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Apple Launches iPad Mini 4 With ZERO Fanfare

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OK so that was a bit weird. Apple held its big press conference and announcement event on September 9 announcing the much-anticipated iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, a new Apple TV product, and the iPad Pro, as well as iOS 9 of course. Thing is, it also announced the iPad Mini 4, but literally spent zero time talking about it or its features, it was, essentially, a footnote for the event just fleetingly referenced amidst Apple’s pricing plans.

Which, if we’re honest, lines up with our own feelings on the iPad Mini series now; we don’t really see the point of it now that the iPad Air series is pretty much as portable while still maintaining a larger display panel, and tends to have more up-to-date hardware, being about a generation ahead. It’s just a bit odd to see Apple, a firm normally so pumped up about how amazing each and every one of its precious little snowflake products is, being so blasé about the iPad Mini 4…it’s as if the company agrees – that it knows  the iPad Mini isn’t that hot.

Anyway, all that aside, the device is real. The rumours were true.

iPad Mini 4 Price

The iPad Mini 4 now replaces the iPad Mini 3 in Apple’s tablet line-up, so the iPad Mini 3 has been discontinued and the iPad Mini 4 comes in at exactly the same price point; starting at $399 for the Wi-Fi-only model and $529 for the 4G-enabled model.

iPad Mini 4 Design

In terms of design the overall appearance is very similar although Apple has managed to shave off some weight. The iPad Mini 3 was 331g for the Wi-Fi variant and 341g for the 4G model, while the iPad Mini 4 is down to 298g and 304g respectively. The new iPad Mini 4 is also slimmer at 6.1mm thick to the older model’s 7.5mm.

iPad Mini 4 Specs

The display technology has not changed, nor have the memory options. The processor has been bumped from the old A7 up to an A8, though this is still behind the very latest Apple A9 processing technology found in the firm’s other new hardware.

The other two small tweaks are the use of upgraded Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity and an 8MP rear iSight camera sensor to replace the old 5MP setup.

However, according to a report dating September 15, it seems the iPad Mini 4 has now been benchmarked and, like trucks which turn into robots, there’s a bit more to it than meets the eye. Ars Technica put the iPad Mini 4 through Geekbench and discovered it packs 2GB of RAM, a 1GB boost from the older models, resulting in a slight uplift in benchmarking performance. Another contributor is the fact that the A8 chip inside has been overclocked up to 1.5GHz from the old implementation of 1.4GHz. All that said, in real use this shouldn’t be too much of a noticable difference, in some ways the RAM is more significant.

iPad Mini 4 Software

Naturally the iPad Mini 4 runs the latest version of Apple’s iOS operating system; iOS 9. You can read more about what features are inside the latest software in our dedicated article here:

But one key tablet-relevant feature is the support for split-screen application use, which does find a home on the iPad Mini 4’s expansive display.

Check out all the pre-launch rumours and leaks on page 2

Well this is a turn out for the books we weren’t expecting. It seems evidence has emerged to support the idea that an iPad Mini 4 is being prepped by Apple, likely for a launch in late 2015. An image has leaked showing the back panel of the device, together with some video footage.

A lot has been said about the future of Apple’s iPad Mini range. Most of it bad. Last year’s model was OK, but hardly worth the money Apple wanted for it — all it had was TouchID, really. Beyond this most people seem to be picking up the larger, more traditional iPad Air. Then there’s the iPad Pro, a rumoured 12in model set for release later this year. Taken together, all of the above makes the prospect of yet another iPad Mini rather surprising.

Why are we surprised? Well sure, we have seen new version of the iPad Mini every year since the smaller iPad first appeared, but we weren’t expecting it because according to several previous sales reports Apple’s iPad Mini series isn’t selling as well as the full-size 9.7in category. We found the previous iPad Mini 3 somewhat uninspiring as it felt like an incremental upgrade on the iPad Mini 2. What’s more, with the iPad Air slimming down the larger iPad into a near-iPad Mini size, it has raised some questions about whether the smaller iPad Mini is now rather redundant .

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And with the advent of the rumoured iPad Pro just around the corner many, including KYM, had began to speculate that the iPad Mini had reached something of a dead end with the launch of the phablet-sized iPhone 6 Plus and the ultra-lightweight and portable nature of Apple’s iPad Air 2. Prior to this the iPad Mini had a very real space inside Apple’s ecosystem. Nowadays, however, it sort of feels like the ghost at the feast –– sure it’s still relevant but no way near as much as it once was. 

But despite being a big innovator, Apple can be very slow to change, so for now, it seems, it is carrying on with business as usual.

The leak comes via prominent and often accurate leakster Noweherelese.fr (and its affiliate Twitter account @OnLeaks). The site claims the source for these images is a reliable source who has provided accurate details in the past. We can see the style of the iPad Mini 4 is quite similar to the iPad Air 2, and we can see a SIM card slot, so this one’s mobile data enabled.

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According to a new report dating August 12, some evidence has emerged that the iPad Mini 4 could be as powerful in terms of processor tech as the current iPad Air 2. The word comes via 9to5Mac which had a poke around inside the latest OS X software beta (El Capitan) and discovered an image of the iPad Mini with a rumoured split-screen display functionality for multiple windowed applications. 

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In and of itself that’s not necessarily a cause to start jumping up and down. However, Apple has previously said that iOS 9 would feature a split-screen mode but this would only be supported by the firm’s “most powerful” tablets, including the iPad Air 2. If we take this at face value as showing the iPad Mini 4 will be able to perform split-screen duties, it seems fair to conclude that it will have a processor capable of meeting that “most powerful” label. The funtionality allegedly requires the faster A8X processor and 2GB of RAM.

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