At its “California Streaming” Apple event, the firm announced a radically new iPad mini redesign with a faster CPU, larger screen, and other features that have the How-To Geek staff buzzing. Here’s a look at what’s new.
Larger Screen, Same Small Size
By getting rid of the home button on the surface of the iPad mini, Apple has expanded its screen dimensions to 8.3″ diagonal (over the previous model’s 7.9″ display) while maintaining the mini’s conveniently small size.
In lieu of a home button, Apple has moved Touch ID to the power button on the top edge of the unit. Overall, the unit features a stylish symmetrical design with rounded corners (in a 100% recycled aluminum enclosure, Apple mentioned), and they still managed to squeeze stereo speakers into the body.
Improved Performance, Pencil 2 Support
The A15 Bionic system-on-a-chip in the new iPad mini offers a 40% faster CPU performance and 80% leap in GPU performance over the previous iPad mini model, bringing it closer in performance to Apple’s iPad Pro line.
Also, the new iPad mini supports Apple Pencil (2nd Generation), which allows you to easily draw or take notes by hand on the screen. That feature alone might make it a must-have for an artist on the go.
Feeds and Speeds
In a surprising but welcome move, the new iPad mini includes a USB-C connector (similar to the iPad Pro models) that will speed up transfers (at 5 Gbps, that’s “10x faster than the previous generation,” according to Apple). The non-proprietary connector is great news for people who want to link accessories to their new iPad.
The iPad mini now also supports 5G wireless for the first time, allowing much faster mobile networking than before. And Apple has also improved the front and back camera quality on the iPad mini. The back camera in particular features a new 12 MP sensor that supports Center Stage, which automatically pans the image to keep the focus on people as they move around the frame.
The new iPad mini will ship in four colors (pink, starlight, purple, and space gray), and is available to order through Apple today, with units becoming available on Friday, September 24. All iPad Mini models ship with the new iPadOS 15. Prices start at $499 (US) for the Wi-Fi models and $649 for Wi-Fi + Cellular models.