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All About the New 2021 iPad Mini

Ever since Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPad on January 27, 2010, it was caught up in the argument of what purpose it served. The original iPad suffered from many deficiencies,

it wasn’t as powerful as the iMac and thus could not be used to create content,

it wasn’t as mobile as the iPhone and thus couldn’t be used for outdoor activities. This resulted in the product having a rather disappointing response “initially” compared to its predecessors (the iPod and iPhone).

It has now been more than a decade since the release of the first iPad and today it is the most popular tablet ever made and appeals to a significant group of customers, it accounts for nearly 8% of Apple’s annual revenues and has become an industry standard. Like almost all the products Apple sells today, the iPad too split up into multiple models, ranging from the Professional lineup for power users, the Air lineup for the people in the middle and the base lineup for the users who want the iPad experience at a budget.

The iPad has a less known and less understood form the “iPad Mini” which was refreshed in the September event recently.

The iPad Mini now has the industrial “boxy” all-screen design of the Pros and Airs in a smaller chassis with an 8.3” screen. It now supports the Apple Pencil 2, has USB C functionality (not thunderbolt sadly ☹) and runs on the brand new A15 Bionic chip a 6 core CPU and 5 core GPU

Apple claims that these models offer up to 40% faster CPU performance and 80% faster graphics, your mileage may vary. (although these are the same chips like the ones in the 13 Pros, independent tests have shown that the MINI doesn’t perform as well as the 13 Pros)

Like the Air, the Mini now has Touch ID support integrated into the power button, and stereo speakers in landscape mode for immersion, like always the speakers on this machine (confirmed by various third-party sources) are best in the segment as is expected from Apple.

The mini rocks a wide camera on the back featuring a 12 MP sensor, it also borrows the wide camera upfront from the iPad Pros and now supports “centre stage” for video calls.

It comes out of the box with iPad OS 15, in 4 colours, Space Grey, Pink, Purple and Starlight.

The mini supports 5G connectivity and comes in 2 configurations, the 64GB variant (INR 46,900) and the 256GB variant (INR 60,900). For the consumer group, it is targeted at the iPad Mini ticks a lot of boxes but like almost all products it is not perfect, The screen on the Mini is a little underwhelming and the fact that the icons on the Mini are smaller than that on the iPhones is concerning, to say the least. Like almost all of Apple’s products, a headphone jack is not present. Pro Motion also does not make the cut.

To conclude, the iPad Mini is a device that you should consider buying if and only if you are planning to limit yourself to these tasks

  1. Light gaming

  2. Content consumption

  3. Note-taking

  4. Video Conferences

In my opinion, if you are planning to pick this up for Digital Art I would rather you pick up the 2018 iPad Pro for a similar price with ProMotion and a larger display for the perfect drawing experience.

The iPad has come a long way from where it began in 2010, today the iPad lineup stands to challenge the industry status quo of Ultrabooks, if it can actually live up to the hype, is purely in the hands of Cupertino.

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