During Tuesday’s ‘California Streaming’ event, Apple unveiled the iPad mini 6 — a direct successor to the 5th Generation iPad mini. The iPad mini 6 is the first addition to the product line in well over two years, with its predecessor coming out back in 2019.
Let’s take a look at the differences between the two tablets…
The iPad mini 6 comes in Space Gray, Pink, Purple, and Starlight.
The iPad mini 5, on the other hand, was available in Space Gray, Silver, and Gold.
The iPad mini (2021) starts at $649 CAD for the base model (Wi-Fi only, 64 GB). That’s a hair pricier than Apple’s 2019 iPad mini, which launched at $529 CAD.
Current pricing for the 5th-gen iPad mini isn’t available — the model was discontinued upon the announcement of this year’s model.
Display and Cameras
The 2021 iPad mini bumps screen size up from its predecessor’s 7.9″ to 8.3″, coupled with an all-screen design and thinner bezels. With this year’s model, Apple also trades in a Retina display for an improved Liquid Retina display.
As for screen resolution, the iPad mini 6 clocks in at 2266×1488 pixels. The iPad mini 5 differs slightly at 2048×1536 pixels. Both tablets offer the same pixel density, max brightness, and display features.
The 2019 iPad mini featured an 8 MP Wide camera. Apple has bumped the main Wide camera up to 12 MP on this year’s model, and also added a Quad-LED True Tone flash. While its predecessor only had Auto HDR for photos, the 2021 iPad mini comes with Smart HDR 3.
The front snapper has seen quite a bit of improvement, with the new iPad mini gaining the ability to record 4K video at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, 1080p HD video at 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, and extended dynamic range for video up to 30 fps. In comparison, the 2019 iPad mini could only record 1080p HD video at 30 fps.
Apple’s new iPad mini also supports 1080p Slo-mo video at 120 fps or 240 fps, whereas its predecessor could only manage 720p Slo-mo video at 120 fps.
The new iPad mini sports an all-new A15 Bionic CPU, which also powers this year’s lineup of iPhone 13 models.
Even though it’s a downclocked version of Apple’s newest mobile chipset, it remains leaps ahead of the 2019 iPad mini’s A12 Bionic. Both chips have been designed with desktop-class architecture, and both include dedicated Neural Engines.
This year’s iPad mini is the first to ditch Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector for USB-C, as detailed in previous rumours about the refresh. The switch to USB-C will open entirely new doors, both for power delivery and peripheral connectivity. The 2019 iPad mini stuck to a Lightning port for connectivity.
Both the 2021 iPad mini and the 2019 iPad mini have Touch ID sensors. The new iPad mini does away with the physical Home button, so its Touch ID sensor has found a new home in the Power button.
While the iPad mini 5 has a two-speaker setup, the iPad mini 6 features two-speaker audio in landscape mode.
Apple Pencil Compatibility
Both iPads support Apple Pencils. The iPad mini 5 supports the 1st generation Apple Pencil and above, whereas the iPad mini 6 supports 2nd generation Apple Pencil and above. Both devices are also compatible with Apple’s Smart Keyboard.
Networking and Battery Life
Connectivity depends on which variant of either iPad you purchase. The iPad mini 6 ups Wi-Fi support to 1.2 Gbps from its predecessor’s 866 Mbps on all variants.
As for cellular, the 2021 iPad mini is 5G-capable (sub-6 GHz), whereas the 2019 iPad mini only offers 4G. Cellular versions of both devices support Nano-SIM and eSIM, along with Apple SIM (where available).
Battery life on both models is pretty much the same, with both managing 10 hours of web surfing or video playback on Wi-Fi, and 9 hours of web surfing on a cellular network.
This year’s iPad mini measures 7.69″ tall and 5.3″ wide, with a thickness of 0.25″. The Wi-Fi-only version weighs 293 grams, whereas the Wi-Fi + Cellular version weighs 297 grams.
The iPad mini 5, on the other hand, stands 8″ tall, 5.3″ wide, and 0.24″ thick. The Wi-Fi only version weighs 300.5 grams, while the Wi-Fi + Cellular version weighs 308.2 grams.
The 2021 iPad mini has received a complete facelift, and looks almost nothing like its predecessor. The new iPad mini is smaller in size than the previous model while increasing screen real estate, gets rid of the Home button, and is available in some brand new finishes. This year, the iPad mini gets a fresh look compared to before.
The 2021 iPad mini sticks to the same internal storage configurations as the iPad mini 5: 64 GB and 256 GB, available in both Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + Cellular variants.
iPad mini 6 vs iPad mini 5: Which One Should You Buy?
If that’s a question you find yourself asking after Apple’s ‘California Streaming’ live event, you don’t really have another option — the iPad mini 5 was discontinued (at least officially) as soon as the iPad mini 6 was announced.
And that’s not (at all) a bad thing. The iPad mini 6 offers a current-gen processor, a larger screen, and better performance than its predecessor. Even if you’re considering upgrading from an older iPad mini, you have a lot to gain from the purchase.
Click here to learn more about the iPad mini 6 on Apple.ca. Pre-orders for the 6th-gen iPad mini went live shortly after it was unveiled, with an official launch scheduled for next week on Friday, September 24.