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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  • 0iron - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    If it's true, it's a NEWS. But still not convincing enough after reading through the tech spec. Seem like only cellular models have GPS.
  • Midwayman - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    Wonder if they are the nicer laminated displays? Pro Motion? Back to premium pricing too.
  • tipoo - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    Laminated, oleophobic, and antireflective, but no ProMotion.
  • Speedfriend - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    Hmmm, a surprise announcement of iPad including the latest phone sof the XS and XR must be well below expectations for them to have the capacity to do this given we have not heard about any increases in Apple demand for semis...
  • arayoflight - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    Does the WiFi only version have eSim support?
  • Devo2007 - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    Umm.... Why would the WiFi-only version support eSIM? WiFi = no cellular radios so an eSIM would be absolutely pointless.
  • sing_electric - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    If you wanted proof that Apple is feeling no pressure from Windows, Chrome or Android tablets, here it is: Apple is so unconcerned with competition that they just updated they're keeping the original iPad Mini's design from 2012, and changing the name of the 10.5" iPad from "Pro" to "Air," and updating the guts.
  • Tams80 - Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - link

    Hey, the design is pretty decent, and it means they've left that 3.5mm jack alone!
  • fred666 - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    pretty lame they are still using lightning connectors
  • Kamus - Monday, March 18, 2019 - link

    Guess I'll stick with my 2013 ipad one more year... not upgrading until I can get an OLED one, and hopefully at least 120hz.

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