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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  • Oliseo - Thursday, June 20, 2019 - link

    And Google is enough to ditch Android. I used to be an Android fan like you, then I realised my privacy was more important to me than blind loyality to a multinational corporation that doesn't value me as a person.
  • jordanclock - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    Even as a huge Android fan, I can't recommend Android tablets at all for the most part. If someone wants one, I would suggest ChromeOS every time.
  • HStewart - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    I feel differently, I mostly been Apple phone and tablet - but when I got my first Samsung Tablet, I like it a lot and later got a Tab S3 and decided to get a Samsung Note 8 switch from iPhone 6 which started from iPhone 3.

    I would not consider a ChromeOS device - it just a waste of Power for such device. One thing I don't understand about ChromeOS is why has not Qualcomm power be put on it - it sound perfect on it - why waste to trying x86 emulation on it.
  • ztrouy - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - link

    To my understanding (and I could be remembering entirely wrong) from articles in the past discussing it, Qualcomm refused to provide the longterm support that Google required for the hardware. Too many portions of the stack were Qualcomm specific, and they wouldn't open it up for others like Google to update it, so they decided to not bother.
  • jordanclock - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - link

    ChromeOS is not a waste of power. It runs Android and a Linux container. The UI is designed for a tablet or small laptop display.

    Android on tablets is a mashup of phone UI scaled up to a larger display and UI changes that make no sense in the context of a tablet. Google has put essentially zero effort into Android on tablets. Samsung has done a bit to extend the usability but I cannot think of a single task that an Android tablet excels at compared to an iPad other than being cheap enough that you won't be as upset when your kid wrecks it.
  • jordanclock - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - link

    Also, I don't know what you mean by x86 emulation. Android on ChromeOS runs x86 apps. There is no emulation.
  • Tams80 - Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - link

    A blown up phone UI works fairly well on the average sized tablet. Not to mention that a fair number of developers have made apps that scale well.
    A shrunk down desktop environment is horrible. Usable with a stylus, but below 10" not fun.
  • Wasabi_Vengeance - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    Really? Because you're pretty much guaranteed 4+ years of security updates for an iPad, vs android tablets where you're lucky to get 2 years. And after 2 years, an A12-based tablet is still likely to be faster than the newest android tablets.
  • abufrejoval - Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - link

    That's why you need an open platform to use Custom ROMs.

    I have a Nexus 10 that recently celebrated its 6th birthday and launched on Jelly Beans while it is now running Oreo while I'm pretty sure it will get a Pie or even a Q.

    Sure, it's not super fast (never was a gaming device), but great for reading books, movies and surfing (Opera!) and on its second easily exchanged OEM battery it still lasts way more hours than I need.

    I even used it as a desktop replacement with BT keyboard and mouse when I was in hospital a couple of years ago and whenever it ran out of steam locally, I just switched to an RDP session running on my home PC.

    Best of all, it still has an honest-to-God micro-HDMI connector so I could hook it up to the TV for watching movies.
  • XVIIONE - Monday, December 30, 2019 - link

    Funny, my Nexus 7 lost support at Marshmallow and even Lineage OS doesn’t support the Nexus 7(2013) so I am stuck at Nougat and apps hardly work well. Pretty sure the Nexus 10 lost support the same time. I got a iPad Mini 2019 as the Micro-USB port died and I can tell you, I tried the Android tablets first but nothing was as good in the size range full stop.

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