There was some exciting news for iPad fans at Apple’s special event two days ago. The iPad Air 2 offers Touch ID, a brand new and significantly faster processor chip designed specifically for it, and is the thinnest and lightest iPad ever.
On the no-so-exciting news front, there’s the new iPad mini 3. It got Touch ID, and not too much else that’s notable. It didn’t even get a bump up to Apple’s A8 chip that’s used in this year’s iPhones, nevermind the new A8X chip used in the iPad Air 2.
It’s not just in terms of specs that the iPad mini was left behind. It was treated a little like an ugly step-child during the event. It barely rated a couple of quick mentions. I watched the event live and made around 30 lines of notes during the 10-15 minutes of the presentation devoted to the iPad Air 2. By contrast, the iPad mini 3 was covered in around one minute and I made a one-line note. It got one slide devoted to it in the presentation.
Even in Tim Cook’s final sum-up at the end of the event, only the iPad Air 2 got a mention, while there was none for the new mini.
I’m a little sad to see this lack of love for the iPad mini – as it’s my preferred iPad (and tablet) form factor. Google has gone in the same direction, and even more so, this year – releasing a new 9 inch Nexus tablet while no longer even offering the Nexus 7 in their Play Store.
I will certainly be holding to my iPad mini 2 (or Retina iPad mini) and my Nexus 7 for as long as they are capable and performing well.
As always, Apple threw around a mind-boggling number of superlatives at their iPad / Mac event today. The world’s thinnest tablet, the biggest iPhone launch ever, amazing this and incredible that.
Two words that did not get a single mention though, in amongst all the big impressive words and numbers: memory and RAM.
The iPad Air 2 is clearly (very clearly!) the new flagship of the iPad line. It’s got Touch ID, a brand new 64-bit chip specially designed for it, dramatically improved cameras at front and back, significantly faster WiFi and superior LTE capabilites, and so on.
But .. does it have more memory than the measly 1GB that has so far been the most seen in any iPad model? It sure doesn’t look like it – as there was absolutely no word on that at all. And of course Apple has never listed RAM specs for their iPhone or iPad models, and the same holds true for today’s new models. So we won’t know for sure until iFixIt or a similar crew get hold of and dissect one of the new iPad models.
My money is on no change, or at the height of optimistic thoughts maybe 2GB for the iPad Air 2.
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The ‘entry level’ iPad – the original iPad mini – is now available at under $250. How’s that for the supposedly always high-priced tablet market leader?
Since it first hit the market the iPad has been known as a, or perhaps The, premium tablet. Premium in terms of design and overall performance and premium in terms of its price tag.
Now, as the tablet market has grown and competition has finally started to heat up a bit over the last couple years, there are a number of keenly priced iPads.
As you can see in the image at the top of this post, last year’s iPad mini 2, or iPad mini with Retina display, has a starting price of just $299. The brand new iPad mini 3 announced today starts at $399. Even the new iPad Air 2, the flagship of the iPad line, starts at $499.
So that’s no less than 5 iPad models that start at below $500.
Given that the iPad is the clear market and brand leader in the tablet space, with an outstanding history in terms of customer satisfaction, these are some very competitive prices.
Earlier today Apple announced and previewed its two new iPads – the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3. The new models pack Touch ID, faster WiFi, a brand new 2nd gen 64-bit chip (for the iPad Air 2 only) and improved cameras.
The two new iPads are available for pre-order starting tomorrow and shipping will begin next week. Both come in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray.
Here’s the pricing rundown for the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3:
iPad Air 2
Starts at $499 for the 16GB Wifi model. The 64GB WiFi model is $599, and the 128GB model is $699.
Starts at $629 for the 16GB WiFi + Cellular (LTE) model. The 64GB WiFi + Cellular model is $729, and the 128GB model is $829.
As with all the new iPad models, this pricing tier follows the long-standing tradition with iPads – $100 more per storage bump and $130 more for the cellular / LTE models.
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One thing you can always count on at an Apple event is that we’ll hear a lot of crazy big numbers about Apple products. Todays event was no exception and of course there were plenty of crazy iPad numbers in the mix.
Here are the ones that stood out for me:
As shown in the slide above, in the 12 months that just ended at the end of Q3 2014 the iPad outsold the total number of PCs sold by any of the world’s leading computer makers. 70 million iPads were sold in that timeframe; Lenovo came closest to matching the iPad – but they’re still behind by 13 million units.
Apple has sold 225 million iPads in total, in the roughly four and half years since the original iPad was released.
There have been more iPads sold in its first 4 years than any other past Apple product.
There are now more than 675,000 iPad apps in the App Store.
The iPad mini Retina has an ‘unbelievable’ 100% customer satisfaction rating.
And one final one: graphics are said to be 180 times faster on the new iPad Air 2 than on the original iPad.