Apple announced the iPad Air 2 today, along with the iPad mini 3, which is the successor to the iPad mini with Retina display.
The iPad mini 3 remain largely unchanged from the iPad mini with Retina display in almost all departments, but the addition of Touch ID and a gold color option look to entice customers.
The iPad mini 3 still comes with the same A7 processor as the iPad mini with Retina display, as well as the same camera.
On the other hand, the iPad Air 2 comes with performance improvements across the board, including the new A8X processor, which is a 64-bit chip that offers 2.5x faster GPU performance and 40% faster CPU performance than the A7 processor that’s in the iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retina display. The new flagship tablet also comes with the new M8 motion processor just like in the iPhone 6, allowing users to easily track exercise info more easily, although exercising with your iPad seems rather odd.
All of this new stuff is absent in the iPad mini 3.
Improvements have also been made to the iPad Air 2’s camera, now featuring an 8-megapixel sensor that can record 1080p video, compared to the 5-megapixel sensor of the older model. We’re not sure if this new camera is the same camera that’s in the iPhone 6, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it was. Again, though, the iPad mini 3 doesn’t have this better camera.
Camera quality has definitely improved here, and the new iPad Air 2 also come with Burst Mode and Slo-Mo Video Mode that were first introduced in the iPhone 5s last year. In turns out that these features have proved popular enough to be put on the iPad as well. The front-facing FaceTime camera also gets improved, with a wider aperture that lets in 81% more light, allowing for better video quality and improved selfies.
It’s possible that Apple is doing this to persuade users to spend more cash and buy the more expensive iPad Air 2, but who know.
Of course, Touch ID is probably one of the biggest new features of the new iPad mini 3. It was definitely one of the features that users were looking forward to ahead of the iPad Air event last year, especially after it was introduced on the new iPhone 5s just a month earlier, but Apple sadly did not deliver such a feature that time around. However, we’re finally seeing it make its way to Apple’s tablets.
Touch ID can be used to unlock the iPad, make iTunes purchases, and authorize Apple Pay payments. However, there’s no NFC in the iPad mini 3, so it’s limited to in-app payments only for apps that support Apple Pay.
The iPad mini 3 will be priced starting at $399 and pre-orders will start tomorrow. The tablet will begin shipping at some point next week. The iPad mini with Retina display now starts at $299, while the original iPad mini can be had for a steal at $249, making it the cheapest iPad Apple has ever sold.