Why Apple's iPad Mini 4 Deserved More Attention on Sept. 9

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-09-21
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Why Apple's iPad Mini 4 Deserved More Attention on Sept. 9
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    Why Apple's iPad Mini 4 Deserved More Attention on Sept. 9

    We look at Apple's iPad Mini 4 and why it may have deserved more attention than it received at the company's press event earlier this month.
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    Even Slight Design Improvements Are Nice to See
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    Even Slight Design Improvements Are Nice to See

    Apple didn't make major design improvements to the iPad Mini 4, but the device did get a few upgrades. For one, it's now 18 percent thinner than its predecessor. The device also weighs 0.65 pounds, making it the lightest tablet the company currently offers. Apple, meanwhile, has kept key design features, including the iPad Mini's nice screen and overall solid design.
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    The Better Processor Means Improved Performance
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    The Better Processor Means Improved Performance

    Apple's iPad Mini 4 ships with the A8 processor and the company's M8 motion coprocessor. According to Apple, the system-on-a-chip, which comes with 64-bit computing, will deliver 30 percent better CPU performance than the chip found in the iPad Mini 3.
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    Better Graphics Performance to Handle Gaming
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    Better Graphics Performance to Handle Gaming

    In addition to enhanced CPU performance, the iPad Mini 4 comes with better graphics. Thanks to the A8 processor, Apple says that the iPad Mini 4 will be capable of delivering 60 percent faster graphics, ultimately meaning better experiences for gaming, browsing photos and even editing video. The graphics aren't high-end, but they're good enough for a small slate.
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    It's Optimized for iOS 9
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    It's Optimized for iOS 9

    Although customers will be able to run iOS 9 on the iPad Mini 3, the iPad Mini 4 has been optimized for Apple's latest mobile operating system. In fact, the company made clear that customers who run iOS 9 on the device will find a much better experience than on the preceding tablet. Apple's iOS 9 will work well on nearly all current Apple slates, but it'll be best on the company's latest generation of products.
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    There's Touch ID for Enhanced Security
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    There's Touch ID for Enhanced Security

    Enterprise customers and those who are serious about security should consider that Touch ID comes bundled with the iPad Mini 4. That means users will be able to log into the device with their fingerprint, as well as make payments in-app without being forced to input a password. Touch ID is an important security feature that shouldn't be overlooked when evaluating the iPad Mini 4.
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    Inside the iPad Mini 4
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    Inside the iPad Mini 4

    According to iFixit, a company that tears down technology products, the iPad Mini 4 is actually a bit of a hybrid internally. The company found that some of the components in the iPad Mini 4 match those of the iPad Air 2, while the others match the features in the iPad Mini 3. In other words, Apple's smallest tablets combine design concepts and components from both devices.
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    There's Enough Storage to Get the Job Done
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    There's Enough Storage to Get the Job Done

    Unlike some of its competitors that sell low-end tablets at a cut-rate price, Apple has decided to bundle ample storage in the iPad Mini 4. Customers will find that in the WiFi model, as well as the WiFi-and-cellular model, Apple has storage options ranging from 16GB to 128GB. Although 16GB will likely be too little for some power users, the 128GB option seems like a great option for those who have a bunch of apps and videos they want to store on the device.
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    Super-Fast WiFi and LTE
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    Super-Fast WiFi and LTE

    To its credit, Apple didn't slouch when it came to connectivity in the iPad Mini 4. The device's latest-generation WiFi and LTE chips offer possible speeds of up to 866M bps on wireless and up to 150M bps on cellular networks. While it's impossible that customers will get speeds that high, the fact that the iPad Mini 4 can accommodate just about any connection today is nice to see.
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    The Cameras Matter on the iPad Mini 4
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    The Cameras Matter on the iPad Mini 4

    Unlike Apple's new iPhones or the company's iPad Pro, the iPad Mini 4 is available now to customers in a wide range of models. The iPad Mini 4 starts at $399 for the lowest-end WiFi model and jumps to $599 on the 128GB WiFi version. Customers who are after the LTE alternative can expect to pay $529 to $729 for the device, depending on the amount of storage they want.
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    Some Context on Pricing, Availability
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    Some Context on Pricing, Availability

    Unlike Apple's new iPhones or the company's iPad Pro, the iPad Mini 4 is available now to customers in a wide range of models. The iPad Mini 4 starts at $399 for the lowest-end WiFi model and jumps to $599 on the 128GB WiFi version. Customers who are after the LTE alternative can expect to pay $529 to $729 for the device, depending on the amount of storage they want.
 

At its Sept. 9 event, Apple spent much of the time talking about its Apple Watch, the new iPhone, and the iPad Pro with its 12.9-inch screen. Yet, effectively lost amid the talk about all these other products was the iPad Mini 4, the company's smallest and lightest slate. This low-end device ostensibly attempts to capture more casual users or those in need of more portability than what may be offered in some of its bigger cousins. Apple's decision to keep its pitch short for the iPad Mini 4 likely had something to do with the fact that it's not much of an update over its predecessor. It may also have something to do with Apple wanting to put the focus on the more expensive iPad Pro. But the iPad Mini 4 earns its spot as a notable new product from Apple and comes with some upgraded features that new entrants to the tablet space as well as those who already own one of Apple's small tablet models would probably like to find. Read on to find out what customers can expect from Apple's iPad Mini 4 and why it may have deserved more attention than it received at the company's press event earlier this month.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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