Apple Announces New iPad Air and iPad Mini

Posted on March 18, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in iOS with 83 Comments

Apple this morning announced a new 10.5-inch iPad Air, which oddly doesn’t replace the 9.7-inch iPad, and a new iPad Mini. Both products support Apple Pencil, but it’s the old version, not the one that shipped along with the new iPad Pros. Both also feature dated designs with big bezels.

“iPad continues to provide magical new experiences for a growing range of uses where it is the absolute best device, from playing games in augmented reality to note-taking and drawing with Apple Pencil, from streaming HD movies and editing 4K films to learning to develop apps with Swift Playgrounds,” Apple’s Phil Schiller allegedly said. “Today the iPad family takes two big leaps forward with an all-new 10.5-inch iPad Air that brings high-end size, features and performance at a breakthrough price, and a major upgrade to the 7.9-inch iPad mini, which also brings Apple Pencil, Retina display and the A12 Bionic chip to the many customers that love its compact size.”

The new iPad Air augments last year’s 9.7-inch iPad, which remains in-market. It ups the screen size a bit to 10.5-inches and features an A12 Bionic chip, which is a big upgrade over the A10 Fusion chip found in its predecessor. Even better, the new display supports Apple’s excellent True Tone technology. The new iPad Air is compatible with Apple’s Smart Keyboard, suggesting that it may actually be replacing the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. It starts at $500 for a Wi-Fi-only model or $630 for versions with cellular data support. (The 9.7-inch iPad now starts at $330.)

The long-awaited new iPad Mini is perhaps a bit more interesting: It also features an A12 Bionic chip and True Tone, but in a smaller, 7.9-inch form factor that appears to be identical to its dated predecessor. The new iPad Mini starts at $400 for a Wi-Fi-only model, or $530 for Wi-Fi + cellular. Both will be available for purchase this week.

Both new iPads support the first-generation Apple Pencil, which is curious since Apple has shipped a superior second-generation version for its iPad Pro devices. This first-gen Apple Pencil still costs $100 for some reason.

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