Fast forward to the present, we have already seen the third-iteration of the iPad Mini, aptly called the iPad Mini 3, which launched earlier this quarter alongside the iPad Air 2 to complete Apple’s 2014 mobile roster until the same time next year.
The iPad Air 2 is probably the best tablet money can buy right now. It has the power, the specs, the design and the ecosystem. With iOS 8, the gadget offers a pretty seamless user experience. The iPad Mini 3, as the name suggests, is essentially a smaller version of Apple’s more popular 9.7in model – or, at least that’s what everyone is supposed to think.
In actual fact the two slates are very different beasts in more ways than one. It is worth pointing out that the only difference between the iPad Mini 3 and last year’s iPad Mini 2 is the former now comes in gold and has TouchID installed in the Home button. That’s all you got and we are not kidding.
The iPad Mini 3 looks just like the iPad Mini 2, and that’s just fine because it really is a gorgeous piece of kit. Constructed from high-quality aluminium and featuring those now-trademark chamfered edges, the iPad Mini 3 looks as fresh and premium as ever. It’s perfectly proportioned too, and has excellent balance across its chassis, making it ideal for situations where one-handed use might be required (a packed tube, for instance).
The problem with the latest variant is that last year’s model is just as good and costs A LOT less than this one, which begs the question: is TouchID and a new colour option worth an extra amount? In a word: no, not at all (even more so when you factor in that Apple Pay isn’t supported by major retailers).
As noted above, the iPad Mini 3 uses exactly the same Retina panel as the iPad Mini 2 – aka the iPad Mini with Retina. It’s a 7.9in 2048 x 1536 pixel screen with a pixel density of 324ppi - this combination delivers exceptional results, thanks to its tightly packed pixels and excellent colour reproduction. The size of the slate makes it an ideal choice for web browsing, watching media on the move and reading eBooks.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that Apple didn’t include any of the iPad Air 2’s display improvements. Maybe because iPad Mini was viewed as a product with limited shelf life – yep, this could be the last iPad Mini.
In general, the latest iPad Mini is pretty much exactly the same as last year's model, save for the new Gold colour option and TouchID. It may be a gorgeous, beautifully crafted tablet and it houses one of the best tablet ecosystems around, but it is far too similar to last year's model and, for this reason, cannot be considered an update. Save some money and go for the iPad Mini 2 instead.