Apple has taken an unusually quiet approach to unveiling the third-generation iPad Air and fifth-generation iPad mini. The tech giant has announced the launch of new iPads via a press release just days before its March 25 event where it is expected to launch its video streaming service and news subscription service. Let’s check out the design, features, specs, and prices of the iPad Air 3 and iPad mini 5.
The iPad mini hadn’t received an upgrade in almost four years. Industry experts were speculating that the tech giant might kill the iPad mini line due to the rise of phablets. As for the iPad Air 3, it’s just an improved version of the 2017 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which was discontinued following the launch of the latest iPad Pros.
iPad Air 3 and iPad Mini 5: Design
The latest iPad Air is bigger than its predecessor, sporting a 10.5-inch display compared to 9.7 inches on its predecessor. It measures 6.1×250.6×174.1mm. The iPad mini 5 has a 7.9-inch display and measures 6.1×203.2×134.8mm. Notably, both the new iPads have the same thickness of 6.1mm. The iPad Air 3 weighs 464g while the iPad mini 5 weighs 308g. The size and pricing of the fifth-gen iPad mini suggest it will serve as an entertainment device for students and teenagers.
Both the tablets have thick bezels at the top and bottom, unlike the latest iPad Pro models. They both retain the home button with Touch ID fingerprint sensor, meaning there is no Face ID support. Both the new iPads retain the 3.5mm headphone jack. You can see volume rockers on the right side while the sleep button sits at the top. The new iPads stick to the Lightning port rather than switching to the USB-C port.
Apple has added support for the original Apple Pencil (not the second-generation) on both new iPads. It’s unclear why Apple chose to support the cheaper and older Apple Pencil rather than the newer and more expensive Apple Pencil 2. The iPad Air 3 also gets a smart connector to support the company’s Smart Keyboard, which you have to buy separately. The iPad mini 5 lacks, the smart connector, meaning you have to rely on third-party Bluetooth keyboards.
They are both available in silver, space gray, and gold color options.
iPad Air 3 and iPad mini 5: Display
The new iPad Air gets a 10.5-inch Retina display with 2224 x 1668 resolution and 4:3 aspect ratio. It has a pixel density of 264ppi. The new mini gets a 7.9-inch Retina display with 2048 x 1536 resolution and 326ppi of pixel density, which is the highest of any iPad model. The display is laminated to the glass on both devices.
Both the tablets support Apple’s True Tone technology, which automatically adjusts the display brightness and color based on the ambient light. They also feature DCI-P3 wide color support, so you can expect richer and more vibrant colors on the new iPads. They both have 500 nits of brightness.
Apple has upgraded the processors on both new models, but not to the latest A12X that power the iPad Pros. The iPad Air 3 and iPad mini 5 get the A12 Bionic processor that packs 7 billion transistors. They also feature a Neural Engine to take care of AI-related tasks, and an M12 motion co-processor. Apple claims the new processor will boost performance by up to 70%.
Both the tablets come in 64GB and 256GB storage options. Apple is also offering a cellular version of the tablets. Both of them support a nano-SIM as well as the new eSIM feature. They get the latest Bluetooth 5.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO, Gigabit LTE, and GPS support. Apple is promising all-day battery life on both tablets.
Apple has given a big boost to cameras on both new models. Both of them get an 8-megapixel main camera with f/2.4 aperture. It can record videos at 1080p resolution. The rear camera offers better low-light performance and an advanced sensor for augmented reality. On the front, they both get a 7-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording.
Pricing and availability
The refreshed iPad Air 3 starts at $499 for the 64GB storage model and goes up to $649 for the 256GB variant. If you want the WiF+cellular model, you will have to shell out $629 for 64GB and $779 for the 256GB version. The WiFi version of iPad mini 5 starts at $399 for the 64GB model and $549 for the 256GB option. The cellular variant is going to cost $529 for the 64GB version and $679 for the 256GB model.