In a surprising move, Apple quietly released new iPad models, sending out press releases and forgoing fanfare. The iPad Mini needed a refresh and finally has one, and the iPad Pro 10.5 is gone, replaced by the new iPad Air.
The iPad Mini Update Was Long Overdue
Apple last updated the iPad Mini just under four years ago. And while the Mini is the little device that could, four years is hard on any technology. The processor was showing its age a while ago, the display tech was outdated, and the 1.2-megapixel camera is best left unused. Today’s update takes care of all of that, with just a slight painful cost. The latest iPad Mini bumps the processor from the A8 to the A12 (just the sheer jump in numbers dives home the time between hardware refreshes) which should give it a substantial increase in speed.
Additionally, the display is brighter and picks up Trutone, and the front-facing camera now shoots at 7 megapixels. That’s an improvement, but there’s no FaceID support yet. Finally, Apple added Pencil support to the Mini, which should make this iPad great for taking notes when traveling. But the one cost to all this improvement? The entry-level $399 128 GB option is now 64 GB instead. For $549 you can increase that storage to 256 GB, and if you can afford it, that’s probably the best option to pick.
The iPad Air is the iPad Pro Most People Should Get
Apple wasn’t done when it finished detailing out the new Mini. Next up is the iPad Air, and the first thing you should know is it effectively replaces the iPad Pro 10.5 inch. And that’s a good thing. The two iPads are incredibly similar—they feature nearly identical specs.
If you’re wondering what the Pro 10.5 had that the Air doesn’t, it’s Promotion Technology and a better camera. Apple introduced Promotion Technology with the Pro line; it means the screens can display at a 120 MHz refresh rate. The iPad Air remains locked at 60 MHz. Additionally, the main camera steps down from 12-megapixels to 8.
But while you lose a couple of features, you otherwise have an iPad Pro for much cheaper at $499. The iPad Air supports the smart keyboard, has a more powerful processor than the iPad Pro 10.5 inch, and retains the pencil support, TrueTone tech, wide color gamut support, and even sports the same resolution as the old iPad Pro 10.5 inch mode. And it weighs slightly less, at just one pound.
If you’ve always wanted an iPad Pro but didn’t want to spend iPad Pro prices, the iPad Air is the model for you. it gives you most of the features of a Pro for a more palatable price.
Apple says the new iPads can be ordered today and hit stores next week.