Today in a surprise announcement, Apple has unveiled refreshes to both the iPad Air and iPad mini lineups. The last releases in the lineups were the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 back in 2015. We had thought Apple had abandoned the models, yet today’s release now breathes fresh air into the devices with much needed internal hardware upgrades as well as new functionality.

Apple iPad Comparison
  iPad Air 2 iPad mini 4 iPad Air (2019) iPad mini (2019)
SoC Apple A8X

3 x Typhoon @ 1.5GHz
Apple A8

2 x Typhoon @ 1.5GHz
Apple A12 Bionic

2 × Vortex @ 2.5GHz
4 × Tempest @ 1.59GHz
Display 9.7" 2048x1536 IPS LCD 7.9" 2048x1536 IPS LCD 10.5" 2224x1668

DCI-P3, True Tone
7.9" 2048x1536

DCI-P3, True Tone
Dimensions 240 x 169.5
x 6.1mm

203.2 x 134.8
x 6.1mm

250.6 x 174.1
x 6.1mm

456g / 464g
203.2 x 134.8
x 6.1mm

300g / 308.2g
NAND 16 / 64 / 128GB 64 / 256GB
Battery 27.3Wh 19.1Wh 30.2Wh 19.1Wh
Front Camera 1.2MP, F/2.2 7MP, F/2.2
Rear Camera 8MP, F/2.4, 1.1 micron 8MP, F/2.4
Cellular 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Category 9) UE Category 16 LTE (1Gbps) with 4x4 MIMO and LAA
SIM Size NanoSIM NanoSIM + eSIM
Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MIMO,
802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MIMO,
Connectivity Apple Lightning
3.5mm headphone
Apple Lightning
3.5mm headphone
Launch OS iOS 9 iOS 12
Launch Price $499 (16G)
$599 (64G)
$699 (128G)
(Wifi / Cellular)

$399/$529 (16G)
$499/$629 (64G)
$599/$729 (128G)
(Wifi / Cellular)

$499/$629 (64G)
$649/$779 (256G)
(Wifi / Cellular)

$399/$529 (64G)
$549/$679 (256G)

On the internal hardware side, both the new iPad Air (2019) and the new iPad mini (2019) make use of Apple’s new 7nm A12 chipset, which we’ve already seen in the iPhone XS and XR models. The A12X’s increased performance thus remains exclusive to the iPad Pro models this year.

iPad Mini 2019

The new iPad mini doesn’t change its design from its predecessor, which might not be to everybody’s liking in 2019 as the rather big bezels do feel a bit out of place compared to other newer tablets. While the design hasn’t seen an update, the 7.9” 2048x1536 IPS display will see some significant changes as it now supports Display P3 as well as True Tone.

iPad Air 2019

The new iPad Air on the other hand does see significant design changes with a slight reduction in bezels, offering more screen estate. The new display comes now in a 10.5” diameter and increases the resolution to 2224x1668. Similarly to the new iPad mini, it also now supports P3 wide gamut content as well as True Tone.

The new Air is ever so slightly bigger than its predecessor, being 10mm taller, 4.6mm wider and 19g heavier. The new battery does increase from 27.3Wh to 30.2Wh.

Interestingly both devices still come with the home button and its capacitive fingerprint sensor, as well as 3.5mm headphone jack (not that we're complaining), so this is probably Apple’s purest hardware-only refresh ever.

The one single big new feature about the new iPads is that the devices are now compatible with the Apple Pencil. It’s to be noted we’re talking about the first generation Pencil, and not the second-generation unit we find in 2018’s new iPad Pros.

Overall, it’s interesting to see Apple refresh the iPad line-up, especially the often forgotten iPad mini. Apple’s reluctance to make any major design changes to the products, even 4 years on is quite odd, but then again if it isn’t broken, don’t attempt to fix it.

The new iPad mini and iPad Air come in 64 and 256GB variants, starting at $399 for the iPad mini and $499 for the iPad Air. The extra storage costs you $150, and added cellular connectivity adds another $130.

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  • BuzzBuzz - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    I wiped and factory reset my Tab S2 a couple months ago and it does help. I wouldn't be able to drop to the 8" myself but I'd LOVE an A12 swap!
  • lightningz71 - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    As I support a raft of Android phones and tablets, as well as related Fire OS tablets, I have witnessed this on many devices over time. While sometimes you can identify the one app that's causing the problem, I'm afraid to say that, for almost all of the devices, the only way to really "fix" this issue is to do a factory wipe of them about once a year, or when the behavior gets too onerous. In almost every situation, after the factor wipe, and OS patching, they almost all have gone back to working like new.
  • abufrejoval - Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - link

    Consider an ad-blocker and Opera. All those Javascript real-time trackers and front-edge analytics packages cost CPU at desktop budgets: It's not the devices getting slow, it's the web giants moving their compute to your device.
  • f4tali - Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - link

    One more comment in favor of a factory reset.

    Just did it on my wife's old mid-range Samsung phone (to pass on to my mother). Up until now I thought very highly of my OCD ability to keep my OSs streamlined, but it was all for nothing. The reset made a world of difference.

    It was so bad that, if ever I picked up the phone for a quick search or something, I'd ask the wife: How have you not thrown this thing straight at my head?
    (Seeing as I was the one who bought it for her)

    Oh, and a big thank you to one of the comments above for the Opera+AB suggestion
  • jOHEI - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    Yes, specially the Tab S5e is 400$ 4GB/64GB with a sd670, 100$ cheaper than the iPad Air, but with a better AMOLED screen
  • BuzzBuzz - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    I couldn't agree more. I'm in the exact same situation. I would have liked to move up to the Tab S5 but not with the combination of outdated processor and high price. The beauty of the Samsung's is the great screen + lite weight. Unmatched for couch surfing ;-)
  • lilo777 - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    Why do you need CPU power on a tablet? It's not like iPad can play videos any faster :-)
  • BuzzBuzz - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    Why do you need an A12 in a phone? I stress my tablet more than my phone (multi window on phone is joke but not on a tablet). But I do see where your coming from.
  • Spectrophobic - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    I honestly didn't know I'll be reading that kind comment on Anandtech...
  • Icehawk - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    HEVC playback needs some grunt but yeah this is why my iPads go: iPad 1, 3, Pro no reason to upgrade every new model and with the Pro I am good for a couple more years.

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