Although Apple® recently revamped its iPad® product line with two new products, it’s the elevation of the Apple Pencil® that’s making news.

When it was first introduced alongside the iPad Pro® in 2015, Apple Pencil changed the power and potential of the iPad as a serious tool for both productivity and creativity.  In just a few short months, it set the standard for annotation, note-taking and editing in intuitive and precise ways.  And in the world of digital art and design — buoyed by a host of graphics, illustrator, sketch and 3D apps — the flexibility of the Apple Pencil made it a must-have iPad accessory.

While a new generation of Apple Pencil was introduced last November — and here’s where it gets confusing — the new 7.9-inch iPad mini® and new 10.5-inch iPad Air® products only support the first-generation Pencil.  The news here is that they support it at all, making the new models infinitely more capable.

iPad mini maxes out

This is not your uncle’s iPad mini.  With an A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine, a brilliant Retina® display with True Tone® technology and the support of Apple Pencil, iPad mini is more powerful, more vibrant and more capable than ever before.

In fact, this fifth-generation mini boasts the same speedy chip that powers today’s iPhone® XR, XS and XS Max.  It provides more than 3x the performance and 9x the graphics processing than the former iPad mini 4’s A8 chip.  

iPad mini’s display now offers more than three million pixels for a more colorful, 25% brighter image, with True Tone technology support that matches the color temperature of the screen to the light in your surroundings.  That means that all images look natural in any light.

The basic specs of the rear-facing camera on the new iPad mini haven’t changed — it’s still an 8-megapixel camera — but it likely takes better photos and videos thanks to the A12 Bionic chip’s computational photography capabilities.  Plus, the front-facing FaceTime® HD camera can now capture 1080p video at 30 frames per second for better FaceTime calls.

Plus, like all iPad models, iPad mini comes with powerful Apple-designed apps like Photos, Maps, Messages, Apple News®, Mail and Safari® on board.

You can order the iPad mini now in silver, space gray or gold. For 64 GB of storage, a WiFi only model costs $399, while a 256 GB model is $549.  Adding cellular connectivity  — the Wi-Fi + Cellular model of iPad mini now supports faster gigabit-class LTE connections and the improved Bluetooth 5.0 — bumps the prices to $529 and $679.

iPad Air lightens the cost

The new 10.5-inch iPad Air has more in common with the now discontinued 10.5-inch iPad Pro than it does with the previous generation 9.7-inch iPad 2 from back in 2014.  And that’s a very good thing — especially for a price tag $150 lower.

The new iPad Air now features the current A12 Bionic chip, gigabit-class LTE eSIM and Bluetooth 5.0.  But to trim $150 from iPad Pro’s $649 starting price, Apple replaced its rear-facing camera with a less-capable model and traded the quad speaker system for stereo speakers.  That’s not to say that the iPad Air’s rear-facing camera is a dud — it’s the same 8-megapixel camera as in the iPad mini — it’s just not at the level of the 12-megapixel camera that was in the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.

As referenced, iPad Air supports the first-generation Apple Pencil ($99) and the original Smart Keyboard ($159).  As with the iPad mini, Apple offers only two tiers of storage — 64 GB for $499 and 256 GB for $649 — and the cellular option increases the pricing to $629 and $779.  The color choices again are silver, space gray and gold.

iPad for every need

While Apple’s crusade to replace PCs with high-end iPad models might have been a bit ambitious, there’s now an iPad for every application in every business, education and home environment.  This new fifth-gen iPad mini and third-gen iPad Air join iPad and iPad Pro in two convenient sizes.  In fact, you can spend anywhere from $399 for the miniest mini to $1,899 for the most professional Pro.  

And now, whichever model you choose, there’s an Apple Pencil available to extend the iPad experience.

We believe iPad has a place in the mobile technology environment of every small business.  If you need guidance on which iPad is right for you and your budget, contact us at 888-813-5558 or support@cranstonit.com for a no-cost consultation.  We’ll also be happy to step you through Apple’s helpful online iPad comparison tool.