a Retina display device. However, these new iPad minis lack the “@2x” hook, including only references to non-Retina images. Perhaps corroborating this is that the rumored Retina display iPad mini codename is “J85,” while the iPad mini model we have learned about is “J75.”

From the references, which were spotted and submitted by developer Nick Frey, we can also understand that these newer iPad mini models include the same cellular technologies and baseband chip as the current iPad minis.

While it appears, based on these references, that Apple is considering and testing a new iPad mini with a spec-bump and no Retina display, we cannot confirm that Apple will actually ship this device as a product.

Several rumors have pointed to Apple preparing a new version of the iPad mini with a Retina display for 2014, so perhaps the aforementioned faster model is an update to hold consumers until the higher-resolution version debuts. Other possibilities include these new iPad models remaining as an internal-only variant or a silent update (perhaps when the iPad minis are repackaged with iOS 7 marketing materials in the fall?).

As for other hints of a 2013 non-Retina iPad mini update, there has been mixed chatter about such a device out of the Asia supply chain.

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28 Responses to “Apple has A6-based iPad mini without Retina display in the works”

  1. PMZanetti says:

    Apple is likely testing both.

    And Apple is likely to release J75 alongside iPad 5.

    And Apple is likely to release J85 in Q1 2014.


  2. mediacore says:

    Anybody knows the name of those two apps on the photo?


    • WaltFrench says:

      First photo sports the Delta Airlines logo, highlighting one of their destinations. Likely either Delta.Com or the Delta app.

      The second is labeled as somebody’s photos. Facebook, perhaps, or something similar.

      Both seem pretty unexceptional. Nice enough photos for eye candy.


    • acceleratos says:

      Left one: Fly Delta from Delta Airlines (www.delta.com/mobile)
      Right one: Jetpac (www.jetpac.com)


  3. How are they going to pull through without a retina display with the new Nexus 7 on the market with a HD display? Apple baffles me these days with their mobile products.


    • PMZanetti says:

      Because the people that buy it don’t know the difference? Because the people that buy them aren’t making the decision based on that? How are they going to pull through? Do you actually think they’ve sold this many iPad minis because of a lack of “competition”?

      The iPad mini’s only competition is the full-sized iPad.


  4. Realistically, Apple is working on at least 6 different iPad mini designs. There are two designs, one with retina and one with-out, targetted at a 2013 launch. There are also 2 designs, with and without retina, targetted at a 2014 launch. They don’t build a new device in a single year, they work on multiple years at a time, in parallel. They also work on different design possibilities, so that, if, say, a particular critical component cannot be delivered in volume, they don’t have to go a year without delivering an update. There are many more identifiers found in versions of iOS 7 that are not released to the public to support these designs. The other two designs are more speculative- e.g.: testing technology that may or may not be ready in 2013 or 2014. For instance, if Apple is delivering fingerprint scanning in 2013, then in the fall of 2012 there was an original iPad mini with fingerprint scanning in some stage of development.

    At the level of business Apple is operating at, making it look easy (eg: one new device a year) leads people to think that they only work on one new device a year— but delivering one new device a year, without hiccups and with cutting edge technology, means working on multiple possible models for that years device, and then deciding, based on the results of that work, which device is that years device.


  5. I think you are wrong with your assumption about it lacking the @2x mode means no retina display. During the Apple developer conference, it was mentioned that Apple have taken away the need for @2x mode in IOS7 (and presumable the new iPad Mini will only ever run IOS7).


  6. sorry apple, I wont be buying the mini until it gets a retina display. Oh, and at this rate, maybe i’ll just get the new nexus 7.


  7. makeitso1 says:

    And the new iPad mini will be another loser as compared to the Nexus 7.


  8. rettun1 says:

    A little disappointing, but its understandable. The Nexus 7, with its HD display in a small package, gets around 7 hours of battery life. Apple likely want to maintain its 10 hours battery (iPad mini got 12+ hours in many online tests, like engadget’s) and they don’t want to make a release that significantly lowers the battery life. But there are always going to be people who complain about virtually every Apple product. *shrug*


    • nohands99 says:

      Agreed 100%
      I don’t think I need to change my iPad mini, works great, they only reason I upgrade would be for more GiGs &/or Retina.


    • Laughing_Boy48 says:

      If the iPad Mini doesn’t match the Nexus’ 7 hardware exactly, it will be proclaimed loudly by everyone that Apple is falling way behind the hardware curve. How a $229 tablet is far, far better than Apple’s over-priced iPad. I’ve already read the Nexus 7 reviews and that’s what is being said. Apple the hardware maker is being beaten to a pulp by a software company. It totally reinforces the Apple is doomed meme.


      • rettun1 says:

        Think about it though. The reason Google can have such a ridiculously low price is because they make their money off of the play store and sharing every single dirty secret you have. Apple has to make money off of the device. And the new mini, without a retina display, will probably outperform the nexus 7. The current mini, despite having ipad 2 hardware, is almost as powerful as the third gen ipad. This is just My guess, id say 2nd gen mini will be around the performance of the fourth gen ipad. You complain it costs too much, but if they lowered the price then they’re margins would be tiny tiny and then they would get backlash from investors. You can’t have it both ways.


  9. I can only hope these are just test units and these will not go into production. There would be little improvement (only minor increases in load times for certain hardware intensive games) versus the old mini. This test unit is more of a iPad Mini 1S as opposed to a iPad Mini 2


  10. This is infuriating! Patience with Apple tends to pay off, but not with the iPad Mini. I hope they realize what they could be losing by not producing a product that they should be blatantly capable of making already for the sake of continuing to offer incremental improvements. I hope this is not the case, and the next mini is has retina display.


  11. Why do people expect the same resolution as the big iPad on the smaler screen of the iPad mini. That would make a world record in ppi. Everyone should know by now that Apple can only stay with 1024×768 or double it to 2048×1536 to keep all the apps working 100% And whats realy the point in buying the normal iPad for much more, if the iPad mini had the same resolution and therefore much higher/better ppi? It would need a much more power hungry processor and much bigger battery. Its suposed to be thin and light you know! If youre dissapointed about the lack of retina, blame youreself, cuz its not realistic realy…


  12. Does the iPad mini really need Retina Display though? When I was sent one by Apple to review, I was happy with the screen quality. While Retina Display would be nice, it’s probably going to use more battery juice even though the display looks completely fine.


    • Ezhik says:

      Well, considering that there’s now stuff like that new Nexus 7 with full-HD displays, Apple should really step its game up. Of course, the amount of pixels is not the only thing that matters, but it sure as hell helps.


      • Laughing_Boy48 says:

        You got that right, but Apple may run into a problem of not being able to get a sufficient number of Retina displays if the yields aren’t up-to-par and that’s not going to help anything. How many Nexus 7s are going to be sold? Probably nowhere’s near the number of iPads that will be sold. My eyes aren’t that good and I don’t need a Retina display, so the current display is OK for me. However, the news media and tech pundits will grind Apple into to dust if their hardware doesn’t match Google’s hardware for whatever the reasons may be. All the news media talks about is how much better the display of Nexus 7 is over the iPad Mini which automatically makes the Nexus 7 a better tablet. Non-stop Apple dissing.


      • Tess says:


        It’s the same basic news cycle that lets Apple come out ahead when they make amazing new advancements like the monster iPad 3 Retina screen or the Retina MacBook Pro — cool new hardware is normally going to win with the technology press over the old stuff unless it’s fatally flawed.

        That’s obviously not to say that whatever counts as the new hotness is going to be the right choice for everyone — if it did, no one would have bought a Windows PC in the last 5 years. And just as you’re happy with a non-Retina iPad, there are plenty of people happily tooling along with the 1366×768 15″ laptop that they got for $400 from Best Buy that weighs 8 pounds. Lots of us wouldn’t want anything to do with that laptop if we could help it, but if those folks got something they’re happy with, it certainly doesn’t hurt me any.

        Of course, I don’t mean to say the iPad Mini is as antiquated as that laptop — that’s pretty unfair to it. And aside from the plenty of reasons why someone might prefer to buy a new iPad Mini today over a Nexus 7 with largely superior technical specs (there’s more to life than technical specs), there are even more reasons why there’s no need to toss a perfectly good, working device that meets your needs just because someone came out with something newer.

        But whether it happens this fall, next spring, or whenever, I’m sure Apple will come out with a shiny new Retina Mini with an even higher resolution than the Nexus 7, and the media will be happy with Apple again.


  13. It should be noted that the current gen iPad mini will be the last non-retina ios device that apple makes if it does get a spec bump to a retina display. That would make the 1x/2x nomenclature obsolete after the release of a retina model.


    • Tess says:

      Even if they release a new one, they might keep the old one around to hit a lower price point like they’ve done with the iPad 2. Even if it was outdated, a $249 iPad Mini might be a pretty tempting model for people who prefer iOS to Android but don’t have a lot of spare cash.


  14. kelownadon says:

    Smarten up Apple. I did not buy a mini last Christmas because it didn’t have retina. I sure as hell won’t buy one this Christmas either if it does not have retina. I will have to buy a Nexus 7 instead and Apple better pray I don’t like it as I may never have to go back to Apple again. To those that don’t think a retina display is mandatory, I currently have an ipod touch and an ipad 4th generation, both of which have retina displays. After looking at these and then looking at the display on the mini, the display on the mini looks like shit.


  15. Ben Zeeman says:

    Remember that apple has dropped the use of @2x string identifiers in favor or the Image Assets Catalog. The lack of @2x should not be surprising for new devices that have never seen previous OS’s.