Apple surprised everyone by announcing new iPads recently. And the surprise was not just that the Cupertino giant announced new iPads, but the kind of iPads as well.
After having seemingly laid the iPad Air and the iPad mini to rest (both ranges had not seen new models for a few years), Apple brought them right back to life. Yes, there is a new iPad Air and a new iPad mini. And of course, they are nothing like their predecessors. So what is notable and new about them? Well, here is a quick briefing:
Better displays for both, and a bigger one for the Air
The iPad mini has the same 7.9 inch display that its predecessors had and the same 2048 x 1536 resolution. But the iPad Air has a larger 10.5 inch display and a resolution of 2224 x 1668.
In many ways, the Air seems to be the replacement of the iPad Pro 10.5 which has now been moved off the site. Both tablets now have Tru Tone displays, which means colour reproduction will be a clear notch above what their predecessors had.
Getting some iPhone-serious processing power
Perhaps the biggest change in the new iPads, however, is the presence of the A12 Bionic Chip with Neural engine. Yes, it is a step behind the A12X chip seen on the new iPad Pros (more about that here), but the A12 is still a formidable chip, which was earlier used in the iPhone XS and XS Max. It is well ahead of the A10X chips that were seen on the second generation of the high-end iPad Pros.
No, we have not used them yet, but we can bet that these new iPads will be no pushovers when it comes to handling games and videos. PUBG delight? You never know!
Getting Apple Pencil Support
Both the new iPad Air as well as the iPad mini come with support for Apple Pencil. It is however worth noting that they support the older, first generation Apple Pencil and not the new one (read more about it here).
So yes, you will still need to charge it by sticking it into the lighting port of the iPads. And yes, that also means that the new iPads are still using the old Lightning port — no USB Type C here. Another thing that has not changed is the fact that the Apple Pencil has to be purchased separately and will not come bundled with the iPads.
The Air gets a smart keyboard
The new iPad Air also gets support for a smart keyboard — the keyboard cover that Apple had so far was made only for the iPad Pro range. Perhaps this is so because the new iPad Air has dimensions that are very similar to that of the iPad Pro 10.5.
Of course, the keyboard will have to be purchased separately and still remains rather expensive at Rs 13,900. There is no keyboard from Apple for the iPad mini but that tablet will play just fine with any Bluetooth keyboard!
They still look good and have awesome battery life
Both iPads look sleek and are super slim — at 6.1 mm, they are thinner than the new iPhones, and are also light for their size. The iPad Air is 464 grammes and the iPad mini a mere 308.2 grammes.
Both also come with very good battery life, in the best iPad tradition. Expect close to 10 hours of battery on a single charge here!
Cameras, fingerprint scanners, etc.
We do not know if people use iPads for photography, but the new iPads should be adequate, rather than spectacular in this department. Both come with 8 megapixel rear cameras with f/2.4 apertures and 7 megapixel front-facing FaceTime cameras.
And of course, as there is no TrueDepth front-facing camera, there is no Face Unlock on these new iPads. You will have to rely on the fingerprint scanner which also doubles up as the home button beneath the display.
Both tablets also have two speakers, but we do not think we will be getting sound on the level of what we have on the iPad Pros and the new iPhones. They come in 4G and Wi-Fi avatars and have storage capacities of 64 GB and 256 GB (no 128 GB model!).
Priced (much) lower than the Pro!
If the prices of the iPad Pros were making you wince (the 11 inch iPad Pro starts at Rs 71,900, remember?) then the prices of the new iPads will come as a pleasant surprise. The iPad mini starts at Rs 34,900 for the 64 GB Wi-Fi only model and Rs 48,900 for the 256 GB variant, with the Wi-Fi and cellular model going at Rs 45,900 for 64 GB and Rs 59,900 for 256 GB.
The new iPad Air, of course, costs a bit more — Rs 44,900 for the 64 GB Wi-Fi only variant and Rs 58,900 for the 256 GB edition, and Rs 55,900 for the 64 GB Wi-Fi and cellular variant and Rs 69,900 for the 256 GB edition of the same. All of which makes them all much more affordable than even the base model of the new iPad Pros!
Are new iPads worth buying? We will let you know in our reviews. But as of now, their specs and prices definitely make them very attractive options for those who love to travel!