Apple Announce iPad Air 2 And iPad Mini 3

apple ipad air 2 and ipad mini 3

As their media event yesterday, Apple have announced their new iPad’s, consisting of a new iPad Air 2 and a new iPad Mini 3. No rumoured iPad Pro was announced, leaving this an entirely speculative, or not ready for unveiling yet.

iPad Air 2

The new iPad Air 2 is the next iteration of the Air live, and is now even (18%) thinner than the original Air. Measuring 240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm and weighs just 437g – 29g less than the original Air. A newly designed process bonds the single screen assembly without any air gap giving a more vibrant display that feels even close to the touch. There is also a new anti-reflective coating to give it better visibility in all lighting conditions.

As anticipated Touch ID has been introduced on both new versions of the Air and Mini, although while it fucntions like the iPhone models for unlocking the device and for online purchases, you can’t use either iPad for in-store purchases with the new Apple Pay system.

There is naturally a new chip to power it all, the A8X, that delivers substantially better CPU and graphics performance than its predecessor. Like the latest iPhone it also has 64-bit desktop-class architecture.

The new iSight camera has advanced optics, an improved sensor and a powerful Apple-designed image signal processor. The front-facing FaceTime HD camera has also been redesigned with an improved sensor and larger pixels for even better low-light performance.

Other minor additions include new colours, matching the iPhone range – Silver, Gold and Space Grey, new 802.11ac WiFi and a redesigned Smart Cover or Smart Case.

Cellular models interestingly now come with an Apple SIM pre-installed which gives you the flexibility to choose from a variety of short-term plans from selected carriers in the US and UK right there on your iPad. No longer do you need to go and get a network specific SIM from each provider, although currently only T-Mobile and EE are supported in the UK.

Pricing starts at £399 for the WiFi only 16GB model, £399 for 64GB and £479 for the 128GB model. Adding 4G cellular capability adds £100 to each price point.

iPad Mini 3

Perhaps the most disappointing announcement was of the new iPad Mini 3. It was barely covered, with a single slide and about 30 seconds spent on it.

The updates to the Mini 3 are neglibile, with the only “updates” being the addition of Touch ID, and the new colour options. That’s it! Processor, screen and camera sepcs are all identical to the iPad Mini with Retina (2nd gen).

Pricing starts at £319 for the WiFi only 16GB model, £479 for 64GB and £559 for the 128GB model. Adding 4G cellular capability adds £100 to each price point.

Bizarrely, both the iPad Mini with Retina (2) and the original iPad Mini are both still available, which together with the original iPad Air and new iPad Air 2 gives Apple five iPads available for purchase.

full ipad model range for 2014

No-one should really be buying the original iPad Mini now, despite it’s £x starting price, unless it’s purely for your kids who want something a bit bigger than an iPod Touch. Equally, the iPad Mini 3 is £100 more than the iPad Mini 2 and only providing Touch ID as the sole hardware advancement. Is Touch ID worth £100? Not really, particularly at this early stage and with the inability to use it for Apple Pay real world prucases only. The iPad Mini 2 is the best buy right now at a reduced £239 for 16GB or £279 for 32GB.

Storage wise – Apple has to make the base model start at 32GB or 64GB next year. 16GB is a ludicrous storage amount for a non-expandable tablet where video content and photo storage and editing and far more prevalent than on an iPhone. Anything else will be seen as the blatent money-grab that it is.

This post was written by Rob Gordon, an IT geek, gadget lover and blogger. Rob has been using the internets since 1994 when the only streaming video was that coffee pot in Cambridge (rip).... Follow Rob on Twitter - @robgordon - about.me/robgordonuk