The Differences Between iPad Mini Models
With the recent launch of the iPad Mini 4, there are now 4 different 7.9” tablets produced by the Cupertino company. Apple decided to discontinue the sales of iPad Mini 3 on their store, replacing it with the new model entirely. The original iPad Mini hasn't been available for a while now, so you are left with the choice between two models: the Apple iPad Mini 2 and the iPad Mini 4.
Now, what were the main differences between the models over the years? Well, size, naturally. Turns out the original Apple iPad Mini started off on the thin side: 0.01 of an inch thinner than Mini 2 and 3, which are identical in size, while the latest Apple iPad Mini 4 is the thinnest of them all (0.24 inches compared to 0.29 of the Mini 2/3 pair). The latest model is also 0.13 inches longer than the predecessors. The second and third generations are heaviest: 0.75 lbs compared to 0.69 lbs for the iPad Mini, and a cool 0.65 of the iPad Mini 4.
Other differences lay in the actual design, or should I say component placement. The original model had its microphone on the top side, while the second and third generations had it moved to the backside. iPad Mini 4 has the primary mic next to the camera and a secondary one above the volume button. There’s also no more mute button on the iPad Mini 4. Then there’s the Touch I, which has only made its way onto the Minis starting with the Apple iPad Mini 3. 64 and 128 GB versions were only available from the 3rd generation and will also be sold with iPad Mini 4.
The most important differences are inside the Cupertino wonders. iPad Mini 4 is naturally the most powerful and fastest of them all with its A8 chip with 64-bit architecture, M8 motion coprocessor, 2GB RAM. iPad Mini 2 and iPad Mini 3 were limited to A7 chip with 64-bit architecture, A7 motion coprocessor, 1GB RAM. iPad Mini 1 had A5 chip with 32-bit architecture, no motion coprocessor, and only 512 of RAM.
Display differences are also significant and go like this: 7.9-inch with 1024x768 at 163 ppi for iPad Mini 1; 7.9 inch LED backlit Multi Touch with 2048x1536 at 326 ppi, oleophobic coating for iPad Mini 2/3; 7.9 inch LED backlit 2048x1536 resolution at 326 ppi, oleophobic coating, fully laminated for iPad Mini 4.
As for the cameras, there was much-anticipated upgrade to the rear camera. Since the launch of the iPad Mini line, Apple was only offering 5MP on the back and 1.2MP on the front. iPad Mini 4 now offers 8MP and 1.2MP combination. Naturally, the technology is still old even compared to the iPhones, but there is now burst mode and slow motion videos available on the iPad Mini 4. And word to the wise - perhaps we’re not supposed to be taking photos with the iPads at all.
Other differences include faster Touch ID over the 3rd generation, upgraded WiFi and Bluetooth, and split screen support in iOS 9. The most interesting surprise was how Apple managed to maintain 10 hour expected battery life of the iPad Mini 4, at the same time cutting its capacity from 6,471 mAh in the Mini 2/3 to 5,124 mAh.
Pricing-wise the iPad Mini 4 is the same deal as the Mini 3 when it was launched. The surviving iPad Mini 2 is now a truly budget tablet.