A major change in the new iPads that Apple didn't mention on stage today is the Apple SIM, which will come preinstalled on the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. As we mentioned in our overview, the Apple SIM will be initially limited to the US and the UK.
Ina Fried writes:
The cellular-equipped versions of the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 can be bought with a single SIM card that supports multiple carriers, meaning that customers don’t have to decide at the time of purchase which cellular carrier they want. Customers buying previous versions of the iPad were bound to one carrier from the outset, since the SIM card was only compatible with that service.
Over at Quartz, Dan Frommer argues that the Apple SIM could potentially be a big deal on the iPhone and even disrupt the wireless industry:
It’s early, but it’s easy to see how this concept could significantly disrupt the mobile industry if Apple brings it to the iPhone. In many markets—especially the US—most mobile phones are distributed by operators and locked to those networks under multi-year contracts. People rarely switch operators, partially out of habit and satisfaction, but mostly because it’s annoying to do so.
There have always been rumors (see: 2010) of Apple setting itself up as a MVNO to change the way customers “interact” with carriers. It's interesting that Apple has started to experiment with Apple SIM on the iPad and I'm curious to see if and how this will expand worldwide.
At a media event held earlier today in Cupertino, Apple unveiled the latest entries to the iPad family: the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3. Building upon last year’s launch of the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, the new iPads brings iterative improvements over the last generation, but it should be noted that, this year, Apple has drawn a clear line between the iPad mini and the full-sized iPad Air.
Wikipad, the company behind a gaming-focused Android tablet released last year, has announced Gamevice, an iOS game controller made specifically for the iPad mini. The Gamevice was originally announced for Android and Windows tablets in January but, as noted by TouchArcade, the company has seemingly switched to an iPad-only device, targeting a public release later this year with "additional platforms" following soon.
When I bought a Retina iPad mini in November, I published my first impressions of the device and promised that, like I did with the iPhone 5, I would revisit my article for a proper review. I work from my iPad every day, and I believe there is value in condensing thoughts on a product after continued and regular experience. Three months later, I think I've used the iPad mini enough to write my review.
The biggest in my eyes is the iPad Air’s wider gamut display with full sRGB coverage. The mini’s Retina Display is good, the Air’s is just better. There’s also more thermal headroom on the iPad Air, which can come in handy if you’re doing compute intensive work on it. If neither of those things matters to you, then the decision becomes one of usage model and portability. I believe the iPad Air does a better job of approximating a primary computing device, particularly in its ability to give you a reasonable sized virtual keyboard to work on. The iPad mini on the other hand is substantially more portable. Although the iPad Air is light enough to come along with me more than any prior iPad, the mini’s form factor makes it even more likely that’ll I’ll bring it with me (the best tablet is the one you have with you?).
In spite of my snark, I do agree with readers who pointed out that, for professionals who rely on the iPad and demand color accuracy, having the best display is important. I don't think that average users will notice any issues with the mini's (amazing) Retina display, but if you're looking for hard facts and numbers, AnandTech's review is the one to read.
After a surprising and unexpected launch, I made a reservation for a Retina iPad mini earlier today at my local Apple store, waited five hours, then drove to the store and bought it. I got a 32 GB, LTE, Silver iPad because, when I made the reservation, that model wasn’t available in Space Gray and, as an Apple store employee later told me, reservations cannot be modified after the fact (not that it really matters – the store didn’t have it in stock today). I don’t care about the color of my iPad, and I prioritized getting one as soon as possible over looks. I think that Silver looks great.
As I’ve already discussed, I’ve been working from my iPad mini for the past year, and I couldn’t wait to get an upgrade to enjoy the higher resolution of the Retina display. I was forced to get used to the old iPad mini’s display, but that doesn’t mean I liked it. The form factor was more important than the display in the end, but, this year, I can have both: the iPad mini’s lighter body and the Retina display. I was, to use an euphemism, “fairly” excited about the Retina iPad mini.
Don’t consider this post a “review”. Rather, this is a collection of my first impressions with the device after less than five hours spent working with it. I am posting this list of points primarily for myself, so I can solidify my thoughts by making them public and getting the opportunity to reference them later. Secondly, I am publishing this post for readers who asked me questions about device and still don’t know whether they should buy an iPad mini or an iPad Air. This is not a buyers recommendation guide, but I’ll try to my best to collect everything that I thought of in the past five hours. Read more
Following an update posted on the GSX website last night, Apple today launched the iPad mini with Retina display on its online store. The launch came as a surprise due to the lack of press releases to pre-announce the launch and product reviews from journalists who received a unit in advance. The launch followed rumors of a "delay" for the iPad mini due to supply constraints for the new Retina display.
As of this morning, the iPad mini with Retina display is available through the Apple online store with shipping times of 5-10 business days for both WiFi and WiFi + Cellular models. In a press release published a few minutes ago, Apple mentioned that it will also be available with Personal Pickup at Apple retail stores (in the United States at least):
iPad mini with Retina display is available to order through the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com) to ship or through Personal Pickup at Apple’s retail stores, and through AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and select Apple Authorized Resellers.
From the press release:
The response to iPad Air has been incredible, and we’re excited for customers to experience the new iPad mini with Retina display,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We think customers will love both of these thin, light, powerful new iPads, and we’re working hard to get as many as we can in the hands of our customers.
The iPad mini with Retina is Apple's new 7.9-inch tablet that comes with a high-resolution display, A7 processor with 64-bit CPU, and all the other features of the larger iPad Air, in a lighter and smaller body.
I think it becomes apparent, then, why everyone assumes the iPad Air is the creator and the iPad Mini is the absorber. While both now have the same internals, the preconceived notion that the iPad Mini is not meant for creation has overruled analytical and advisory minds. It actually makes sense to associate “smaller” and more “portable” as an absorber.
Joshua Ginter makes some good points in his article on iPad Air vs. mini for content creation. My guess: many will reconsider the mini after they'll try the Retina display in the smaller form factor.