With iPad mini introducing a brand new set of dimensions for case manufacturers, most have not been as quick as with previous iPad launches to get products on the market. In the first couple of weeks of the product’s launch, only a handful of well-known accessory makers were taking orders, and we unfortunately saw many cheap 7-inch Android cases repurposed and sold as iPad mini compatible.
Apple’s new Lightning connector standard was of course another hurdle, and means there are not nearly as many available third-party docks, keyboards, adapters, etc., as iOS device owners have come to expect.
Below, we have put together a guide to the best of the best iPad mini accessories we could find that are currently available to order and shipping before the holidays:
It’s been quite an exciting week for those glued to the latest out of Cupertino, and this morning it gets better. As promised, Apple made the iPad mini available on its website for pre-order. The .68-pound tablet that is “thinner than a pencil” offers users a 7.9-inch experience on top of Apple’s traditional iOS. Apple is offering the iPad mini at $329 for 16GB, $429 for 32GB, and $529 for 64GB. Apple plans to ship the first batch to customers Nov. 2 and will make it available in-store at 8AM.
For those who want to get the iPad mini with 4G capabilities added on, they’ll have to do a bit of waiting. For the same storage capacity options as the Wi-Fi-only model, the Wi-Fi + 4G model will be priced at $459, $559, and $659. Apple revealed at its event this week that orders will ship in “mid-November” for Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint variants.
The iPad mini has a 7.9-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi-Touch display with IPS technology, A5 dual-core processor, dimensions of “200 x 134.7 x 7.2mm,” a 5-megapixel-iSight camera, 1.2-megapixel FaceTime camera, and a weight of 308g.
Additionally, as planned, Apple made the fourth-generation iPad available for customers to pre-order this evening. The fourth-generation iPad features an updated 1.3GHz A6X dual-core processer, 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, and 5-megapixel back-facing camera.
Apple makes available an iPad mini Smart Cover that comes in six colors, including: gray, silver, pink, green, blue, and (PRODUCT) RED. Apple also offers its slew of 10-inch iPad accessories, including a Smart Cover and Smart Case.
Several readers are reporting they had no issues pre-ordering either product, as the Apple Store looks to be running smoothly. Pre-orders are also available via the Apple Store app on iOS.
On the product page for the new 12W USB charger, Apple confirmed it would indeed ship with Retina iPads. With the new fourth-gen replacing the third-gen iPad—that would essentially cover just the iPad 4. It is, however, selling the adapter by itself for $19 online and listing compatibility with iPad 2, iPhone 4S, and iPod touch fifth-gen and up. Many readers have wondered whether the adapter would allow for faster charging with the iPad 3 and fourth-gen iPad. A big complaint among third-gen iPad users is that the device took up several more hours to charge than previous generations due to its larger battery. Also, on Apple’s discussion forums, some users asked if a software update would be required for the iPad 3 to draw additional power.
When we asked Apple about the 12W adapters, we were told the following:
Earlier this month, iLounge and Macotakara reported that Apple made several changes to its MFi (Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod) policy that tightens control over manufacturers producing accessories. In its report, iLounge included word about a seminar in China where Apple plans discuss its policy change with manufacturers—talking specifically about Apple’s new Lightning technology. Today, thanks to a report by TechCrunch and a picture of the seminar’s program provided to us by a tipster (as seen above), we have learned more about the seminar. The conference will be held in Shenzhen, China from Nov. 7 to Nov. 9 to talk about the new standards.
With the new standards, Apple will have a strict control over the supply of Lightning pins that help power the Lightning connectors that MFi partners could build. Apple will only supply the pins to partners that the company has vetted to make sure its standards are met. Previous teardowns have already shown that what Apple has with its Lightning cables is not ordinary dumb cable technology.
As you can see in the program, Apple has a lot on the docket for those who attend. It will give manufacturers an insight into Apple Retail, how to design Lightning accessories, and the changes within the MFi program. Apple’s engineers will also assist with Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and Bluetooth. Once Apple has approved a company, it will sell them the Lightning pins in volume. According to TechCrunch, the pricing is “very fair when you consider the advance technology.”
Last year, at its MFi program that took place Dec. 7 to Dec. 9, Apple told developers to get busy building next-generation iOS accessories compatible with Airplay and support Bluetooth 4.0. As we now know, Apple has rolled out Bluetooth 4.0 to most of its devices and wants to make Airplay a standard for audio and video consumption.
A new iPhone 5 dock being sold through China-based iPhone5mod.com could be the first third-party product to ship with Apple’s new Lightning connector. Earlier reports indicated that accessory manufacturers would have trouble producing Lightning-compatible products due to a unique authentication chip Apple is using in the new standard. According to reports from M.I.C Gadget and MacRumors, which spoke with representatives of the company, the dock and cable from iPhone5mod are actually using chips obtained from Apple’s suppliers. They also provide all the same functionality. However, the company hinted cracked authentication chips are available and working:
We spoke with representatives of iPhone5mod, who informed us that they are currently using original Lightning controller chips from Apple’s supplier, ensuring proper functionality… iPhone5mod did, however, inform us that they have also obtained cracked chips that bypass Apple’s authentication functions and that the cracked chips are working just as well as the original chips
@JordanKahn Hi, our iphone5mod site is down due to traffic overload, we are upgrading the server now, be back up very soon