Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Ahead of Next Week’s Event, Apple Introduces New iPad Air and iPad Mini Models


Apple today introduced the all-new iPad Air in an ultra-thin 10.5-inch design, offering the latest innovations including Apple Pencil support and high-end performance at a breakthrough price. With the A12 Bionic chip with Apple’s Neural Engine, the new iPad Air delivers a 70 percent boost in performance and twice the graphics capability, and the advanced Retina display with True Tone technology is nearly 20 percent larger with over half a million more pixels.

Apple today also introduced the new 7.9-inch iPad mini, a major upgrade for iPad mini fans who love a compact, ultra-portable design packed with the latest technology. With the A12 Bionic chip, the new iPad mini is a powerful multi-tasking machine, delivering three times the performance and nine times faster graphics. The advanced Retina display with True Tone technology and wide color support is 25 percent brighter and has the highest pixel density of any iPad, delivering an immersive visual experience in any setting. And with Apple Pencil support, the new iPad mini is the perfect take-anywhere notepad for sketching and jotting down thoughts on the go. The new iPads are available to order starting today and in stores next week.

These look like great new products. Both appear to be, more or less, two sizes of the same device. The iPad Air takes the place of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro that was retained in the lineup with the release of the modern iPad Pro models launched last year, but with some differences in the display and camera.

These changes clean up the iPad lineup considerably. The devices with the home button all support the first-generation Apple Pencil, all have Lightning ports, and none are called “pro”; all iPad Pro models have Face ID, a USB-C connector, and support the second-generation Apple Pencil. I still think that the iPad lineup is just a hair more complicated than it needs to be; I question how much difference an average user will see between the 9.7-inch iPad model and the 10.5-inch iPad Air in both size and capability.

But, of course, that’s just the situation today; let’s see if there’s more of a difference in these models once WWDC rolls around.