Apple refreshes its iPad Air and iPad Mini lines with two new 2019 models
If you don't want to spend big on the premium iPad Pros, Apple just gave you a couple more options: the long-neglected iPad Air and iPad Mini lines have been given new models for 2019, bringing with them faster internals and Apple Pencil support.
First up is the new iPad Air – technically the iPad Air 3 – which comes with Apple's A12 Bionic CPU inside and a 10.5-inch screen that's slightly bigger than the 9.7-inch display on the previous model. First-gen Apple Pencil support is included this time around too.
Technically, it's more of a successor to the second-gen 10.5-inch iPad Pro that Apple kept on sale into this year even after it had been replaced by newer versions, but by resurrecting the "Air" branding, Apple probably wants to keep it distinct from the cheaper and more expensive iPads in the range.
The new tablet sticks with the same general design as its predecessors, and retains Touch ID, a Lightning port, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. However, it's faster, slimmer and more expensive than the tablet Apple launched last year, with prices starting at US$499 for the new iPad Air with 64 GB of storage.
Then there's the iPad Mini 5, following on from the iPad Mini 4 that made its bow way back in 2015 (and which was still on sale before today's announcement). Again the processor gets an upgrade to the A12 Bionic chip, and again first-gen Apple Pencil support gets added.
Design-wise, the iPad Mini 5 looks very similar to the iPad Mini 4, with the same 7.9-inch display and Touch ID support. Like the new iPad Air, there's a 3.5 mm headphone jack and a Lightning connector port. The iPad Mini 5 starts at $399 with 64 GB of storage.
Both the new models come with the same 8 MP rear cameras and 7 MP selfie cameras on board, and both have True Tone added to the display tech, so white balance can be automatically adjusted based on ambient light conditions.
Essentially these upgrades give the oldest tablets in Apple's range support for the Apple Pencil while bumping up the internal processor speed – the A12 Bionic is easily powerful enough for most tablet tasks (and is the one inside the 2018 iPhones), although it's since been bettered by the A12X Bionic inside the iPad Pros.
Apple's iPad range now comprises the pricey iPad Pros at the top, the entry-level $329 iPad at the bottom, and the new iPad Air and iPad Mini 5 somewhere in between if you want faster specs or a smaller screen than the basic iPad offers. That entry-level iPad is itself rumored to be getting a refresh in the not-too-distant future, so watch this space.
Both the new iPads are available to buy now direct from Apple, with silver, space gray, and rose gold the color choices in both cases.