Apple kicked off its hardware event today by revealing two updated iPads that improve upon existing models. The base, 10.2-inch iPad may look the same as the previous version, but it packs better performance and a more advanced camera. The new iPad mini, on the other hand, has been completely redesigned to look like a smaller iPad Pro. Here's how you can pre-order both the new 10.2-inch iPad and the new iPad mini.
Similarly to last year, Apple focused on updating the internals of this iPad rather than its design. Inside is a A13 Bionic chipset with neural engine, which the company claims will provide 20 percent better performance than the previous tablet. The other major update is the new 12MP ultra wide, front-facing camera that supports Apple's Center Stage feature. This allows the camera to automatically pan and zoom to keep you in focus during video calls even as you move around. Apple debuted this feature on the latest iPad Pros and now even those opting for the most budget-friendly iPad can get that advanced feature.
The base iPad still has 10.2-inch Retina display but it now supports TrueTone, which will make it easier on the eyes. It still has a physical Home button on its bottom edge and it still supports the first-generation Apple Pencil for those that want to doodle and take notes with the tablet. Notably, the base configuration comes with double the storage than the previous model — 64GB instead of 32GB — which was a much-needed update.
Apple needed to give the iPad mini some love. The company's smallest tablet received a minor update two years ago, and hadn't received a big update for three years before that. So the 2021 iPad mini represents the biggest change for the compact tablet in roughly five years, and Apple essentially made it look like a tiny version of its iPad Pros. It has an 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display that extends almost edge-to-edge, and that means the physical Home button is gone. Apple move its TouchID technology to the top button on this tablet, which makes it similar to the iPad Air. It also supports the second-generation Apple Pencil and the accessory can magnetically attach to the mini's side, just as it does with the iPad Pros.
The new iPad mini also has the 12MP ultra wide, front-facing camera found on the base iPad, which means Center Stage calls will be available on this device, too. The rear camera is a new 12MP shooter with Focus Pixels, True Tone flash and the ability to take Smart HDR photos.
Inside the iPad mini is the A15 Bionic chip, which has a six-core CPU and a five-core GPU, and Apple promises 40 percent better performance out of this slab than the previous version. It also has the neural engine which makes for more efficient machine-learning experiences. It'll come in WiFi and WiFi + Cellular versions and it now supports WiFi 6 and 5G connectivity. Another small yet important change is in the iPad mini's charging method — gone is the old Lightning port, as it's been replaced with a USB-C port for faster, more efficient charging.