Apple has recently announced the successor to the iPad mini 4, calling it simply as iPad mini, which is otherwise known online as iPad mini 5 or iPad mini 2019.
The last model was launched way back in 2015, and it has long been overdue for a refresh. Going by just that, whether it's worth an upgrade or not seems like a no-brainer, but looking closer at the differences — or rather, similarities — between the two, it's not as simple as that.
iPad Mini 2019 vs. iPad Mini 4
The new iPad mini has a True Tone display, but when it comes to the screen, that's as far as the differences go. The two have the same 7.9-inch panel with a 2,048 x 1,536 resolution and 326 ppi, and they also measure the same at 8.0 x 5.31 x 0.24 inches. Weight isn't a defining factor either. The new model is 0.66 pounds, while the iPad mini 4 is 0.65 pounds.
Both of them share the same 8-megapixel camera that offer 1,080p video recording at 30 fps, but in terms of the front snapper, the iPad mini 5 builds on its predecessor's 1.2-megapixel sensor with a 7-megapixel lens. They're also powered by iOS 12, and they sport a headphone jack and a Lightning port as well as Touch ID support.
The speedier A12 Bionic chip, Bluetooth 5.0, first-generation Apple Pencil support — these are the biggest improvements the new iPad mini brings to the table. In contrast, the iPad mini 4 has an A8 processor and Bluetooth 4.0, and it's not compatible with the Apple Pencil. The takeaway here is that the newer model is a lot faster, and users can take notes or doodle on it with the Cupertino brand's stylus, which is a must-have feature for some creatives and professionals.
RAM has yet to be confirmed, but it's potentially 3 GB, if a recent Geekbench benchmark turns out to be referring to the iPad mini 5. In that case, it's going to have 1 GB more when it comes to RAM than the iPad mini 4, which has 2 GB of RAM, for the record.
Its battery isn't spelled out in milliamperes, but at any rate, it's listed as "19.1-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer" cell. This promises up to 10 hours of mixed usage and up to 9 hours for the Wi-Fi + Cellular variant, similar to what the iPad mini 4 delivers.
Now some possible drawbacks here include the lack of Face ID, not to mention that the bezels aren't as narrow as one would hope, or in other words, it's not as thin as the 2018 iPad Pro's. It's already 2019, after all, and the current design just makes it feel old, as if it were already outdated out of the box. Put differently, it doesn't exactly feel like a next-generation iPad mini.
Just like the previous model, it also comes in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray. Storage options have been simplified down to two choices: 64 GB for $399 and 256 GB for $549. The now-discontinued iPad mini 4 came in 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB variants, and it's still available in places like Amazon for $379.99 for the 128 GB version.
So Is It Worth The Upgrade?
Without real-life tests yet, it's hard to say, but from what can be seen on paper, it can be boiled down to this: If Apple Pencil compatibility (again, support is only for the first-generation model), faster performance with the speedier A12 Bionic chip, and other improvements such as the 7-megapixel front camera (maybe), and the bigger 256 GB storage option all matter, then yes, it's worth the upgrade. On the other hand, if the iPad mini 4 already performs well enough to cater to everyday needs and provides enough storage, and if Apple Pencil support doesn't matter, then there's really no incentive in trading up, certainly not in the design department.
It's also possible that the old tablet users have at hand could already be near the point of dying out, but even then, they might be better off with the standard $329 iPad and save $70. That's just for the 32 GB model, though.