One of the most exciting new features of the upcoming iPad mini successor is perhaps the long-rumored Retina display. Apple has been developing a Retina-version (Apple’s term for the crisper display found on iPhones, the larger iPads, and some MacBook Pros), but the company has been reluctant to ship it due to cost, hardware size, and battery-life concerns. Though for October 22nd, it sounds like Apple has an iPad mini with Retina display ready to go.
But, it could potentially have a very minor trade-off: some extra thickness and width that will likely not be noticeable to the human eye. Just like the the full-sized iPad went thicker (and heavier in that case) to accommodate the much higher-resolution Retina display, the iPad mini could slightly bulk up to fit the new display, according to Macotakara. At a conference in China, the website went hands-on with some purported cases for the next-generation iPad mini. These cases fit a device with a thickness of 7.5mm and width of of about 0.2mm wider than the current iPad mini…
The current iPad mini is 7.2mm thin and 134.7 mm wide, making the new dimensional increase hardly noticeable. In comparison, the third-generation iPad grew 0.6mm in thickness over the preceding iPad 2. Of course, it is highly possible that these variances could be due to imperfect information from the case-makers (which would not be unprecedented) or just due to the extra proportions needed to fit a device in a hardshell case. It is likely that the nearly-identical (but larger) fifth-generation iPad design will feature similar dimensions.
The reason that the Retina iPads require extra thickness is in order to fit a larger battery. Higher-resolution displays are more power-intensive, so Apple has to beef up their batteries in order to retain the same battery life as the preceding non-Retina versions.
The cases from the aforementioned conference also indicate that the new iPad mini will feature a re-located microphone on the rear of the device. Besides the new display, we understand that the iPad mini 2 will feature a faster chip (likely a 64-bit A7 variant) and that Touch ID has not been present on recent internal test models.