iPad Air 2 And iPad Mini 3
A Breath Of Fresh Air?
By Kia Dargahi
iPad Mini 3:
The 3rd generation of Apple’s iPad Mini lineup was announced last week and I’m sad to report that it is a very mini update indeed. The Mini features changes to its home button, now coming fully equipped with a touch ID sensor, as well as a gold color variant for those of us with more of a bling factor than others. That’s it. Nothing else has been modified and it features the same specifications as the iPad Mini 2 (or iPad Mini with retina display 1st generation) BUT Apple is selling the Mini 3 for a whopping $100 more than the previous generation. This raises a few questions about Apple; for one, does Apple so strongly believe in this iteration of the iPad Mini that it isn’t going to bother updating its specs? Does Apple believe Touch ID and limited functionality Apple Pay is worth a $100 upgrade? Or is Apple trying to draw attention from the Mini to its older brother the Air 2?
It is important to note that the last generation of iPad’s featured identical specifications, except of course the screen size options. Or so it may seem. In fact, many reviewers were quick to point out that the retina display found on the iPad Mini featured a low color gamut of about 67% color accuracy. Compared to the 100% color accuracy of the iPad Air at the time, it is hard to see why Apple would keep the same exact “poor performing” display in the iPad Mini this time around. Going back to one of the questions I raised earlier, note that Apple’s iPad Minis have been cannibalizing the bigger iPad’s sales ever since it first came around 3 years ago; it’s a very portable device and finds itself at home with kids and traveling adults around the world. This could be a rebuttal of sorts from Apple, showing that the iPad Air 2 is clearly superior in every manner to the Mini, making it almost disappointing to buy one, as we shall now see.
iPad Air 2:
The undeniable star of the show, the iPad Air 2 was announced alongside the new iPad Minis and highlighted a number of key improvements. First of all, the processor has been updated to an A8X processor with 2 GB of ram. This is by far and large the most powerful processor that Apple has ever had on one of their devices and is a huge selling point for the iPad Air 2. With twice the RAM as before and quite a bit more processing power alongside the software enhancement “metal”, the iPad Air 2 finds itself as a much more capable long-term device than its predecessors. Furthermore, the camera has been updated to an 8 megapixel snapper on the back and the same facetime HD camera found on the front. This, of course, means better pictures alongside better camera software, which is always a plus when it comes to specs. Furthermore, the Touch ID sensor has been added alongside a thinner chassis with no orientation lock/mute button present. To think that Apple could make the original iPad Air thinner baffles me; the device was already so thin and light for its size and materials at the time that holding the iPad Air 2 truly feels impressive and most of all easy on the hands. The Touch ID sensor brings online Apple Pay and fingerprint verification with it, making your iPad Air 2 free from the hands of bad hearted people. The omission of the mute toggle was clearly needed to keep the iPad so thin; however, it’s a clear downside to those who have gotten used to it. Control center should prove as a decent alternative; but there’s something about that click of a hardware toggle that never gets old. Finally, the display has been glazed with an anti-reflective coating, which actually works quite well in ambient light.
There is only good to say about this iteration of iPad Air; the near 2K display with coupled with amazing build quality, powerful processing, and a plethora of new features makes this tablet killer. The gold color option is also present here, matching its iPhone cousin. I would contend that the iPad Air 2 is even a rather large upgrade from the iPad Air only announced a year ago. It’s really that good (although the display is a bit less efficient on the new model). This obsession with thinness makes for a truly portable and usable device; I’ve only ever been so impressed with the thinness and lightness of something when dealing with the iPhone 6 only a month ago. If you’re on the fence about getting this device, wait until black Friday comes around and go ahead and treat yourself to this monster of a device; it’ll make a ghost of your old one, just make sure it doesn’t come back to haunt you…
The iPad Mini 3 finds itself in an awkward position when compared to its bigger alternative the iPad Air 2. While the iPad Air 2 features a thinner design, massively improved specifications, and a $100 higher price tag than the Mini 3, the Mini 3 only has Touch ID to offer when compared to its previous iteration an a worse performing display. If you’re on the fence about choosing the Air 2 or Mini 3, go with the Air 2 this time around; at $100 more expensive, it is a bargain compared to the Mini 3. Apple has solidified its larger tablet lineup while seemingly neglected its smaller tablet lineup, which makes for an interesting roadmap for what’s to come…