Apple Refreshes iPad Air and iPad mini with A12 Bionic Chip, Apple Pencil Support

After months of rumors, it's official: the iPad Air and iPad mini are back. Apple has revamped two of its oldest flagship tablets with powerful specs and new features, including A12 Bionic processors and Apple Pencil support.

iPad mini vs iPad Air: Specs Compared

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Row 0 - Cell 0 iPad miniiPad Air
Starting Price$399$499
Display7.9-inch, 2048 x 1536-pixel10.5-inch, 2224 x 1668-pixel
CPUA12 Bionic
Storage64GB, 256GB
PortsLightning, nano-SIM, headphone
ColorsSilver, Space Gray, Gold
Size8 x 5.3 x 0.2 inches9.8 x 6.8 x 0.2 inches
Weight0.66 pounds1 pound

iPad mini

The new iPad mini starts at $399 and packs a 7.9-inch, 2048 x 1536 True Tone Retina display as well as the same A12 Bionic chip found in the iPhone XR and XS. Apple says the new model is three times faster than the iPad mini 4, and is built to deliver 10 hours of battery life. 

It's also the first iPad mini with Apple Pencil support, joining the iPad Pro and standard iPad. The new iPad mini is just 6.1mm thin, weighs a feathery 0.66 pounds, and retains the Touch ID sensor, headphone jack and Lightning port from previous models. The tablet has an 8-megapixel, f/2.4 aperture rear-facing camera, and a 7-megapixel f/2.2 aperture FaceTime camera. 

MORE: Apple iPad Guide - News, Reviews and Tutorials

iPad Air

The new iPad Air starts at $499 and features a 10.5-inch, 2224 x 1668 Retina display with True Tone capabilities. Like the iPad mini, it has an A12 Bionic processor and Apple Pencil support, and packs a Touch ID fingerprint sensor as well as Lightning and 3.5mm connections. The Air has the same camera setup as the mini: an 8-megapixel lens on the back and a 7-megapixel selfie snapper. 

iPad mini vs iPad Air: Which is Right For You?

Packing an A12 Bionic chip, the iPad mini is just as powerful as the Air. However, because of its smaller size, the mini is still best when you're on the go. A couple of great uses for the iPad mini include reading on the couch or jotting down notes in class.

You can also use the mini to scan through social media feeds or send emails as you multitask at home. The iPad mini makes for an excellent travel companion --- just slip this 0.2-inch, 0.66-pound slate into your purse or backpack and bring it with you wherever you go.

A replacement for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro from 2017, the iPad Air is the best option for people who want a premium tablet with a large display. Yes, the new iPad Pro has a brawnier A12X chipset, but that $799 slate is targeted at professionals, whereas the Air is a more consumer-friendly option.

Recommended uses for the Air include creating spreadsheets, presenting slideshows, editing photos and videos, or watching movies and TV shows on its large, high-resolution display. You can also use the Air as your primary computing device thanks to its Smart Keyboard support.

Release Date

The new iPad mini and iPad Air are available now in Silver, Space Gray and Gold variations. They can both be purchased with either 64GB or 256GB of storage, and both work with Apple's $99 1st-Gen Apple Pencil. Both of these tablets seem like a much-needed refresh of two of Apple's oldest slates, and we look forward to getting them in our labs and giving them the full review treatment.

Michael Andronico
A devout gamer and tech enthusiast, Mike Andronico joined the Laptop team in July 2013. With a B.A. in Journalism from Purchase College and experience at GameNGuide, Examiner and 2D-X, Mike tackles everything from iPhone rumors to in-depth hardware reviews.