iPad mini / 2 / 3 Overview Updated June 21, 2016

iPad mini / 2 / 3

Apple originally introduced the 7.9″-screened iPad mini in 2012 as a direct challenger to numerous 7″ tablets from rival manufacturers, describing it as “every inch an iPad” with an uncompromised ability to run full-sized iPad apps. Today, Apple sells three different iPad mini models, all almost identical from the outside. Each model is sold in basic Wi-Fi-only and premium Wi-Fi + Cellular versions.

The original iPad mini ($249 to $379 from the Apple Store) is offered solely in a 16GB capacity and is the only model with a 1024×768 screen. It has an Apple A5 processor inside and is virtually identical in performance to a fifth-generation iPod touch and the since-discontinued iPad 2. However, the very nice 7.9″ screen size and a 7.2mm thickness make it a much better compromise for kids; the storage capacity is, however, extremely limited.

Debuted in late 2013, Apple’s iPad mini 2 ($299 to $479 from the Apple Store) was originally called the iPad mini with Retina display. It is offered in 16GB or 32GB capacities and has a 2048×1536 display with four times the resolution of the original model. The A7 processor inside is virtually identical in performance to the first iPad Air, and the wireless performance has been improved for both Wi-Fi and LTE cellular. Except for adding a second microphone for echo-cancellation, it looks the same on the outside as its predecessor.

Released in October 2014, the iPad mini 3 ($399 to $729 from the Apple Store) is virtually identical to the iPad mini 2. Apart from adding a Touch ID fingerprint sensor to the Home button and adding a gold color option to the prior silver and space gray versions, the iPad mini 3 is internally unchanged from the iPad mini 2, with the same screen, A7 processor, wireless performance, and battery life. It is sold in 16GB, 64GB, or 128GB capacities.

The iPad mini 2 and 3 have 326PPI screens, which is the same as the iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5c, 5s, and 6, a major improvement over the non-Retina display on the previous model. You can choose the version that fits your needs; we find any mini to be a great pick for kids, with the mini 2 offering a great “sweet spot” of performance and pricing; the mini 3 is a better option if you need more storage capacity.

289 iPad mini / 2 / 3 stories

December 2011 - December 2015

iPad mini Stories December 28, 2015

AAPL: 108.03

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Ever since I upgraded from an 11″ MacBook Air to a 13″ Retina MacBook Pro, I’ve been hunting for the perfect hybrid computer and camera bag — a compact backpack that could hold my laptop, DSLR, lenses, and accessories at the same time. Six months ago, I covered several MacBook/camera bags from Incase, including the DSLR Sling Pack I’ve loved for years, and larger “Pro” options for bigger laptops. Each hybrid bag makes different compromises: for my needs, the Sling Pack’s too small, and the Pro bags are too large. But users of 11″ MacBooks might find the Sling Pack “just right.”

Seeing potential in a new alternative, I jumped at the opportunity to test Booq’s upcoming Slimpack ($195), a MacBook-sized evolution of its earlier iPad/DSLR backpack $145 Python Slimpack. Booq makes excellent bags, but apart from offering a multipurpose camera/headphone compartment in Boa Flow, it hasn’t taken a deep dive into the camera-laptop hybrid category. While the new Slimpack’s laptop compartment is just a hint too small for the 13″ MacBook Pro and iPad Pro I’m currently using, it’s right-sized for 12″ or smaller MacBooks, as well as 10″ or smaller tablets, any of which can be paired with a full-sized DSLR, three or four lenses, and accessories. Bundled with a rain shield and Booq’s standard Terralinq loss recovery protection system, it’s a very nice bag, and one I would certainly use if I switch to a 12″ MacBook next year…

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iPad mini Stories December 15, 2015

AAPL: 110.49

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The iPads are not actually vertical – it's just the angle of the shot ...
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I reviewed the Brydge Keyboard for the iPad Air/Air 2 back in March. At the time, I found it hard to choose between this and the ClamCase Pro, and for a while switched between them. However, the Brydge won the battle in the end, becoming my daily driver for my iPad Air 2.

Brydge has two models for the smaller iPad, one for the iPad mini 1/2/3 and a second version coming out next month for the iPad mini 4. Both have the same all-aluminum construction, the same matching colors (silver, space gray and gold), the same three-month battery life and weigh the same 300g.

One of the beauties of the original is that you pretty much get a full-size MacBook keyboard for your iPad, with key sizes and spacing very close to that of a MacBook Air. They keys are slightly narrower and a touch closer together, but the typing experience is very similar. With the much smaller footprint of the iPad mini, however, I wondered how the BrydgeMini would compare …

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iPad mini Stories December 10, 2015

AAPL: 116.17

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Pixelmator for iPhone and iPad today received another big update with several milestone features for the mobile image editor. Perhaps most importantly, Pixelmator for iOS now fully integrates with iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil. This includes highly responsive brushes taking advantage of the Apple Pencil’s low latency drawing as well as palm rejection support. The Apple Pencil brushes adapt to pressure and tilt of the Apple Pencil accessory.

For the iPhone app, Pixelmator has added 3D Touch support throughout the application …

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iPad mini Stories December 8, 2015

AAPL: 118.28

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iPad mini Stories December 2, 2015

AAPL: 117.34

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As you may know from my prior opinion piece on the iPad Pro, I was on the fence about keeping Apple’s new 12.9″ tablet. One of our editors has loved his Pro since day one, another returned his after a week of testing, and a third effectively consigned his to Netflix duty. Up until the Pro came out, I was a very satisfied iPad Air 2 user, so I didn’t feel like I needed a bigger device.

But after three weeks with my iPad Pro, several things have changed my mind, and I’m officially a happy convert to the larger tablet. Moreover, I have no intention of going back to the smaller iPad Air or iPad mini form factors any time soon. Here are the five things that made a big difference to me…

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