Almost twice a year, Apple makes announcements about their new hardware and digital products. In the most recent one (14 Sep 2021), they released their latest iPads (iPad 9 & iPad Mini 6), iPhones (13 & 13 pro), and Apple Watch series 7. Among them all, we think the product with the biggest updates is the iPad Mini. It also happened to be the most relevant to what we do.
So here are a few feature updates that we think are really cool.
Aluminium Enclosure + Bigger Screen
Many have described this new iPad Mini design as a smaller version of the iPad Air 4 (or iPad Air 2020). It has a 100% recycled aluminium enclosure with flat edges and slim bezels. It's got a bigger display compared to the previous Mini 5 - 8.3" vs 7.9"; even though the length is 0.3" shorter (7.69" vs 8").
Touch ID On Power Button
The home button with Touch ID on the front is gone in this design. In place of it is a Touch ID on the power button which is similar to the iPad Air 4. Removing the home button means more space for the screen. While using a fingerprint ID instead of Face ID means the user don't need to bring the iPad Mini up to the face if it is mounted or on a flat surface. I think it makes much better sense ergonomically.
[Although this does mean some design considerations for a new cooling case design]
The lightning port is replaced with the USB-C port! This makes it a lot easier for accessories (usb hubs, displays, 3D scanners, synthesizer etc) to connect. It also means it now uses the same charging cable as many other devices including our Cooling Case!
Other Hardware Upgrades
Of course there are many other cool hardware updates like::
- new A15 chip
- 12MP wide camera on the rear
- Liquid retina display with antireflective coating
- 5G (for the cellular model)
- Works with the 2nd generation Apple Pencil
One thing that might disappoint some iPad mini users is the removal of the phone jack. Although there is still the possibility of switching to USB-C headphones.
Lastly, it was really cool to see footage of the iPad Mini used by a pilot as a kneeboard in the Apple event keynote and an Electronic Flight Bag app (Foreflight) being featured. You can also see it in their latest ad. It all goes to show there's a lot of versatility in the newest portable version of the iPad. I am pretty sure there will still be a need for cooling support so we will be sure to work on a case for the iPad Mini 6 soon!