Gadgets for humans

Apple finally updates the iPad Mini and iPad Air after 3.5 years

The last time the iPad Mini and iPad Air were updated, Obama still ruled supreme

New-iPad-Air-with-Smart-Keyboard-Apple-Pencil-03192019

With little fanfare, Apple today announced major (and, dare I say, long overdue) updates to the iPad Mini and the iPad Air.

The iPad Air is perhaps the most surprising of the lot. Apple officially discontinued the model in 2017, in favor of the 2017 iPad. However, the revived iPad Air is an entirely different beast, sitting halfway between the old one and the more aspirational iPad Pro models.

In addition to Apple Pencil support, it packs a larger 10.5-inch display. This is a slight increase on the 9.7-inch display found on the iPad Air 2. Apple says this has half a million more pixels.

The 2019 iPad Air also comes with Apple’s latest A12 Bionic silicon. Cupertino reckons that this offers 70 percent improved CPU performance and double the graphics capability. It’s not clear whether Apple is comparing this with the long-discontinued iPad Air 2, or the subsequent iPad models that replaced it. Either way, this tablet is supposed to be fast.

The iPad Mini also got a bit of long-overdue love, too. The latest generation model now comes with the A12 Bionic chip. The screen now uses Apple’s improved Retina Display with True Tone technology, and is compatible with the Apple Pencil. This tablet replaces the iPad Mini 4, which has been on sale continuously since 2015, and is currently showing its age.

The new iPad Mini and iPad Air are available to pre-order today. All tablets come in silver, space gray, and gold color schemes, in 64GB and 256GB configurations. The iPad Mini is the cheapest of the two, starting at $399 for the Wi-Fi model and $529 for the Wi-Fi and LTE model. The iPad Air costs $499 for the entry-level model, and $629 for the model with a cellular radio.

Of course, this doesn’t include the extras you’d need to make the most of your device. The first-generation Apple Pencil costs $99, while the keyboard for the iPad Air costs $159. Polyurethane covers cost $39 and $49 respectively for the iPad Mini and iPad Air.

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Published March 18, 2019 — 13:03 UTC