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Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 04:20 pm PT (07:20 pm ET)

How Apple made the iPad mini 23% thinner and 53% lighter

Apple's new iPad mini delivers the same resolution as iPad 2 in a smaller 7.9 inch form factor that's two thirds the price of the latest iPad. Here's a look at how the company accomplished this feat.


Apple closes space between iPod touch and iPad



Last year, it appeared more likely that Apple would make the iPod touch larger than reducing the size of the iPad. But this year, the company did both, expanding the Retina Display iPod touch (along with iPhone 5) vertically to achieve a 1136x640, 16:9 widescreen display ratio, and one month later, scaling the iPad down, maintaining its 4:3 screen ratio and original 1024x768 resolution.

This effectively gives Apple two very different new devices with nearly the same pixel count and very similar prices: the 4 inch iPod touch ($299/32GB and $399/64GB) and 7.9 inch iPad mini (16GB/$329; 32GB/$429; 64GB/$529; each with a 4G LTE cellular option for $130 more).



These two new devices, along with the refreshed "iPad with Retina Display" (iPad 4), are also being sold alongside last year's iPod touch and iPad 2, which provide a lower screen resolution on a slightly smaller screen, and the same resolution on a bigger screen, respectively.

Closely associated design cues with iPod touch



While Apple makes no effort to call its iPod touch a "tablet," or otherwise associate it with the expanding iPad line, the company's new iPad mini looks like a very close relation. Both new models adopt the same "mono-crystalline diamond-cut" chamfer that gives it a dazzling edge, unlike any other iPad model (including the refreshed iPad 4).





The front bezel of the iPad mini is also narrower on either side like the iPod touch (and unlike other iPad models), something that Apple notes is "designed to give you the maximum amount of screen in the minimum amount of space."



This isn't just a hardware change; Apple adapted also iOS so the new iPad mini "intelligently recognizes whether your thumb is simply resting on the display or whether you’re intentionally interacting with it."