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Jan 25, 2019

iPad mini has the shortest turn around of any iOS device ever, at least up until that time. Apple went from not making one to scheduling one to ship on a dime.

Luckily, the software teams discovered that the existing 9.7-inch iPad interface, shrunk down to 7.9-inches, with the density increasing from the iPad’s 132 ppi to the iPhone’s 163 ppi — remember, these were the days before Retina — kept it completely usable.

That wasn’t the result of any careful, multi-year planning to re-use existing screen fabs or save on UI work, it was simply the karma of solid, practical past choices creating opportunities for smart, efficient future choices.

Combined with the next-generation, size-bezel-slimmed design language Jony Ive and the ID team had been working on, and the new Lightning port the platform technologies team had been developing, for the full-sized iPad, and the teams once again managed to do the impossible — turn around and ship the iPad mini in record time.

And, in 2012, it enjoyed a good amount of success, especially back in the days before big and bigger screen iPhones, Plus and now Max models that might as well be tiny tablets in their own rights. It pushed down iPad ASP — the average selling prices financial analysts often cite when commenting on market health in lieu of any deep product knowledge. But some customers really loved it.

In 2013, it went retina with iPad mini 2, in 2014, it got Touch ID with iPad mini 3, and in 2015 it finally got the laminated display and A8 processor… of the previous year’s iPad Air 2. But without the benefit of any keynote time, other than a pricing slide.

Because iPad Pro had come, with a 12.9-inch display, Apple Pencil, and an average selling price that would make Wall Street beam a little again. At least for a while.

And, since then, nothing. Nothing and more nothing. Until now.