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During its pre-taped September 24 “California Streaming” product reveal, Apple unveiled a sixth-generation iPad mini with a new design and features like the removal of the Home button, improved cameras, a power button with an embedded Touch ID sensor and more.
Introducing the all-new iPad mini
Just like the rumors insistent, the new, sixth-generation iPad mini features an all-screen design that we first saw on the 2023 iPad Pro models. Apple’s engineers have managed to shrink those thick borders surrounding the display, so now the new iPad mini gives you 8.3 inches of screen real estate whilst keeping the same footprint as before.
By comparison, the previous iPad mini had a 7.9-inch Retina display (the new iPad mini uses Liquid Retina display technology). The tablet is also a bit thinner and a tad lighter than its predecessor.
iPad mini gets Touch ID power button
With an almost fullscreen design, Apple has relocated a Touch ID fingerprint sensor (as rumored). Rather than inside the Home button, Touch ID has been embedded into the device’s power button. Apple first tried this new Touch ID solution earlier in 2023 with the release of the fourth-generation iPad Air.
A significantly faster performance
Because it runs the latest Apple A15 Bionic chip that also powers the iPhone 13 family, the new iPad mini delivers faster performance across the board. CPU performance saw a forty percent jump, meaning your apps launch and run faster. If you’re big on gaming or creative apps like Photoshop, this new iPad mini won’t disappoint you with a whopping 80 percent faster graphics performance than the predecessor. You also get two times faster Neural engine which will ensure that AI-powered apps and system features run fluidly. This is the first time the iPad mini has gained Apple’s neural engine.
Better cameras across the board
The front and rear camera systems have seen some substantial upgrades. The back camera is now a twelve-megapixel sensor versus an eight-megapixel shooter in the previous model. You can now take twelve-megapixel images and shoot 4K video with this iPad. The updated sensor also supports Focus Pixels, giving this new iPad mini there ability to take photos in Portrait mode.
And to help you snap clearer images in the dark, the rear camera comes with a larger aperture to let more light in and supports True Tone flash, a feature that lights each LED light independently with varying intensity to adjust the color temperature accordingly.
The front-facing camera has seen a major upgrade, too. It now uses a twelve-megapixel sensor so all your selfies taken with it will look great. This is a wide-angle camera that also supports Center Stage, a feature Apple debuted on the recent iPad Pro models. It uses machine learning to dynamically crop and zoom the scene to follow subjects as they move around. And thanks to Apple’s own image signal processor, the new iPad mini supports the smart HDR feature. Smart HDR blends together several photos taken in rapid succession at different exposures to bring more highlight and shadow detail.
iPad mini adopts USB-C
The new iPad mini has ditched Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector for USB-C, an industry standard. This means you can now connect a much wider variety of accessories to the tablet over USB-C, like digital cameras, external storage and more (the new, updated budget iPad still uses Lightning). USB-C is also ten times faster than Lightning so large files will transfer to the device much faster than before.
Another tidbit worth mentioning: The new iPad mini provides stereo sound when used in landscape thanks to the speakers found at both the top and the bottom of the device. By way of comprising, the previous iPad mini had a single speaker.
5G connectivity and Appel Pencil 2 support
The new iPad mini supports fast 5G networking with both mmWave and sub-6GHz standards supported out of the box. Or, you can opt for a Wi0-Fi-only version if you don’t need cellular connectivity on a tablet. The new iPad mini works with the second-generation Apple Pencil stylus, which can be attached magnetically to the right side thanks to the built-in magnets.
Apple also created some new colors for its Smart Folio case to complement the new colors in which the iPad mini 6 is available. And because the tablet’s dimensions have stayed intact, all your old cases should work like magic.
Pricing and availability
The new iPad mini comes in an array of new colors: Purple, pink, starlight and space gray. Apple was kind enough to double the storage so the baseline model now offers 64 gigabytes of storage whereas its predecessor started at a paltry 32 gigabytes. The new iPad mini starts at $499 like the older model it’s replacing and is available to order starting today.
Apple has said that shipments will start next week.
For further information, read the iPad mini 6 press release published on Apple Newsroom.
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The closest competitor to the iPad mini is obviously Google’s Nexus 7 tablet. Some may even argue that Apple felt compelled to push out the mini due to the success that Google’s diminutive tablet offering has experienced.
Although it’s been a while since I’ve dusted off my Nexus 7, there’s simply no denying that it’s a solid offering in many areas. I sung the device’s praises, and even Sebastien, who has been a bit more critical of the device, had some nice things to say about it.
Whatever the case may be, it’s pretty obvious that Apple has drawn a line in the sand with the iPad mini, and it too, is quite the compelling offering. How do the two compare? We thought you’d never ask. Check out our head-to-head comparison video inside…
As much as I truly appreciate what Google has done with the Nexus 7 as far as price and features go, there’s simply no denying that the iPad mini beats out its nearest competitor in nearly all facets of the game. Then again, you are paying a premium price for the iPad mini, so you’re getting what you paid for.
You’ve heard the story before, but let me reiterate it one more time for you. The iPad mini’s build quality is leaps and bounds above that of the Google and Asus collaboration. I won’t go as far as to label the Nexus 7 as a toy, because it’s a very nice tablet in its own right. However, once you’ve put in some hands on time with Apple’s tablet, it becomes readily apparent that it’s on a whole new level of polish and sophistication.
As good as the build quality is for the iPad mini, that’s not even the best thing about it. The software is what really makes the iPad mini shine, and it shines brightly. Every iPad customized app already available on the App Store works flawlessly with the mini. That means that at launch, the mini already runs circles around a device that has been out for quite some time now.
I’ve always thought of the Nexus 7 as a decent tablet, but with the release of the mini it seems more and more like an oversized phone. It’s littered with apps that just aren’t customized for the extra real estate, and that, frankly, is a shame.
Yes, the iPad mini comes at a premium, yes, the screen looks like an oversized, albeit improved, iPhone 3GS. The iPad mini isn’t perfect hardware. Like all of Apple’s first run products, it usually takes a generation or two for them to hit the sweet spot. The fact is, though, that neither of these tablets are anything to write home about when it comes to hardware specs.
The iPad mini is hands-down the better tablet because of its build quality and because of its excellent tablet optimized software library. You can kick and scream all you want about the lack of a Retina Display, or the fact that it comes in at a premium price, but the facts are facts, and the apps don’t lie.
Looking for a new tablet but don’t have a lot of cash to spare? The iPad (9th gen) is the absolute cheapest option at $329, but the design is getting a bit long in the tooth. If you’re looking for something newer, you might want to consider either the iPad (10th gen) or iPad Mini (6th gen). They both offer a decent amount of power and come in under $500, yet there are a few important differences between them. Let’s compare the iPad vs iPad Mini to find out which is right for you.
iPad vs iPad Mini: At a glance
Curious about how the iPad and iPad Mini compare? Here’s a quick summary of the key differences:
iPad Mini has a faster SoC than the iPad
iPad Mini is thinner and lighter than the iPad
iPad Mini has Apple Pencil (gen 2) support; the iPad only works with the Apple Pencil (gen 1)
iPad vs iPad Mini: Specs
iPad vs iPad Mini: Size comparison
The iPad and iPad Mini have nearly identical designs, with display size being the biggest difference. And what a difference it makes. The iPad Mini is 184g lighter than the iPad, and it’s also much more compact. The iPad is also thicker than the iPad Mini. This smaller size not only makes the iPad Mini more portable, but in my experience, I found it was much easier to hold for long drawing or note-taking sessions with the Apple Pencil. Even video-taking is easier with the Mini, as you’re not holding up such a massive device.
If you look carefully, you will find a few other small differences, including the colorways available and the location of the front cameras. The iPad Mini also adds a flash sensor to the rear camera, something you won’t find on the iPad.
iPad vs iPad Mini: Camera
Nick Fernandez / Android Authority
When previously comparing the iPad vs Air or even the iPad vs iPad Pro, I kept saying the camera doesn’t matter much for photography. This is slightly less true when you add the iPad Mini into the mix. The iPad Mini’s smaller footprint makes holding it much more comfortable, and the same applies to using it for taking a photo or recording a video.
Of course, the Mini is still much bigger than a smartphone, so it’s not the best choice as a main camera. I use our family’s iPad Mini mostly for simple shots around the house or for a quick video recording of the kids playing outside. In other words, think of it as a bonus camera but not a main reason for buying.
iPad vs iPad Mini: Price
Apple iPad (64GB, Wi-Fi): $449
Apple iPad (64GB, Cellular): $599
Apple iPad (256GB, Wi-Fi): $599
Apple iPad (256GB, Cellular): $749
iPad Mini (Wi-Fi only, 64GB): $499
iPad Mini (Wi-Fi only, 256GB): $649
iPad Mini (Wi-Fi + Cellular, 64GB): $649
iPad Mini (Wi-Fi + Cellular, 256GB): $799
The iPad Mini launched in September of 2023, while the iPad (10th gen) launched in the middle of October last year. Despite being newer, the iPad is slightly less powerful than the Mini, and that’s reflected in its price tag. The iPad Mini is certainly worth that premium, but be aware the iPad Mini (7th gen) isn’t too far off, so you might want to consider waiting.
Another thing to consider is the storage size. You don’t want 64GB, trust me. The only exception to this is if you plan to mostly use it for browsing and as an e-reader. If you plan to use games and other apps, the space will fill up fast and require you to constantly manage (read: uninstall) less used apps to make room for new ones.
iPad vs iPad Mini: Which should you buy?
Nick Fernandez / Android Authority
Figuring out the right iPad here mostly comes down to screen size. The Mini is a no-brainer if you want something small, light, and portable. Even better, Apple’s little guy has a better (but smaller) display, a slightly faster SoC, and supports the latest Apple Pencil with no adapter required.Would you rather buy an iPad or the iPad Mini?
If you want something that has a bigger display, the iPad performs very close to the iPad Mini but gives you more screen real state, a better alignment for its front cam, and support for Apple’s Magic Keyboard folio. Not impressed by the iPad’s performance but want a bigger screen than the Mini? The iPad Air might be a better fit, or even the more expensive iPad Pro.
iPad vs iPad Mini: FAQ
There are currently no iPad models that are truly waterproof. Your best bet is to get an iPad case or iPad Mini case for your device.
Face ID is not available on either the iPad or the iPad Mini. The only iPad family member that supports this is the iPad Pro.
Unfortunately, the latest iPad family members have removed the headphone jack across the line. The only alternative is to pick up the iPad (9th gen), which Apple still officially sells.
The iPad family doesn’t support wireless charging, but there is an unofficial workaround. You can add the functionality with an adapter.
Docks are my favorite iPhone and iPad accessory. I am not exactly sure what about them is enticing, but having my iOS devices propped elegantly at my workstation has been alluring since I first purchased an iPhone. Apple’s products are not just devices for productivity. Apple’s products are works of carefully crafted art.
In that nature, I would rather prop them up as a showcase. You wouldn’t buy a $600 piece of art and let it lay aimlessly around your home. You would place it prominently, making sure others can tell you have great taste. You own an iPhone, right? Apply the same concept…Design and function
The AluBolt is an upright docking stand for iPhone and iPad mini. I did throw my iPad Air on there for a test run, agreeing with Just Mobile’s primary intentions to use only the mini. iPad Air was a little wobbly on the stand because of the larger form factor. AluBolt’s base is 10.3mm (4.05″) in diameter with a brushed aluminum top plate, which houses the curved upright arm and Lightning port.
Below the aluminum plate is a black plastic base with a scratch resistant pad to protect desktops from unnecessary scratching. The bottom pad is not a micro-suction pad, however. Without an attachment point or adhesive, combined with a very light form factor, removing iPhone or iPad mini requires two hands.
There are mixed opinions about whether a dock should require two hands for removal, but I pref to grab my device and go. Using two hands to remove my device is a time waster and often annoying. The nature of stands with chargers, however, is one that has some pull requirements. The Lightning connector, in contrast to the 30 pin, seems to stay connected more intently, requiring a stronger pull to separate the device and cable. As such, any dock with a built in Lightning port will require a harder tug for removal. Consequently, unless the dock is extremely heavy, about 3lbs, or uses an adhesive like 3M or micro-suction, it will require a two handed motion to spring the iOS device.
As pictured, the black plastic housing for the Lightning pin allows movement fore and back. More dock makers seem to make this added detail a priority, which should have been included many years ago. Allowing the Lightning tip to move provides a safer connection. Most people, myself included, quickly grab their device and go, without thinking about damaging iPhone’s Lightning port. The pivoting head prevents damage both to the tip and the Lightning port located on the iOS device. Docking either the iPhone or iPad mini does not require the tip to be moved, however.
I like the unit includes a built-in USB cable. Others may take a short cut and leave out the cable, requiring a user installed job. With the included cable, I am not forced to use an Apple OEM cable, which are still in short supply around my home, car, and office.
With an upright design, the curved plastic adds an interesting flair to the overall design, matching the circular base. I would prefer an aluminum support bar, but aluminum on the back of either iPhone 5s or c, could cause scratching without a barrier. Unfortunately, there is no way to adjust, bend, or move the support bar, eliminating the user’s ability to modify the viewing angle.Conclusion
As I mentioned, I am a pretty big fan of docks in general, making me predetermined to enjoy the AluBolt. Admittedly, I do like the AluBolt overall, but there are areas of improvement. Most notably, I really hate having to use two hands to remove my iOS device. This is picky and a personal preference, but that is a big sticking point for me. The plastic arm is also a little aggravating, including its inability to pivot, which is, again, a personal preference.
The aluminum base matches my iMac completely and the pivoting Lightning tip is an excellent damage preventer. Including the installed Lightning cable is also a big plus. As I use a wooden desk, the scratch preventing pad is appreciated, but is an opportunity cost to forego a micro-suction option.
AluBolt is available for $49.95, which is consistent with other certified MFi accessories, especially with included Lightning cables. I would be happy to pay a few extra dollars for a full aluminum design.
Who else loves docks?
Most of us have a lot of old USB thumb drives lying around. Sometimes you just got a new larger capacity or less grubby looking one, but often you just accumulate them as they are the most popular storage medium and are used and discarded as needed because they are cheap.
Once they have served their purpose, the ones you don’t use just sit in a drawer or on a desk until you throw them away or lose them (and you don’t even remember it existed). But what if you could combine them and make a higher capacity drive to plug into a media player in a TV or back up your USB drives that are in use?
This article explains how to turn old USB drives into a mini RAID to give them new life.What is RAID?
RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. A RAID combines multiple drives into a single “logical unit” for the purposes of what is called data redundancy or performance improvement, so in other words, either secure, fast, big, or combos of all three.
Data is spread across the drives in one of several “RAID levels” depending on the intended use. Each RAID level contains different levels of error correction, distribution of data etc. but we don’t need to know all that – the three modes we will concern ourselves with here are “striped”, “mirrored” and “JBOD”.
“Striped” combines drives of equal size as a large fast unit. “Mirrored” takes one drive and copies it to all the others continuously so it is secure; the data never gets lost because it’s backed up multiple times automatically. If one drive fails, it can be replaced. JBOD (meaning “Just A Bunch Of Disks”) chains together drives of any size and makes them a continuous logical drive.
Obviously the mode you choose depends on the use. Striped is faster, Mirrored is the best backup but JBOD uses every drive you have and makes a big drive.Hacking a Mini RAID for Mac OS X
To make a collection of USB drives into a RAID on OS X is simple. First plug all the USB drives you have into a USB hub. (See above) They will all show up on the desktop.
All the drives you have attached show up in the panel.
You will be presented with a range of options: naming the RAID and which type of RAID you want to make, either mirrored, striped or concatenated (JBOD). In this case, we will select concatenated as the drives are of assorted 4Gb, 8Gb and 16Gb sizes. If they were all the same, you can use striped or mirrored.
Note: you CAN use drives of different sizes in the other two modes but the drives will be partitioned to be the same size as the smallest drive.
Drag every drive you want to be a part of the RAID. Warning: Do this carefully as these drives will be formatted and you DON’T want to include your system drive by accident.
You will see the projected final size of the finished drive in the panel above the drive window.
Press the “Create” button and you will be warned that you are about the delete all these disks and make them into a RAID.
When it’s finished and the drive has “spun up” . . .
. . . the new drive virtual unit will be displayed on the desktop ready for use.Conclusion
If you have a bunch of old USB drives, this is a good way to make good use of them rather than throwing them away. One thing to note is that old USB drives, especially USB 1.0, are slow, so it will take a while to copy stuff to them, but hey, you have a free SSD drive of much higher capacity than the component parts, so speed is a luxury. Obviously faster USB 3.0 drives will be better if have them.
Phil South has been writing about tech subjects for over 30 years. Starting out with Your Sinclair magazine in the 80s, and then MacUser and Computer Shopper. He’s designed user interfaces for groundbreaking music software, been the technical editor on film making and visual effects books for Elsevier, and helped create the MTE YouTube Channel. He lives and works in South Wales, UK.
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Hot on the heels of a pair of reports by usually credible The Wall Street Journal asserting Apple’s been working on a set-top box with cloud DVR and premium cable TV content, an analyst wrote in a note to clients today that a rumored iPad mini and an Apple-branded television set are both in full production now.
Based on supply checks, the note calls for 25 million iPad mini units for the September quarter and an additional 30 million units for the December quarter, which would peg iPad mini shipments for the calendar 2012 at a cool 55 million units….
As relayed by Fortune, Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek also wrote in a note to clients that Apple’s rumored full-blown HD TV set dubbed iTV is in full production now possibly showing up in stores in time for Christmas.
The iTV will sell two million units in the December quarter for an estimated average selling price of $1,250, he contends. Apple could also release the iTV in early-2013 because countering Amazon, Google, Samsung and other vendors with the iPad mini could be its first order of the business.
Misek is also shooting for at least eight million iPad minis in the quarter.
Here’s an excerpt from Misek’s note:
Recent data out of Sharp, Hon Hai and other specialty chemical and TV component suppliers support this. We believe Apple will leverage AT&T‘s and Verizon’s content deals for the iTV.
As pointed out on Twitter (via 9to5Mac), Apple is looking to partner with carriers AT&T and Verizon Wireless to sell the $1499 iTV with a two-year AT&T UVerse or Verizon FiOS contract, with Apple getting “something like $2000 per TV”.
In addition to that premium Apple television deal, Apple could be looking to sell set-top-boxes for Comcast customers.
Earlier in the week, The Wall Street Journal caused quite a commotion with claim that the Apple TV could be used as a set-top box for cable TV operators, marking a major shift in Apple’s living room strategy with its $99 hockey puck device.
The New York Post asserted back in March that Apple failed to negotiate premium deals because content owners were wary of financial terms and how any deal with Apple might antagonize their existing relationships.
Last month, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook was spotted at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, reportedly lining up media moguls for a series of one-on-ones on premium content partnerships.
As for the next iPhone, Misek estimates Apple will have about 15 million iPhone 5 units built by mid-September, when Apple is expected to deliver what he described as “the biggest handset launch in history”.
Now, remember that Jefferies & Co. believes in the iTV so much that it in an April note to clients that Apple would start to manufacture in June/July what it referred to as the iPanel, an HD TV set that will be “so much more than a TV. It’s a display, gaming center, media hub, computer, home automator, etc.”, Misek wrote back then.
Is Misek smoking something or could Foxconn really be assembling iTVs as we speak, without a single parts leak of credible supply chain rumor preceding it?
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