iPad mini 3 vs. iPad mini 2

“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

23 Comments

  1. Won’t bother with the new mini, but just might get the iPad mini 2 with 32 GB, which is cheaper than the 16 GB iPad mini 3. Touch ID will be most useful in my next iPhone but just isn’t that big a deal for me on a tablet.

  2. This just made me glad that I bought the 6 Plus. I absolutely loved the iPad mini, but now that I have the 6 Plus, I’m no longer using the mini and will likely upgrade to the new Air.

    I wouldn’t read too much into Apple’s decision to keep the original mini in the lineup. It’s still a very capable iPad, especially for kids. Note that they didn’t even mention the iPod touch, let alone upgrade them.

    Apple wants to have a really low entry point and so this is it. There’s also no way of knowing what Apple’s situation is in terms of inventory, not just of the units themselves, but if components. It’s possible they’re keeping it because of component commitments, inventory, or build efficiency.

  3. So Forbes thinks because one Apple product doesn’t mark off enough spec checkboxes that it represents “a drastic change of priorities at Apple.”?

    It would be so appropriate if all the people at Forbes writing about Apple had keyboards that made clown horn sounds with every keystroke.

  4. The keynote let me down. The iPad Air 2 and the new iMac is pure magic! I was right about the Mac Mini and the shock was they lowered it by $100.00. Those things were great! But the first let down that they done nothing with the iPad Mini 3. It should not be even called 3 it should be called 2.5. The whole Apple line has 802.11ac what happen to the Mini? Anti reflective coating? A8 processor? The M8? Thiner form factor? I have the “Mini 1” with cellular and I may stay with it unless it goes $100.00 lower like Apple at AT&T or a refurbished 2. The 3 forget about it. My biggest disappointment was no ATV upgrade. Apple is about to loose the living room.

    1. You’re right, the iPad mini is a ho-hum upgrade but maybe Apple’s just sitting back and seeing how sales of the iPhone 6 Plus affect the iPad mini’s sales. If it does seriously eat into iPad mini sales, like many think it will, then there might not be any reason to dedicate a lot of resources to a device that possibly has no long-term future.

      Another avenue Apple is possibly taking is that they want to move the iPad line being more recognized as a productivity / content creation device, hence the A8X SoC in the Air 2 and rumors of a 12.9″ iPad.

      1. The problem with drawing any conclusions about iPad mini viability based on sales of iPad mini 3, is that the addition of the TouchID sensor and gold colour option is simply not worth the $100 bump over the iPad mini 2. If you must have 64 GB then mid-level mini 3 is a no-brainer, but those satisfied with 32 GB will be more than happy with the mini 2.

  5. As if anyone at Forbes, or anyplace else, for that matter, would have a clue as to what Apple’s priorities are.

    All these analysts have a vision so narrow that they cannot see the obvious in where Apple is heading.

  6. Personally, I would have liked to have seen the iPad line simplified to the following;

    iPad mini 2 – $299
    iPad mini 3 – $399
    iPad Air 2 – $499

    This does two things;

    1. Creates less confusion for the consumer
    2. Makes things easier for developers

    Now with the A5 chip still sticking around, that means iOS 9 will have to support it. There are still many people who are having performance issues with iOS 8 on A5-based devices.

    Plus developers have to commit time and resources to supporting it. The A5 is Apple’s “Windows XP.” There are many people who have devices running it but it needs to die.

    1. Good point. The A5 needs to go.

      It’s continued presence implies that iOS9 will go on at least the Mini 1 next year.

      Of course easy for me to say now that I just moved on from Mini 1

    2. I totally agree.

      I am rather upset how Apple chooses to update its product line.
      AppleTV still is an A5. I have two so I can’t be too upset. Just wish it would by now, be much more improved with an A8 M8 chip – games and apps — so Apple purposely falls behind Roku – until Apple believes they have a better solution… by which fragments the OS people – sure you can argue that the Apple TV still performs well as planned with A5 even though iOS best runs a A7 or A8.

      However, the topic is iPad mini. And my perspective is that iPad mini is by far the best suited size for portability. Small enough to carry around and not be in the way, yet big enough to actually do some basic movie editing, Garageband, Keynote, Pages, Numbers work etc. Having the latest, pushes forward with advancements with Apple notation of Cloud apps and creating content with our devices. And the fact that it is not running the top of the line A8 M8 chip – really really bothers me.

      Also – I love this idea of S. Mulji – simplifying the product line.

      Simplification of the product line is key – in my opinion, it would go like this. The naming conventions iPad mini 3 truly sucks. What happened to the speech a while back – that iPad 3 was just going to be called “iPad” , dropping the numbering and marking the true level and vision which Apple had initially for iPad. Yet here we go with iPad Air, iPad mini 3… iPhone 6 blah blah ugh!

      Just chose what type of device you want – an iPhone or iPad.
      Then chose what screen size you want; large, medium, small or tiny.
      Next pick the storage capacity, 32/64 or 128 Gb.
      And lastly, the processor; the latest or last years.

      A)

      iPhone 32/64/128 Gb – A8 M8 (obviously has WiFi and Cellular)
      or with an option for last years A7 M7 – a cost savings

      iPhone large (the iPad size screen)
      iPhone medium iPad mini size screen)
      iPhone small (iPhone 6 plus screen size)
      iPhone tiny (iPod touch screen size).

      B)

      iPod 32/64/128 Gb – A8 M8 (obviously WiFi only):
      or with an option for last years A7 M7 – a cost savings

      iPad large (the iPad size screen)
      iPad medium iPad mini size screen)
      iPad small (iPhone 6 plus screen size)
      iPad tiny (iPod touch screen size).

      — NOW I do love the Touch ID and how beautifully it ties into purchases… yet iPad mini 3 I will not buy – until Apple improves the chip offering.

      I believe Apple is not stupid and realized – perhaps even gambled that the iPhone 6 plus would possible cannibalize on iPad mini sales… we will never be able to see because Apple isn’t allowing use to compare oranges to oranges.

      Last years iPad mini 2 is priced about 100 dollars less.
      So is the iPad mini 3 (Touch ID) a 100 dollar value? Come on!

      Apple you lost a sale.

  7. I was surprised last year when both Air and Mini 2 had A7’s. I am very surprised now that the Mini 3 still has an A7.

    I took the opportunity to buy a used Air and a couple of used Mini 2’s. A vast improvement in performance over my Mini’s, and on the used market, the premium for 4G and memory is much much less.

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