Early benchmarks, like this one at Geekbench, noted by Primate Labs founder John Poole, are getting posted for Apple’s new Retina iPad mini and they’re looking pretty good. The A7 in the smaller tablet appears to perform nearly as well as its larger sibling, but is clocked in about 100MHz lower at 1.3GHz.
The larger iPad Air’s A7 processor runs at 1.4GHz and the iPhone 5s runs at around 1.30GHz. The lower clock speed in the mini (very slightly lower) will likely not affect performance much overall. The reduction may be due to thermal profiles which prevent the device from getting uncomfortably warm to the touch, a complaint with some previous models of iPad. Many iPad Air owners and reviewers have noted that the tablet does not have the same warming issues even with heavy use.
Any true test of iPad mini performance will likely not come as a result of the maximum clock speed but instead as a result of how Apple handles throttling the processor both under load and in idle states. This kind of careful power management is how Apple extends battery life and reduces heat. As long as that’s done carefully, and more along the curve of the iPad Air vs. the more battery conscious iPhone 5s, it’s unlikely that users will see much of a difference between the two tablets.
Apple’s iPad mini with Retina display went on sale last night, in a somewhat surprisingly casual launch for a new model.