Apple unveils the iPad mini 3: golden boy with Touch ID


Apple entered the small tablet fray two upgrade cycles ago, and did it with a fine success, creating some of the world's thinnest, lightest, and most premium-looking slates in the form of the iPad mini, and the next mini with Retina Display. The gang from Cupertino just took the stage there, and announced the third generation of the line, dubbed simply iPad mini 3.

"Stop the presses!" shouted noone ever for a consequent update of an already established tablet line, because, seriously, how many ways are there that you can improve a tablet? You can make it thinner, lighter, with a better display, and throw in some extra hardware and software features, and that's about it. Well, that's not precisely what Apple did with the iPad mini 3, as the small slate has remained largely the same. It's gotten the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, though, which means you can now use it with Apple Pay - the company's budding mobile payment system, too. Let's recap what Apple just unveiled.

Design


Last year, the iPad Air's major redesign followed the cues of the iPad mini, which comes to show how spot on has the small tablet line of Apple been in terms of chassis construction in the first place. The new iPad mini 3 retains the shape and form of its predecessor, as it's still the most elegant and premium small tablet on the market. This achievement is even more respectable given that the mini 3 is crafted out of metal, unlike most slates in the sub-10" category, which for the vast majority are plasticky. The mini 3 has also been given a new, golden color option, in line with the times, which looks pretty svelte. Apple also added the inevitable Touch ID scanner for the first time in a mini slate, which means you can now easily unlock the display, do iTunes and other purchases simply by pressing your finger against the home key.

Display


All current iPads come with the high-resolution "Retina" displays that flaunt 2048 x 1536 pixels, returning 324ppi for the 7.9-inch iPad mini 3, which is still more than enough for any usage you might want to throw at it. As for color presentation, the previous mini edition had some issues with the standard sRGB gamut, falling short of its full coverage, and having the white point off the mark. This has probably gone unnoticed by the average user, but we hope that Apple has improved the mini 3 in this respect, and it will become clear when we do our screen tests on the new slate.

Processor and storage


We expected the new iPads to be shipping with a souped-up version of the A8 processor that is in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Surprisingly enough, only the iPad Air 2 did, bearing the A8X, while the mini 3 has kept its 64-bit A7 processor, though it's unclear if it's clocked the same yet. As for the RAM amount,  it's probably remained 1 GB, as Apple didn't stress any silicon changes for the munchkin. The storage options have improved, though - while the basic mini 3 still starts at 16 GB, the next option jumps straight to 64 GB, and there's the 128 GB one, too.

Camera


Believe it or not, people use tablets to capture stills and video a lot, and the smaller the tablet is, the more likely it is that you will see more than a few at a concert or on the street, snapping away. The mini 3 comes with a 5 MP iSight camera, and a 1.2-megapixel front shooter for selfies. 

Battery


Battery life is no longer one of the greatest advantages of Appleā€™s tablets, as now Android, and even Windows slates, can run videos all day before dying out. Apple seems to be sticking with the 10-hour battery formula, which is plenty, and in line with the competition.

Price, release date, and carrier availability


Apple adheres strictly to its end-of-the-workweek release schedule, so you can rest assured that the new iPads will appear on store shelves on the next Friday, October 24th, with preorders beginning tomorrow, October 17th. Apple hasn't changed the pricing, either: the iPad mini 3 starts off at $399 for the Wi-Fi versions, and blasts off from there, in $100 increments, depending on the 64 GB or 128 GB storage amounts. The options with cellular connectivity are $529, $629, and $729, respectively. As before, the mini 3 supports 14 LTE bands, so you might want to check the local carrier support when you are globetrotting.

Related phones

iPad mini 3
  • Display 7.9" 2048 x 1536 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A7, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 6350 mAh

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15 Comments

1. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

It's an iPad Mini 2 with a fingerprint scanner. Revolutionary!... /s

2. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

It's an improved iPad Mini 2.

15. walkman800

Posts: 113; Member since: Aug 26, 2014

In what possible way?! I dare you to name one

3. twens

Posts: 1180; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

So like seriously, why would I buy this? The iPad 2-3-4-air can all do the same thing equally. Someone really needs to convince me why people will go out and buy this?

7. KingDingaLing

Posts: 324; Member since: Oct 11, 2013

I have an iPad 2. Unfortunately with the iOS 8 update, I have some pretty bad lagging issues. Although I could find a way to downgrade the software, I would miss out on features of the newer OS. Therefore, I would buy it.

4. LiyanaBG

Posts: 381; Member since: Nov 07, 2013

1GB RAM really. HTC Nexus 9 wins all around.

5. csoulr666

Posts: 116; Member since: Nov 04, 2013

Is 32 an unlucky number for Apple? IMO they should have removed the 16 GB model. But I guess the price/profit margin comes in play here.

8. KingDingaLing

Posts: 324; Member since: Oct 11, 2013

I agree. 16gb seems very low these days. But hey, if it Doesn't make dollars, it doesn't make cents/sense.

6. power_x

Posts: 264; Member since: Aug 28, 2013

This is basically iPad mini 2S IMO and this is coming from an apple fan

9. glocklover1791

Posts: 4; Member since: Jan 03, 2014

Really disappointed Apple didn't show much love for the mini this year! Absolutely no reason to get rid of my iPad mini 2.

10. acn2003

Posts: 27; Member since: Mar 26, 2014

the article is all apply apple!.. guess the author didnt know about a device named Nexus 9 which got released a day back!...

11. kane74

Posts: 44; Member since: Jan 24, 2014

I've got an Ipad mini 2... I love it, but It would be perfect... if it wasn't for its slightly heavy weight... They could've improved just that

12. zaza991988

Posts: 15; Member since: Aug 27, 2014

If i have to guess. I would say that iPad mini 2 cannibalized the sales of the iPad air( similar specs, 100 dollars cheaper). So they gave the iPad mini 3 lower specs on purpose than the iPad air 2 to make the air 2 the highest end model. But in doing so i think the mini 2 will hurt the sales of the mini 3. I think the touch ID and apple pay is a nice feature. but 100 dollars cheaper device ( 25 % percent off the price) is much nicer.

13. alumoyo

Posts: 392; Member since: Aug 26, 2013

I think you are almost where I am. Definitely cannibalisation has a lot to do with it but my theory is iPhone 6 Plus - no point for them doing a full upgrade in a segment which is being killed by phablets when they've just launched their own phablet last month: http://www.phonearena.com/news/IDC-lowers-forecast-of-tablet-sales-for-2014_id59995 http://www.gsmarena.com/prediction_phablets_to_outsell_small_tablets_in_2014-news-7413.php

14. geordie8t1 unregistered

haha genius phone arena....your quotes are stupid sometimes..... "its still the most elegant and premium small tablet on the market" erm hardly.....there are plenty of other tabs out there that are just as nice as this now very dated design.........and apple will charge top price again for this and all they have done is from what i can see.... a fingerprint reader which is still pointless in my view and a paint job.....there is nothing else different right? well from the quick specs read up on apple site. whatch all the Sh**p run out and buy it in their millions LOL, much rather buy a galaxy tab s, or maybe the new nexus 9 or the new sony xperia tab 8", all MUCH better products then this 3 year old tablet

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