Apple revamps iPad mini and adds faster chip to entry-level iPad, prices start from RM1,499

The new iPad mini is introduced during a virtual event held to announce new Apple products on Sept 14, 2021. — AP

Apple Inc unveiled a revamped iPad mini with an iPad Pro-like design, thinner bezels and a larger display, alongside a faster entry-level model.

The new iPad mini moves Touch ID to the home button on the top, matching the iPad Air from last year. It’s also 40% faster than the previous version, Apple said at a launch event on Sept 14. And it gains a larger, 8.3in screen.

The new entry-level model, meanwhile, now has an A13 processor, an upgrade from the A12 on the previous version. That will result in 20% faster performance, the company said.

Apple’s iPad line saw a resurgence during the pandemic as people worked, played games and studied at home. The company generated US$7.4bil (RM30.78bil) in iPad sales in the third quarter, or 9% of total revenue.

The entry-level model has the same 10.2in display and design as the eighth-generation model launched last year, but doubles the base storage to at least 64 gigabytes. The new iPad mini also adds USB-C charging, the same port as the iPad Pro and iPad Air – in addition to 5G support for the first time.

The new entry-level model includes an improved front-facing camera with a 12-megapixel sensor and Center Stage, a feature that automatically shifts the camera’s position digitally to follow around a user during video calls. The standard iPad screen also has True Tone, which adjusts tones based on the surrounding environment.

The iPad mini gains a 12-megapixel camera on the back and an LED flash for taking pictures in low light, in addition to the same 12-pixel camera on the front as the entry-level model. The iPad mini also will get stereo speakers for improved sound, Apple said. The entry-level model includes support for the original Apple Pencil from 2015, while the new iPad mini supports the second-generation version from 2018.

The new entry version continues to sell for US$329 (from RM1,499 in Malaysia), while Apple offers it for US$299 (RM1,244) to schools. The iPad mini will cost US$499 (from RM2,299 in Malaysia). Local availability has yet to be announced.

Apple is also rolling out iPadOS 15 software this month with expanded support for widgets on the home screen.

A revamped iPad Pro with wireless charging support is expected in 2022. Bloomberg previously reported on Apple’s plans for Tuesday’s entry-level iPad and iPad mini upgrades. – Bloomberg

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