The iPad Mini 2 release date is expected in the coming months, likely coinciding with the release of the iPad 5. The upcoming launch of the second-generation iPad Mini will be the first time Apple upgrades the innovative miniature tablet since the original device was introduced in October 2012.

Since the rumored iPad Mini 2 release date falls ahead of the holiday season, will the updated tablet be the better choice for consumers during prime shopping season? Let's compare the iPad Mini 2 with its predecessor based on reported specs.

iPad Mini 2 vs. iPad Mini Display

The key difference in the latest iPad Mini device is the screen. Reports online buzz about the possibility of an iPad Mini with Retina display. The miniature tablet is expected to maintain its display of 7.9-inches, but to upgrade in its resolution. The current iPad Mini features a 1,024 by 768 resolution at 163 pixels per inch. The iPad Mini resolution is not impressive compared to the latest competing tablets, such as the Nexus 7 with a screen resolution of 1,920 by 1,200.

Recent reports indicate that AU Optronics is manufacturing a 7.9-inch screen with a resolution of 2,048 by 1,536, which would give the iPad Mini 2 a pixel density of 324 pixels per inch. In other words, the Retina iPad Mini high-resolution display would undoubtedly be an improvement from its predecessor. If a consumer is using the tablet largely as a media player (streaming movies, viewing photos, etc.), then an upgrade to the reported iPad Mini 2 with Retina display is a fitting choice.

iPad Mini 2 vs. iPad Mini Processor & Storage

While the iPad Mini 2 is likely to include several updates, a lot of the tablet features will probably remain the same, as well. In terms of storage, the latest Apple mini tablet is expected to have the same storage options as the iPad Mini, which include 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models. Apple does have the option of releasing a 128GB iPad Mini 2 model, which would be the only major storage difference, if it even happens.

The current iPad Mini device has a dual-core Apple A5 processor. If the Retina iPad Mini becomes a reality, then the tablet will require a more powerful graphics processor. In that case, the iPad Mini 2 could include the Apple A6X processor, as seen in the current iPad 4 with Retina display.

The current iPad Retina, with the dual-core A6X processor and quad-core graphics, is indisputably stronger than the current iPad Mini with twice the processing power and four times the graphics power. This means that an iPad Mini 2 with Retina display could offer consumers the portable tablet size of its predecessor with power and speed closer to its larger counterpart.

iPad Mini 2 vs. iPad Mini Design

Leaked photos of the iPad Mini 2 and iPad 5 revealed little changes in the design of the latest Apple tablets. In fact, iPad Mini 2 photo leaks show an upcoming iPad 5 mirroring many of the design cues of the current iPad Mini, with thinner and lighter bezels.

The iPad Mini 2 design could feature a few tweaks, though. First off, rumors cite a slimmer case for the latest tablet. Additionally, Apple could make a change in materials used in the front glass and bezel of the iPad Mini tablet. Overall, though, the design changes in the mini tablet are unlikely to be great enough to be a determining factor in device choice.

iPad Mini 2 vs. iPad Mini Price

The current iPad Mini prices start at $329 for the 16GB variant model with only WiFi. For an additional 16GB of storage the tablet price goes up $100, respectively. The new iPad Mini 2 will likely cost the same as its predecessor.

If the prices for both the iPad Mini devices are matched, the reported Retina iPad Mini will probably be the better tablet choice for that screen size. Overall, the rumored iPad Mini 2 high-resolution display, slimmer body and powerful processor create a miniature tablet ideal for the gaming and media market. However, if consumers recently purchased a new iPad Mini and rarely use it for media playing, an upgrade may not be critical. What do you think of the reported iPad Mini 2 tablet?