Apple Christmas: iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3

Apple has done it again in 2014 with their newest iPad models, the iPad Air 2 and Mini 3, making their way onto Christmas lists everywhere. If an iPad is on your Christmas wish list or you’re shopping for one for someone else, here’s a rundown of the new features you can expect to see in the new models:


iPad Air 2

Believe it or not, the new iPad Air 2 is even thinner than last year’s iteration and the iPhone 6. At 6.1mm it’s thinner than a pencil and weighs a mere 437g. While the device is more portable than the original iPad Air, it still features a nice big 9.7” Retina display that is ideal for those of us who don’t have the best eyesight. In addition to the new thinner profile, the new iPad Air 2 has gotten another design upgrade with a touch ID sensor in the home button. The sensor uses fingerprint authentication and comes in handy for unlocking the device and iTunes transactions.


In terms of performance, the new iPad Air 2 packs a mean punch with a new A8X processor and RAM upgrade to 2GB from last model’s 1GB. Basically, this means that the new Air has more power to handle graphics and multitasking. Gamers and photo and video editors will find these upgrades especially exciting.


The cameras on the iPad Air 2 have gotten some upgrades as well. The rear-facing camera has been bumped from 5MP to 8MP and has improved face detection. It also has some new features, such as slo-mo and time lapse. The front-facing camera is still 1.2MP but the image it captures is much clearer and it handles low-light conditions much better. These improvements make for a much-improved FaceTime experience.


iPad Mini 3

The new iPad Mini, hasn’t changed much in terms of design. It’s 7.5mm thick, which is thicker than the iPad Air but is made up for by the smaller 7.9” Retina display. If you have good eyesight and don’t suffer from fat finger syndrome, the Mini 3 brings portability to the next level especially since it packs 10 hours of battery life. The new Mini has also gotten the new touch ID sensor in its home button.


When it comes to performance, the iPad Mini 3 has an A7 processor and 1GB of RAM. These specs offer great gaming performance (if you’re into that), speedy web surfing, and a very responsive touch experience.


The cameras on the new iPad Mini 3 are similar to the ones the last iteration of the Mini: the rear-facing camera is 5MP and the front-facing one is 1.2MP. There are some new camera features to play with, like the time lapse and panorama modes.


Both the new iPad models are sporting iOS 8, which has some fantastic new capabilities like Continuity. Continuity allows you to start a task on one iOS device and continue it on another. For example, you can start writing an email on your iPhone and finish writing it and send it using your iPad. If you have a Mac with OS X Yosemite, you can even continue tasks on your computer.

By Mike Agerbo

November 11, 2014