A Former Apple Employee Tells Us What To Watch For In The iPad Mini

paul canettiPaul Canetti is a former Apple designer and founder of MAZ.

Paul Canetti is a former Apple employee and founder of digital publishing platform MAZ.As such, he has a lot of thoughts on Apple hardware and design.

He stopped by to kick around ideas on what the iPad Mini would be like. Here’s what we discussed.

Developers we’ve spoken to are worried about the device’s aspect ratio. iPad apps currently operate on the device’s 4×3 screen, but Apple recently let it be known that it’s growing less concerned about uniformity across devices—the iPhone 5’s 16×9 aspect ratio is a jarring change from the 4S’s 3×2.

However, Canetti suspects that the iPad Mini will maintain this 4×3 ratio, offering the same apps on a smaller display. Apple could certainly introduce a widescreen iPad Mini—it makes for an appealing video-watching experience—but 4×3 is the path of least resistance.

In fact, he thinks it’s likely the Mini will have the same pixel count as the original iPad—just smaller and hence more densely packed. It’s not clear whether that will be dense enough to label the screen “Retina,” as Apple has done with recent iPhones and iPads.

But apps designed for the new iPad’s Retina display also work on old iPads, so keeping the same pixel count will keep apps compatible. The main issue is whether buttons and sliders end up being too hard to touch or text becomes too hard to read when reduced in size.

And then there’s price. Canetti suggests that where Steve Jobs was all about the software, Tim Cook is a hardware guy who will flex that muscle to cut the cost of parts and assembly. Canetti said that $300 would be “competitive enough” with other tablets like Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, but $250 would be “really crazy.”

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