Apple iPhone 13 Launch: Apple iPad (9th Gen), iPad Mini (2021)

Apple updates its entry-level iPad portfolio with faster processors, Centre Stage for video calls, and some notable changes for the iPad mini

Apple used its launch event on Tuesday 14 September to unveil a raft of new products, including the iPhone 13, coupled with updates to its iPad and Watch portfolio.

Apple carried out a much needed refresh of its entry-level iPads, with the new iPad (9th generation), as well as the new iPad mini.

At the same time the Cupertino-based tech giant also unveiled the Apple Watch Series 7, as well as its iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro portfolio.

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iPad (9th generation)

First off, Apple CEO Tim Cook used the event on Tuesday to introduce Apple’s “most popular iPad”, the entry level 10.2-inch iPad, with prices starting at just £319.

This device was last updated 11 months ago in 2020, but it now has been tweaked to include the more powerful A13 Bionic chip (not as powerful as the M1 processor), and Apple says it is 20 percent faster than the previous model.

The new iPad keeps its ‘all day battery.’

On the surface it looks much the same as the 2020 version (including the big touch ID button on the front – it is now the only Apple iPad still using this feature), and comes with a 10.2-inch Retina display (1620 x 2160 LCD screen) with True Tone (a lighting feature that adjusts brightness and colour based on a person’s surroundings).

And recognising that more and more people (adults and schoolchildren) are using this basic iPad for video calls, Apple also refreshed the front-facing camera with the addition of a 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Centre Stage.

Centre Stage adjusts the framing to keep the person in the centre of the picture when they are making video calls.

In addition, there is support for Apple Pencil (1st generation) and the Smart Keyboard (from £159).

Another new feature is that Apple has finally opted to double the storage of the previous generation, meaning this latest iPad now comes with 64GB storage, instead of the tiny 32GB previously.

A more expensive option offers 256GB storage, but this is priced at £459.

“iPad has never been more essential for working, learning, and communicating, and we’re excited to bring one of the biggest updates ever to our most popular iPad,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

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“With the powerful A13 Bionic, more engaging video calls with Centre Stage, and double the storage, the new iPad delivers advanced capabilities, versatility, and simplicity at an incredible value,” Joswiak said.

The tablet will come with iPadOS 15 pre-installed, and there are Wi-Fi or 4G versions of the new iPad. This means there is no 5G version, but in reality most people with opt for the Wi-Fi only version, and no 5G chipset helps keep the price down.

The new iPad comes in either silver or grey.

It is available to order from Tuesday online, and in stores beginning Friday, 24 September.

iPad mini

The next new device that Tim Cook introduced was the new iPad mini, which comes with a larger 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display, a new processor, and a number of other notable changes.

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Under the hood, the new iPad mini boasts the brand new A15 Bionic chip, which delivers a 40 percent CPU and 80 percent GPU upgrade to the smallest iPad.

Screen wise, there is a Liquid Retina 8.3-inch display offering up to 500 nits of brightness, with a resolution of 2266 x 1488.

The Touch ID is located in the lock button on top of the tablet, and there is a new USB-C port, and 5G connectivity.

The rear camera has been upgraded to 12MP, and it can record video in 4K, while the front-facing camera has been upgraded to a 12MP ultra-wide camera that includes the Center Stage feature.

There is also support Apple Pencil (2nd generation).

“With its ultra-portable design and wide range of uses from everyday tasks to creative and enterprise applications, there’s nothing else like iPad mini,” said Greg Joswiak.

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“With a new all-screen Liquid Retina display, massive boost in performance, new advanced cameras on the front and back, Centre Stage, USB-C, 5G, and support for Apple Pencil, the new iPad mini is a huge leap forward that can be held in the palm of your hand,” said Joswiak.

Prices start at £479 for the Wi-Fi only version with 64GB. If you want 5G connectivity included, it will cost £619.

There are four colours, namely Purple, Pink, Space Gray, and Starlight (this is a cream-like colour).

The new iPad mini is available to order beginning on Tuesday, and will be in stores beginning Friday, 24 September.