Apple just announced two new affordable iPad models – the 7.9-inch iPad Mini and the 10.5-inch iPad Air. While the term ‘affordable’ is subjective in Apple-verse, the new iPad Mini and iPad Air focus largely on bringing the tried and trusted hallmarks of an iPad to an entry-level segment – so more people will possibly be able to use them. Which is also possibly why Apple is bringing Apple Pencil support to both its new iPad models.
Speaking of pricing, the iPad Mini starts at Rs 34,900 for Wi-Fi and Rs 45,900 for Wi-Fi + Cellular - it will be available in 64GB and 256GB configurations. The iPad Air meanwhile starts at Rs 44,900 for Wi-Fi and Rs 55,900 for Wi-Fi + Cellular - it will also be available in 64GB and 256GB configurations. Both the new models will be available in silver, space gray and gold colour options. The Apple Pencil will be sold separately for Rs 8,500 – so will the various keyboard covers/flip covers (while the iPad Mini supports Bluetooth-only keyboards, the iPad Air is compatible with Apple’s smart keyboard as well).
Coming to the specs, both the iPad Mini and iPad Air have a lot in common in terms of core hardware. Both the models are powered by Apple’s A12 Bionic processor and boast of “up to 10 hours of surﬁng the web on Wi‑Fi, watching video, or listening to music; up to 9 hours of surﬁng the web using cellular data network.” Both the models have an 8MP rear camera and a 7MP front camera. Both have dual speakers. Both the new iPads keep Apple’s signature True Tone screens as well.
Both the iPad Mini and iPad Air look the same as well - in fact, both look like any other iPad from the past. Both pack the same exterior all the way down to the headphone jack and Touch ID – call them a “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” affair if you may.
“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,” Phil Schiller, who is Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing said in a press statement announcing the iPad Mini and iPad Air.
“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.”
Apple literally re-made the iPad Pro last year – bringing in a new near edge-to-edge design and Face ID (the iPad Pro did not have Touch ID), in addition to updated hardware. Die-hard fans would have been hoping Apple to include at least some of these features into the entry-level iPad – only it didn’t.
What the new iPads do is that they add up – Apple now has a comprehensive portfolio of iPads to its name so there’s something for everybody. This is in fact the first time that Apple is offering as many iPads, at as many different price points.