Apple Quietly Releases New iPad mini and iPad Air

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Apple has at long last updated the much-loved iPad mini with modern-day specs. Joining it is a new iPad Air that’s essentially an updated 10.5-inch iPad Pro with a worse camera and two fewer speakers.

And rather glad I’ve held out a few weeks, I’m going to pick up an Air.

I’ll keep holding out for an SEII, hopefully someone at AppleHQ is reading TidBITS.

Agree with all of the above. I think the new lineup makes a whole lot more sense. I also like that Apple has shown some dedication to a smaller form factor that still offers good specs/performance.

But you do wonder even more where the SE2 is now. There was a lot of chatter recently about Apple launching an updated iPod touch to get it more in line with current iPhone specs. Now, with that not having materialized alongside the new iPads, I wonder if this bodes nothing too well for an SE2.

Am I the only one that is disappointed about the iPad Mini’s memory options? The older iPad Mini 4 is available with 128 GB of memory at the same price that the “5” is available for with only 64 GB. The only upgrade is to 256 GB, overkill for many people and therefore a needless expense.

This same problem exists with the iPhone X and Xs. I can only speak for me, but 64 GB is too little, and 256 GB is too much. 128 GB would hit the sweet spot for me, and I suspect for many others as well. I bet that many people who would consider upgrading if the base memory option was 128 GB now won’t do it because the perception is they’re getting less but being charged the same.

Yes, the display is better and the processor is faster, but for many people, that just isn’t compelling. I would have upgraded today if 128 GB were the base configuration and I didn’t feel like Apple was delivering less for more money. It really makes me feel like I’m being ripped off.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way.


I was waiting to see what came out, and am underwhelmed. I have an iPad 5th generation. I find I use it more and more than previous iPads, mainly because the Logicel keyboard makes it useful, and so I bring it to classes for lectures.

Because I’ve been using it more and more I’ve sort of wanted a larger screen lately and I had hoped the upgrade would at least get rid of the home button and make better use of bezel space, like on my iPhone X. I like the way I can just touch the screen on my iPhone X and just wake it up. I was hoping the new iPads would have that ability.

The 64 GB option is way too small, so I would need to go for the 256 GB option. And my current iPad 5th generation is cellular. So we are up to $779 already.

Yet we don’t get the nice speakers on the old Pro model. And the pencil option becomes different from the current pencil.

I guess the lineup is designed to push people like me gently into the iPad Pro series. Or just get us to stick with the iPad 5th generation for now…

I agree with Tommy and Simon. Give us a new iPhone SE, Apple! I gave my first SE a bath in the washer after Apple had discontinued it. I scrambled to find another, which I did but it was a model destined for the US and so is just slightly crippled by the different network frequencies here in Australia. It’ll be some time before I become resigned to upgrading to a larger phone.

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A fifth-generation iPad feels to me like it’s on the cusp of the decision—any older and it’s an easy choice to upgrade and any newer, it’s easy to stick with what you have. I’ve used a 10.5-inch iPad Pro for several years now, and I can say that it’s a fine machine. I don’t mind using its Home button in the slightest compared to Face ID on my iPhone X, and I don’t think I’ve ever tried tapping the screen to wake it up—the Home button is just easy and still obvious. I’m not sure I’ve ever noticed the speakers—most of the time when I watch video on it, I use earbuds, and while the camera is a major step down, I’d use my iPhone X’s camera anyway.

I feel your pain—I went through it with the iPhone with the iPhone X, since I can’t quite fit into a 64 GB model, but never come close to filling the 256 GB I got. All I can say is that it was well worth bumping up to 256 GB so I didn’t have to deal with being low on space constantly, as I did with the previous iPhone. That said, given how long it has been since the previous iPad mini rev, if I were you, I’d get the larger one and chalk it up to future-proofing, since it might be a few years before Apple updates it again.

If you were considering an upgrade from the iPad 5th generation, though, would you go for the new iPad Air or just go for the latest iPad Pro 11"?

The speakers on the iPad 5th generation have always bothered me. The sound is just low. In class, I need to use a bluetooth speaker if I want to play a song for class. For watching videos myself in private it’s ok. But if you want to share with a few people the speaker is just too low by itself. The quad speakers on the Pro series are significantly louder. I’ve compared all of them - the 10.5 Pro you have, the 11 inch and the 12 inch. The sound is much louder and better quality. The speakers on the iPad 5 are just low in volume.

The home button doesn’t bother me per se. It’s just when you go back and forth with the iPhone X that I feel like I want to tap the iPad screen. Similarly, when I go from my iPad to my MBP I feel like tapping the screen (like on a Surface computer) to do something simple - rather than move the cursor around and click. Separate topic I know. But I do wish Apple would add some sort of screen touch capability. Since they will be introducing some way of running iOS apps on the Mac this year or next year it makes sense.

Apple tends to unveil all its new iPhone models at the same time. But with the softness in the iPhone market in China and India, I think there is a chance, though maybe a slight one, they might release a smaller, less expensive SE-like iPhone down the road a bit, probably with a whole new name. I just hope they’re better with the moniker than they were with XR and XS.

Does anyone know, or is there any way to find out, what speakers and amplifiers Apple uses in each model?

I’m with you Adam on liking the small size factor iPhone 4s. I recently rediscovered mine and began using it as an iPod, and love it. Now if only it had an edge to edge screen with facial recognition!

Hallelujah! I just ordered the new iPad mini, having gotten rid of my iPad mini 4 only a month ago for a number of reasons (not the least because it did not take Live Photos). In fact, I replaced it with an 11-inch iPad Pro – which isn’t exactly conducive to bedtime reading, for example, even though I do like many of its excellent features.

Meanwhile, I still use my iPhone SE precisely because I love the small size (which fits nicely into a pocket while I’m cycling – I’m talking about women’s clothing here).

Since I also have the original 12.9-inch iPad Pro (which practically serves as my laptop), I can even use the first gen Apple Pencil with my new iPad mini. Can hardly wait to take this new… iToy on a month-long European vacation later this spring!


A very nice array of tablet sizes you have!

I’m upgrading from an iPad 2, frankly everything is great. Actually a refurb 6th generation is an attractive option for people to consider, you can get a 128Gb model that way, just to say it. The pocket isn’t permitting a jump to the Pro tier but weighed up a refurb 128Gb 6th versus a 256Gb Air, decided the additional bump was worth it for the speed jump, given likely longevity.

Personally, I’d go for the iPad Air, since the speakers and camera aren’t things that matter to me. If I was thinking about moving more of my work to the iPad, then I’d go for the 11-inch iPad Pro.

Subscribers to the service can probably get it from:

iFixIt has a teardown too, but they don’t get into specifics about the speakers:

@doug2 Another option that’s available only for a short while is getting an older 10.5-inch iPad Pro on sale. It won’t have the A12 Bionic chip, but is probably still a better machine than the iPad Air if it’s at the same price.

I’m glad Apple released these new models, and I am seriously thinking about a new iPad Air to replace my aging 4th gen iPad. What I don’t understand is why they are being so quiet about it.

I think Apple just wants to eliminate all complaints about old hardware before announcing the video service next week. It’s a legitimate worry—I’d be annoyed if Apple seemed to be prioritizing video content over upgrading hardware that hasn’t been touched in years.