Apple is known for its yearly iOS product refreshes, and while the iPad mini is a new member of the iOS family, it's expected that the shrunken tablet will follow that same pattern. The question on the minds of most people is exactly what kind of specs the upcoming iPad mini refresh will pack. We'll have to wait until Tim Cook and Co. actually unveil the thing before we know for sure, but some references inside of the iOS 7 beta may have given some hints about the specs of a new iPad mini that Apple is currently testing.
According to a report from iOS developer Nick Frey and 9to5Mac, a hidden file has been inside the iOS 7 beta has been found to contain references to three new iPad mini models called "iPad2,8," "iPad2,9" and "iPad2,10" (codenames J75, J76 and J77). For reference, the existing iPad mini variants are "iPad2,5," "iPad2,6" and "iPad 2,7." The file lists the new iPad mini models as being powered by an "s5l8950x" processor, also known as the A6 processor that powers the iPhone 5.
The file also suggests that this iPad mini that's in testing may not sport a Retina display. The references to devices that are equipped with Retina displays, like the iPhone 5 and fourth-generation iPad, include "@2x" code that indicates the presence of artwork made for a Retina display. However, the references to the new iPad mini in testing contain no such "@2x" code.
It's worth mentioning that while this code seems to suggest that Apple is testing a refreshed iPad mini without a Retina display, there's no word on whether or not the company will actually end up releasing the device. Apple (and most other tech companies) often test new products and end up not shipping them for one reason or another, and it's possible that that could be the case with this new non-Retina mini.
Another possible explanation is that this new non-Retina iPad mini is meant to be a small spec bump that will put a new-ish product in stores while Apple continues work on the Retina model. 9to5Mac suggests that this device could launch as a slightly-upgraded model later this year that's meant to simply keep Apple's shelf space warm ahead of a Retina iPad mini (which is rumored to feature the codename "J85") that would be released in 2014. What do you make of today's report? Would you buy an updated, non-Retina iPad mini or would you hold out for the Retina model?