I don’t think you should (“ever”) change content based on the device the site is viewed on. No one should be “punished” or “rewarded” with more or less content for using a specific device.
I’d rather reduce the number of images altogether (26 is quite a lot for a slider — imagine who will actually go through every single one of them), loading time is pretty high, even on desktop.
I’m not even sure if that’s the main reason why the iPad crashes. My ancient iPhone 3 could load the page without crashing.