“If the iPad mini 3 looks familiar, it is with good reason – virtually nothing has changed compared to the iPad mini 2 in both design and dimensions,” Gordon Kelly reports for Forbes. “One small visual change is you can now get the iPad mini 3 in gold as well as space gray and silver (like the iPhone 6/6 Plus and Air 2), but otherwise the only other tweak is the addition of a Touch ID home button.”

“Apple didn’t only leave the exterior of the iPad mini 3 unchanged, it also kept the same 7.7-inch 2048 x 1536 pixel Retina display. Few will be complaining here as the iPad mini 2 was the model to make the step up to Retina (the original iPad mini has a lackluster 1024 x 768 native resolution) and it still looks superb,” Kelly reports. “If little was expected externally of the iPad mini 3, there was certainly greater hope of an upgrade internally but here Apple delivered perhaps the biggest shock of the night: it uses the same chipset and processor as the iPad mini 2. While Apple has yet to clarify whether there has been any increase in CPU or GPU clock rate, this is extremely disappointing.”

“So if Apple isn’t upgrading the design or internals, what exactly makes the iPad mini 3 worthy of its ‘3’ moniker? Seemingly the integration of a Touch ID home button/fingerprint sensor,” Kelly reports. “Yes if ever the importance of the Touch ID home button to Apple’s grander plans for Apple Pay needed to be spelt out, it is in the shape of the iPad mini 3… Perhaps the most interesting news after the iPad mini 3’s lack of overall improvement, however, is the price drop for the iPad mini 2 and original iPad mini. Apple will continue to sell both generations with a $100 saving on the mini 2 (16GB: $299; 32GB: $349) and $150 saving on the mini (16GB: $249). The benefit to be had here is with the second generation iPad mini 2, but a $249 entry point for the iPad mini (1) does bring Apple into new bargain pricing territory.”

“What this does suggest, however, is a drastic change of priorities at Apple. Whereas the original iPad mini quickly overtook the full size iPad as top seller, now it seems Apple has gotten sick of the cheaper version taking centre stage,” Kelly reports. “Touch ID may be crucial to Apple’s long term strategy and therefore to get into the mini range, but otherwise the limited changes made to the iPad mini 3 feel like Apple pushing existing mini owners towards either the Air range or the iPhone 6 Plus.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: When the iPad mini had the same processor and features as the iPad Air, varying only by screen size, it struck us a a bit weird. After all, the MacBook Pro is a step up from the MacBook Air, even at the same screen size. The advancements of iPad Air over iPad mini in many respects (processor, camera, RAM, thiness, etc.) helps to much better differentiate the two siblings better than just screen size.

Even though Apple will never reveal exact numbers, it’ll be interesting to see how the $249 original iPad mini (non-Retina) fares. We’ll know if it succeeds or fails in Apple’s eyes if it lasts until next year and especially if iPad mini 2 assumes its low-end, entry-level position. If iPad mini 3 immediately becomes the “low-end” option upon the arrival of iPad mini 4, we’ll know that it didn’t work and/or that Apple wants to only sell iOS devices that offer Touch ID.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Chris” for the heads up.]

Related article:
Apple’s new iPad Air 2 is 13% thinner than a pencil; Touch ID a boon for enterprise users – October 16, 2014