Apple Unveils New iPad Mini & iPad Air, Both Will Ship Next Month

Editor's Note: This post was supposed to go up Tuesday afternoon but due to loss of internet at home and then travel constraints it didn't go up until 12 hours later.Apple surprised pretty much no one today with the news that they had a couple new iPads.The iPad Air is indeed thinner, lighter, and smaller than its predecessor (just like the leaked components lead us to believe). It measures a mere 7.5mm thin but still manages to squeeze in a Retina display and an A7 64-bit processor while still weighing only a pound.

ipad air

The new iPad has new wifi tech, dual mikes for better sound pickup, a 5MP camera, and still costs $499 and up. The iPad Air is going to displace the iPad 4 when it ships, but Apple still plans to continue selling the iPad 2 ($399).

None of that is a big surprise, but the news about the iPad Mini does include a few surprises.

The new iPad Mini has the Retina display (2048 x 1546 resolution) and A7 processor we were expecting, but it is also getting a bump in storage and in price. The new iPad can come with up to 128GB Flash storage (for an extortionate sum). The base model with wifi and 16 GB of storage is going to cost $399, or about $70 more than its predecessor.

new ipad mini

Speaking of which, Apple is going to keep last year's iPad Mini around as their budget model. They're going to charge $299 for it, or about $100 more than it is worth. And as per older versions of iOS devices in the store, the original iPad Mini will only be available with 16 GB of storage.

So it seems that Apple is going to follow the same strategy for their iPad Mini as for the iPad. They have released an expensive cutting edge tablet and paired it with a cheaper model that has great specs - if this were 2011.

Last year's iPad Mini is effectively an iPad 2 in a smaller shell, and when compared to this year's Nexus 7 the ipad Mini was an underpowered CPU, ridiculously low resolution screen, and it comes in second in every way except for the logo it bears.

But even though the specs are mediocre by today's standards I think it's a shame Apple plans to sell it for $299; it would kill at $199. At the lower price point it would still be IMO overpriced but it would clean up. Apple could have capitalized on the idea that people could get an iPad for less than a Kindle Fire. This would have been a "die, Android, die" strategy and it would have shaken up the 7" Android tablet market.

Moving back to the new iPad Mini, I should probably add that I don't have the same reservations about this tablet. I think that the A7 CPU and screen might justify the $399 price tag. I have been following the news about the A7's benchmark tests and the A7 chip in the iPhone 5s is a significantly faster processor than almost anything else on the market.

If the A7 chip in the new iPad Mini (and the iPad Air) shows a similar benchmark and the tablets show a similar level of performance when in user's hands then I think the higher price is well-deserved.

About Nate Hoffelder (11589 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

11 Comments on Apple Unveils New iPad Mini & iPad Air, Both Will Ship Next Month

  1. Why should Apple sell at a lower price? They sell all that they can make, not make what they can sell.

    • Yes I’m surprised the author is still holding on to his misguided view that Apple should have chosen a lower price point. Based on how many that sold last year, clearly Apple understands the right price point to choose much better than Nate, who won’t admit that he’s wrong.

      • So I can’t have a personal opinion that last year’s iPad Mini is still ridiculously overpriced at $299? Because that’s still how I feel.

        • I would love that Apple sold its products at half the price they do. Unfortunately they have not asked my opinion and insist on selling at higher prices.
          I do have a comment on”Last year’s iPad Mini is effectively an iPad 2 in a smaller shell, and when compared to this year’s Nexus 7 the ipad Mini was an underpowered CPU, ridiculously low resolution screen, and it comes in second in every way except for the logo it bears.”
          I don’t know what the specs for the Nexus 7 are. But, accepting for arguments sake, is it reasonable to compare “last years anything ” to “this years thing”?
          I would imagine that anything electronic-based will be faster, smaller, etc.
          Also, looking at specs is reasonable when comparing commodities: lots of different android phones, or tablets. They all run the “same” software.
          Or when deciding between an iPad Air, iPad 2, mini. And even then “specs” are just one of the variables.
          Before I bought my first iPhone (a 4S a year ago) I used several years an iPod touch. And before that a Palm Ziri. and before that on an early Palm. My decisions were based on perceived usefulness (to me), how well it synced with my Mac (most important), aesthetics, availability and price (I live in Argentina so the last two may overide all considerations).
          And I have no problem reading on the iPhone 4s, iPad mini or iPad 2. They all have much better resolution than my monitors.

          • “I don’t know what the specs for the Nexus 7 are. But, accepting for arguments sake, is it reasonable to compare “last years anything ” to “this years thing”? ”

            In a word, yes. The devices are being sold in the same market and often the same retail store. They fill the same basic set of requirements, so it is reasonable to compare them.

  2. About a month ago, I bought a 2013 Nexus 7 32GB to replace my iPad 2. The first was a lemon, which had the random rebooting problem, and I took it back to Staples and requested a replacement. The second is a gem. I passed the iPad onto my husband.

    I was wondering if I would regret not waiting for the new iPad announcements, but they are priced out of my range. The 32GB model Nexus cost less than the non-Retina mini iPad. No buyer’s remorse here.

    I love my Nexus 7, which fits into a pocket of my purse as though it was designed for it.

  3. Now the Fire HDX is “lighter than air” on the Amazon home page. Obvious dig at Apple!

  4. The $199 price point leaves little room to make a profit, look at the loss google is making on its tablets at the moment! So I can understand why they kept it at $300, although I would get the refurbished one myself. It still feels more of a quality product than my Nook HD.

    What I’m wondering now is whether to get the mini (which was my original plan) or the air now that the weight has come down. Decisions, decisions.

  5. For tablets I’ve left Apple. I would love the mini, but its overpriced. On my 2nd Google Nexus 7 and couldnt be happier. This coming from a iPhone and Mac Air user.

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