Apple brings back iPad Air, revamps iPad Mini

2019 Apple iPad Air and iPad Mini released with Pencil support

With the addition of these two devices, Apple's entire iPad lineup now has support for its Apple Pencil stylus, which starts at $99 for the first-generation model.

That latter spec won't be noticeable though, as Apple has packed in the far more powerful and efficient A12 chipset, over the A10X Fusion seen in the iPad Pro 10.5, so the 10-hour battery life is apparently preserved.

Both new iPads also keep the home button with Touch ID fingerprint reader, eschewing Apple's newer Face ID face recognition system and swipe gestures, and the same basic design with large bezels at the top and bottom of the screen. The last Mini (number 4) was released back in September 2015, and the Air 2 was discontinued back in 2017.

With little fanfare, Apple today announced major (and, dare I say, long overdue) updates to the iPad Mini and the iPad Air. For the first time, the mini line has also gained support for Apple Pencil. You may also want to keep an eye on Apple's official refurbished storefront, where the newly discontinued tablet now costs $469 and up with a one-year warranty included.

The advanced Retina display with True Tone technology and wide color support is 25 percent brighter and has the highest pixel density of any iPad, delivering an immersive visual experience in any setting.

2019 Apple iPad Air and iPad Mini released with Pencil support
iPad mini for 2019 has the power of the new iPad Air with a smaller 7.9" display

It feels a little bit exhausted to draw on this trope though: like most things Apple, you can spin the line of 'it's too expensive!' when you write about the headline price.

Apple iPad mini and iPad Air specsThe new iPad mini and iPad Air tablets are powered by A12 Bionic chips which claim better performance and machine learning capabilities. It comes in two flavors: Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi + Cellular, and comes with either 64 or 256GB of storage memory. "It retains the same 7.9" screen size and it has similar hardware as the new iPad Air 2019. Instead, things start with a Wi-Fi-ony 64GB model at £399, rising to £669 if you want 256GB and cellular connectivity.

With the question of whether you go for the basic iPad from a year ago or the new iPad Air, you're also getting a lot more screen and (possibly, as we've not had this confirmed) the powerful four speakers that bring an extra dimension to multimedia playback.

If there's a fly in Apple's ointment here, it's around the iPad accessories. The updated display now supports the Apple Pencil as well, giving more users the opportunity to draw, sketch, and take notes on an iPad. Priced from $499 for the iPad Air WiFi, and from $629 for the iPad Air WiFi + Cellular, it's right in the sweet spot for those looking for more power than an entry-level iPad, but who don't quite need (or can't quite afford) the laptop-replacing iPad Pro at the other end of the scale.

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