Apple has revealed two new models of iPad at its 2021 Fall event. The iPad 9th Gen and iPad Mini 6th Gen have been added to the two Pro models launched earlier this year.
Apple iPad & iPad Mini
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
The base-level iPad is usually launched at the start of the year, but for 2021 Apple held on to its arguably best value for money device until the Fall event.
Alongside it, a new Mini, the 6th generation of Apples smallest tablet, was also confirmed to the delight of the loyal fans who’ve not had a new small tablet option since 2019.
iPad 9th Gen
I’ve long said the base iPad is arguably Apples best value for money device because while it may not have the latest technology, it’s not far behind. And Apple is very good at giving it just enough new features from the previous model to keep it an attractive option. Then there’s that low and welcomingly stagnant price point of $329.
In short, unless you are a real power user, the base iPad is all most travellers should need!
The same 10.2″ Retina display now boast True Tone, which adjusts the display based on the lighting where you are. Perfect for when you’re in an aircraft cabin. And, if you’re taking movies with you, the larger storage options of 64GB and 256GB models will come in handy.
Battery performance at 9-10 hours, depending on usage, remains the same as before, as does the 8MP main rear camera with 5x zoom, although 9th Gen iPad owners will now be able to capture 1080p HD video at 30fps (frames per second).
Where the new model set itself apart from last years offering is at the front. Apple has replaced the pointless 1.2MP front cam with a much better 12MP Ultra Wide Camera with 2x zoom and its latest software feature, Center Stage.
There is support for Apple Pencil, albeit the 1st Gen one only, and a Smart Keyboard, all of which is powered by a new A13 Bionic Chip.
Sadly it will have a lightning port and not USB-C, the Bluetooth technology has remained at 4.2 instead of being bumped to the 5.0 or 5.2 newer versions, and that old-style thick bezel surrounds the display. All very minor points when you consider the amount of technology you’re getting for your money.
The Apple iPad 9th Gen is available for pre-order now with shipping starting on 09/24, and prices will start from $329/£319 at apple.com.
Apple iPad Mini
While I’ve never really warmed to the iPad Mini, many have. As I describe the base iPad as the best value for money that Apple offers, the Mini often feels like the opposite.
However, this 6th Gen model has some notable upgrades, along with a slight price increase, which piques my interest.
The 2021 model has a slightly larger 8.3″ Liquid Retina display with True Tone and has a noticeably thinner outer bezel as the home button has now been removed. It also moved away from a Lightning connector and adopted USB-C, which opens it up to more peripherals.
And while, due to the size, there’s still no support for Smart Keyboards, only Bluetooth connected ones, the 6th Gen Apple iPad Mini now works with the 2nd Gen Apple Pencil.
As the home button has finally been removed, Apple has relocated the Touch ID fingerprint sensor into the power button at the top of the device.
Similar to the new base iPad just announced, Apple confirmed during the event that the main rear cam for the Mini will get an upgrade from an 8MP to 12MP wide camera with 4k video recording capability at up to 60fps.
The front-facing cam gets the same 12MP Ultra Wide as announced earlier on the base iPad, which is a big step up from the 2019 5th Gen, so if you’re a Mini user waiting for an upgrade, I think Apple has given you enough to contemplate it!
There’s more good news for those who prefer the Wi-Fi + Cell models; Mini now supports 5G!
The Apple iPad mini 6th Gen is available for pre-order now with shipping starting on 09/24, and prices will start from $499/£479 at apple.com.