Jason Snell, in his review of the new iPad mini:
I’ve always preferred using a Kindle to read books, but I have to admit that the iPad mini is a pretty great size if you’re primarily planning on using it to read books, newspaper apps, and websites. The screen may feel a bit cramped when using productivity apps, but switching to the iPad mini from the 12.9-inch iPad Pro was like going from a coffee-table book to a trade paperback. Reading from apps while holding the iPad mini in vertical orientation in one hand was easy and pleasant.
However, the increased screen density of this device means you’ll probably need to crank up the default text size in your apps and in the Text Size setting in the Display & Brightness section of the Settings app. As on previous iPad minis, everything’s just a bit smaller, and unless your eyes are particularly keen (and young) you’ll need to slide that text size up a notch or two in order to get it back into comfortable territory.
While the 12.9" iPad Pro is my main work iPad, in December I bought a base model of the 11" version that I use exclusively as a media device to read books and articles, watch videos via Plex and YouTube, and play iOS games. I love the design and gesture-driven UI of the new iPad Pros, but I'm also intrigued by the extreme portability of the new iPad mini. I don't plan on switching because I value the design and better screen of the Pro, but I definitely want to go to an Apple Store and play with the new mini for a bit. As someone who used to work on an iPad mini years ago, I'm glad Apple brought this product back.
See also: John Gruber's review and Rene Ritchie's video on the new iPad mini.
Today Apple has updated its online store with two major new products now available: an iPad Air with a 10.5" display, and a long-overdue fifth-generation iPad mini that includes Apple Pencil support.
Andrew Cunningham, writing for Ars Technica:
I’ve been testing iOS on old devices for six years, and I’ve never seen a release that has actually improved performance on old devices. At best, updates like iOS 6, iOS 9, and iOS 10 didn’t make things much worse; at worst, updates like iOS 7 and iOS 8 made old devices feel like old devices. Anyone using an older device can safely upgrade to iOS 12 without worrying about speed, and that’s a big deal. You’ll notice an improvement most of the time, even on newer devices (my iPad Air 2, which had started to feel its age running iOS 11, feels great with iOS 12).
As I noted in my review, I was hoping someone would run actual measurements for different system features on older devices running multiple versions of iOS. Cunningham did exactly that, going all the way back to iOS 10 on the iPhone 5S.
The scientists at DisplayMate have tested the latest iPad mini's display and found it to be some of Apple's best work yet:
First of all, the colors and color accuracy of the iPad mini 4 now match all of the recent full size iPads and also the recent iPhones (5 and 6 including S and Plus). So across the entire mobile iOS product line you'll now see color matched photos and screen images. The mini 4 is an excellent super size upgrade to the iPhone 6(S) and Plus and now truly qualifies as a small version of the iPad Air 2.
But in terms of real-world viewing conditions, the record low 2.0% screen Reflectance actually makes a bigger visual difference for the image colors and image contrast that you actually see because ambient light washes out and degrades the displayed images and reduces screen readability - so its record low Reflectance actually makes a bigger difference!
A big update from the iPad mini 3.
Jeremy Horwitz, writing for 9to5Mac:
The original iPad mini has quietly disappeared from Apple’s web site, and is no longer available to purchase new from the Apple Store.
Apple’s discontinuation of the iPad mini leaves the remaining iPads as a completely 64-bit family, all using either A7 and A8X processors rather than the iPad mini’s aging A5.
The oldest iPad you can buy has a Retina display.
Considering the massive change that multitasking is going to be for 10-inch iPad users, I wonder how quickly Apple will phase out the iPad Air in favor of the split view-enabled iPad Air 2.
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.