Apple's smallest tablet has finally received its biggest refresh in almost a decade. The new iPad Mini, unveiled at the company's virtual hardware event on Tuesday, looks almost unrecognizable compared to its 2019 predecessor. We're talkin' slimmer bezels, Touch ID, 5G connectivity, and even a USB-C port.
Starting at $499 for the base model, the sixth-generation iPad Mini will come in an array of fun colors including purple, pink, and what Apple calls “starlight,” which is buff champagne color. If you're into more muted tones, you can also opt for the traditional Space Gray. It's currently available for preorder with full availability starting September 24.
But the most striking change is that it looks very much like an extra large iPhone. The home button is gone, with TouchID moving to the power button at the top, and the screen taking up almost the entire face of the device.
If you were to line up every previous iPad Mini, you would notice that, aside from some camera changes, the hardware has remained mostly untouched throughout the years.
Enter the 2021 iPad Mini, which looks wholly redesigned. On the front, the Liquid Retina display (with 500 nits of brightness) has been increased from 7.9 inches (as seen on the 2019 version) to 8.3 inches. Rather than thick bezels all around, there's now a screen that reaches nearly from edge to edge—even the bottom, since the home button is gone.
Apple also updated the cameras with a 12-megapixel sensor on the back, complete with a larger aperture (for sharper photos) and an improved flash for better photos in low light. On the front is a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera, and Apple has added the Center Stage feature that used to be exclusive to the iPad Pro. The feature automatically keeps you in frame while you move around on a video call.
And yep, that Lightning connector is gone in favor of a USB-C port. The new Mini also comes with support for the second-generation Apple Pencil. Rather than plugging it into the Lightning port (as with the previous Mini and first-generation Apple Pencil) it automatically pairs to the Mini and magnetically attaches to the side, where it wirelessly charges.
Speaking of accessories, Apple released Smart Folio cases for the Mini as well. Sold separately, you'll have the choice between white, black, English lavender, electric orange, and dark cherry.
Under the hood, the iPad Mini packs the same A15 Bionic chip powering the new iPhone 13 lineup. And just like the most recent iPad Pro models and the iPad Air, the iPad Mini also comes with support for 5G connectivity. Essentially, 5G is built to provide less latency and faster download speeds than 4G LTE. With the iPad Mini, you'll have access to sub-6 speeds (the slower version of 5G) while mmWave (the faster one) is reserved for Apple's iPad Pro lineup.
If you want to tap into that 5G, it's also worth noting you'll need to opt for the Wi-Fi + Cellular version of the iPad Mini. Starting at $649 for 64GB, it's a bit pricier than the standard Wi-Fi base model.
But the iPad Mini isn't the only iPad Apple announced. The company also unveiled its new ninth-generation iPad. Starting at $329, it packs an A13 Bionic chip, support for Apple's True Tone ambient color-adjustment tech on the display, and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide front camera with the Center Stage feature for videos.
Like the new Mini, the iPad is currently available for preorder and ships next week.