iPad mini 4 evolution

The iPad mini 4 sports not only the Touch ID of last year's mini, but the higher color gamut, laminated display of last year's iPad Air 2. It's also got a speedy Apple A8 chipset and 2GB of RAM to make running Split View apps not only possible but enjoyable. Yes, the iPad mini has come a long way since it's non-Retina launch back in 2012!

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Header Cell - Column 0 iPadiPad 2iPad 3iPad miniiPad 4iPad AiriPad mini 2iPad mini 3iPad Air 2iPad mini 4
Row 0 - Cell 0 Row 0 - Cell 1 Row 0 - Cell 2 Row 0 - Cell 3 Row 0 - Cell 4 Row 0 - Cell 5 Row 0 - Cell 6 Row 0 - Cell 7 Row 0 - Cell 8 Row 0 - Cell 9 Row 0 - Cell 10
Code NameK48K94J1J65P101J72J85J85J81J96
Model NameiPad 1,1iPad 2,1iPad 3,1iPad 2,5iPad 3,4iPad 4,1iPad 4,4iPad 4,7iPad 5,3iPad 5,1
Launch OSiPhone OS 3.2iOS 4.3iOS 5.1iOS 6iOS 6iOS 7iOS 7iOS 8.1iOS 8.1iOS 9
Screen Size9.7 inches9.7 inches9.7 inches7.9 inches9.7 inches9.7 inches7.9 inches7.9 inches9.7 inches7.9 inches
Screen Resolution1024x768 (132ppi)1024x768 (132ppi)2048x1536 (264ppi)1024x768 (163ppi)2048x1536 (264ppi)2048x1536 (264ppi)2048x1536 (326ppi)2048x1536 (326ppi)2048x1536 (264ppi)2048x1536 (326ppi)
Screen TypeIPS LEDIPS LEDIPS LEDIPS LEDIPS LEDIPS LEDIPS LEDIPS LEDLaminated IPS LEDLaminated IPS LED
System-on-a-chipApple A4Apple A5Apple A5XApple A5Apple A6XApple A7Apple A7Apple A7Apple A8XApple A8
CPU800MHz ARM Cortex-A81GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A91GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A91GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A91.4GHz dual-core Swift (ARM v7s)64-bit dual core Apple A7 Cyclone (ARM v8)64-bit dual core Apple A7 Cyclone (ARM v8)64-bit dual core Apple A7 Cyclone (ARM v8)64-bit triple core Apple A8 Typhoon (ARM v8)64-bit dual core Apple A8 Typhoon (ARM v8)
GPUPowerVR SGX535PowerVR dual-core SGX543MP2PowerVR dual-core SGX543MP4PowerVR dual-core SGX543MP2PowerVR quad-core SGX554MP4PowerVR G6430PowerVR G6430PowerVR G6430PowerVR GXA6850GX6450
Co-processornonenonenonenonenoneM7 MotionM7 MotionM7 MotionM8 MotionM8 Motion
RAM256MB512MB1GB512MB1GB1GB1GB1GB2GBRow 11 - Cell 10
Storage16GB/32GB/64GB16GB/32GB/64GB16GB/32GB/64GB16GB/32GB/64GB16GB/32GB/64GB/128GB16GB/32GB/64GB/128GB16GB/32GB/64GB/128GB16GB/64GB/128GB16GB/64GB/128GB16GB/64GB/128GB
Cellular DataHSPALTELTELTELTELTELTELTELTE AdvancedLTE Advanced
SIMMicroMicroMicroNanoMicroNanoNanoNanoAppleRow 14 - Cell 10
Rear Cameranone1.3MP/720p5MP/1080p5MP/1080p5MP/1080p5MP/1080p5MP/1080p5MP/1080P8MP/1080P8MP/1080P
Front Cameranone0.3MP/VGA0.3MP/VGA1.2MP/720p1.2MP/720p1.2MP/720p1.2MP/720p1.2MP/720p1.2MP/720p1.2MP/720p
BluetoothBluetooth 2.1+EDRBluetooth 2.1+EDRBluetooth 4.0Bluetooth 4.0Bluetooth 4.0Bluetooth 4.0Bluetooth 4.0Bluetooth 4.0Bluetooth 4.0Bluetooth 4.2
Wi-Fi802.11a/b/g/n802.11a/b/g/n802.11a/b/g/n802.11a/b/g/n802.11a/b/g/n802.11a/b/g/n MIMO802.11a/b/g/n MIMO802.11a/b/g/n MIMO802.11a/b/g/n/ac MIMO802.11a/b/g/n/ac MIMO
GPSaGPSaGPSaGPS, GLONASSaGPS, GLONASSaGPS, GLONASSaGPS, GLONASSaGPS, GLONASSaGPS, GLONASSaGPS, GLONASSaGPS, GLONASS
SensorsAmbient light, accelerometer,
compass
Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope
Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope
Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope
Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope
Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope
Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope
Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope
Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope, barometer
Ambient light, accelerometer,
compass, gyroscope, barometer
SpeakersMonoMonoMonoStereoMonoStereoStereoStereoStereo| Stereo
Connector30-pin Dock30-pin Dock30-pin DockLightningLightningLightningLightningLightningLightningLightning
Height9.56 inches (242.8 mm)9.5 inches (241.3 mm)9.5 inches (241.3 mm)7.87 inches (199.9 mm)9.5 inches (241.3 mm)9.4 inches (238.8 mm)7.87 inches (199.9 mm)7.87 inches (199.9 mm)9.4 inches (238.8 mm)8 inches (203.2 mm)
Width7.47 inches (189.7 mm)7.31 inches (185.7 mm)7.31 inches (185.7 mm)5.3 inches (134.6 mm)7.31 inches (185.7 mm)6.6 inches (167.6 mm)5.3 inches (134.6 mm)5.3 inches (134.6 mm)6.6 inches (167.6 mm)5.3 inches (134.8 mm)
Depth0.53 inches (13.5 mm)0.34 inches (8.6 mm)0.37 inches (9.4 mm)0.28 inches (7.1 mm)0.37 inches (9.4 mm)0.29 inches (7.4 mm)0.29 inches (7.4 mm)0.29 inches (7.4 mm)0.24 inches (6.1 mm)0.24 inches (6.1mm)
Weight1.5 lbs (680 g)1.33 lbs (603 g)1.44 lbs (653 g)0.68 lbs (308 g)1.44 lbs (653 g)1.0 lbs (454 g)0.73 lbs (331 g)0.73 lbs (331 g)0.96 lbs (437 g)0.65 lbs (298.8 grams)
Battery6600mAh6930mAh11560mAh4440mAh11560mAh8820mAh6471mAh6471mAh6471mAh7,340mAh| 5124mAh
ColorsBlackBlack/WhiteBlack/WhiteBlack/WhiteBlack/WhiteSpace gray/SilverSpace gray/SilverSpace gray/Silver/GoldSpace gray/Silver/GoldRow 28 - Cell 10
Launch PriceWi-Fi: $499, $599, $699
Cellular: $629, $729, $829
Wi-Fi: $499, $599, $699
Cellular: $629, $729, $829
Wi-Fi: $499, $599, $699
Cellular: $629, $729, $829
Wi-Fi: $329, $429, $529
Cellular: $459, $559, $659
Wi-Fi: $499, $599, $699, $799
Cellular: $629, $729, $829, $929
Wi-Fi: $499, $599, $699, $799
Cellular: $629, $729, $829, $929
Wi-Fi: $399, $499, $599, $699
Cellular: $529, $629, $729, $829
Wi-Fi: $399, $499, $599, $699
Cellular: $529, $629, $729, $829
Wi-Fi: $499, $599, $699, $799
Cellular: $629, $729, $829, $929
Wi-Fi: $399, $499, $599
Cellular: $529, $629, $729
Release Date4/3/20103/11/20113/16/201211/2/201211/2/201211/1/201311/12/201310/24/201410/24/201409/09/2015

I've updated the iPad mini 1 and iPad mini 2 to iOS 9 to see how they run, but I used screenshots to show the proper home screen look and feel for their launch years. Also not, iPad mini 4 is slightly taller than previous generations.

Space gray, as seen in the middle, is always a moving target, of course. Black is the hardest color to anodize so Apple seems to keep trying to balance durability with darkness. This year, though, I went gold. Because gold.

iPad mini 4

iPad mini 4 (Image credit: iMore)

The thinness (which translates into lightness which translates into usability) of the iPad mini 4 is apparent when set against the previous minis. When you see it in relation to the original iPad and even the iPad Air 2, though, it's stunning.

And you can see how the iPad mini 4, like the iPad Air 2, no longer has the orientation lock/mute switch.

The iPad Air 2 and upcoming iPad Pro are certainly more powerful and productive, but for travelers or anyone who wants a light, easy to cary, full-on tablet, the iPad mini 4 is going to be nearly impossible to beat.

I'll have a full review up soon.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

21 Comments
  • Thanks Rene. As a mini user, I sometimes feel like this branch of the iOS family is the most often ignored. The wallpapers were a nice touch :)
  • More so than the iPod line??
  • Nope. The iPod users are the most ignored. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • I currently own a Mini 2 and it's one of my favorite Apple devices. It has the perfect balance of size and power that I like when taking notes, playing games, and watching movies. While I won't be upgrading this year, I'm glad Apple didn't forget this little wonder. Sent from the iMore App
  • The mini 4 is a worthy upgrade IMO. Given that it has last year's processor, it's really the upgrade that we should have got last year but didn't. It seems clear to me that last years mini, which only had the hot-glued home button to distinguish itself from the mini 2, was basically just filler. Either they couldn't get this one out the door in time or they didn't want to and that was the result. My first impressions are that it's good, with the exception of the much reduced sensitivity of the touch screen. Apparently this is an issue with IGZO screens. It's really quite an awful machine to type on with any accuracy of speed compared to previous models. Rene as usual is only given to mentioning the *positive* aspects of the machine (which are many) but in all fairness, if you do a lot of typing, you might want to wait for iPad mini 5 (if they make one) or stick with a mini 3 or a mini 2. If you are just getting one for videos and games then the mini 4 is the best as it's faster.
  • I'm in the process of reviewing it now; I'll mention everything. I haven't had a typing issue yet. What are you experiencing?
  • The touch response is just a lot slower. I did some Internet research and it seems that this same issue happened with (advanced) users of the iPad Air as well and that by that reasoning, it's probably due to the different screen technology which people say is IGZO (even though I don't think Apple uses that word). I never bought the Air so this is my first experience of this new type of screen. I type on the mini (I'm a writer) and I type *fast* and the new screen has literally knocked about 10wpm off my typical speed with all the errors. Typing the word "the," for example is a good measure since it's a left-thumb, right-thumb word and it's very very common, as is the "th" letter combination in general. At least when typing English. On the old mini, once in a while when I was really smoking and typing fast, I would type "t-h-e" and all that would register is the "h-e." On the new mini 4, this not only happens *all* the time, even when typing slowly, but also if I try, I can literally type "t-h-e" (and I know I've done so because of the highlights on the keys), and it doesn't register at all. I've typed too fast for the system to register the keystrokes. The net result is that when I type fast (the way I always type), I get missed keys, and when you add autocorrect into the mix, it's a bloody nightmare of mistakes. I have to go back over my typing over and over again to correct them all. It's very frustrating. Either that, or type very slowly and deliberately on the new iPad. I'm willing to believe that a system update down the road might fix this at least partially, and I'm willing to bet that at least part of this might be due to Pages. Pages on iOS 9 has a rather startling collection of bugs and interface goof-ups even though it was updated close to iOS 9's release. For instance using the loupe in Pages under iOS 9 to move the cursor, causes it (the loupe) to appear sideways or upside down, and to be square instead of the usual round. Also several of the icons and buttons don't update their state properly. It's just a big buggy mess really. Anyway, I digress ... I think it's the IGZO screen because I found a lot of specific complaints on the Internet where people talk about the exact same thing I'm experiencing but referencing the introduction of the iPad Air and the new screen technology. Since the iPad mini 4 is brand new, there haven't been time for the minority of "advanced" users like myself to complain I suppose. Sorry for being long-winded, I wanted to be complete on the off-chance that Apple actually trolls these forums looking for public reactions to their products. Edit: apologies for the remark about your positivity. I was thinking that this article was the official review of the mini 4 but I realise now that it's not.
  • I did a ton of typing yesterday to test it out. I'm not an incredibly fast typist, but it kept up with me as well as the iPad Air 2, and as well as the non-fused display iPad Air 1 and iPad mini 3. I'll look into it some more, though!
  • Rene, be sure to test the mini's speaker volume level, since in previous generations it was exceptionally low compared to iPads and iPhones.
  • With the iPhone plus I don't see the point of a iPad mini, but that's just my thoughts about it.
  • Not everyone wants to carry a huge phone around 24/7. Sometimes you want a bigger screen, but you still want portability. This is where the mini shines. And just like I don't want to carry a huge phone everywhere I go, I don't always take the mini with me everywhere I go because some times it's still too big.
  • I'm noticing a speaker output improvement on my Mini 4. To W1ck3D86's comment, I have an iPhone 6+ too and while it is good for most things, the upgrades like split screen functionality and extra room when working in Excel, make the iPad Mini a must have for me. Had Apple added phone functionality to the Mini, I would have ditched my iPhone altogether since I rarely hold my phone to talk anymore and like the larger screen size of the Mini. Having the finger authentication is a welcome addition from my Mini 2 ( I skipped the Mini 3 ). The processing power of the larger screen iPads are tempting, but the fact that the mini fits in my front pants pocket is still the ultimate deciding factor against a larger screen model for me.
  • True that's why u have iPad air and pro...
  • I'm I picked mine up from the Apple store yesterday, after I sold my Air to a friend. I could not be more pleased: the speed, screen, the smoothness of the operating system...it's an amazing little machine, a much notable upgrade in performance from my Air. I think it has the potential to be a sleeper hit for the holiday season.
  • That's good to hear because I'm getting one to replace my Air. I have absolutely no interest in the Pro.
  • I just picked it up yesterday and so far I am very happy, it's really what it should been last year really but it's still a fantastic product and like you Rene I decided to go with Gold this year, really like it! Still looking forward to the iPad pro!
  • I understand that including the actual Air 2's CPU - the A8X - would have somehow compromised the requirements for heat dissipation and battery life. While I'm enjoying the speed increase of this mini 4 when compared to last year's mini 3, it's still a disappointment when compared with the Air 2's speed. Are there theories (as to why they couldn't bother to include this year's A9 CPU) other than (1) too-limited A9 availability, or (2) Apple actually wants the mini's performance to be less than that of the concurrent-generation iPhones? Sent from the iMore App
  • A8X's benefit is octo-core GPU over quad-core GPU, but I haven't found much that really pegs the standard A8 in real-world usage. Apple's not using A9 in iPad mini due to both yield but also costs. Their margins would go down or prices would go up. iPad mini's core value prop is portability and lower price (no cheap, just less). That's a balancing act.
  • I got to spend a little time with the Mini 4 at the Apple Store on Friday and was very impressed; I forgot to try Split View, but I am considering it as a replacement for my Air.
  • Can't wait till November to get the iPad Pro, the only iPad worth updating from my Air. Sent from the iMore App
  • No one, it seems, mentions the fact that this is the first iPad Mini to be lighter and thinner than the original, non-retina, iPad Mini (1). This is significant...along with the Air 2's screen tech/color :). (I have the 1st gen. Mini) However, I'm severely disappointed that apple does 2 things here: 1) New product with last year's processor...when iOS 10 comes out, the processor will be 2 generations behind instead of 1 (they very well could have put the 6s' A9 in there). 2) Apple has continually given way to what investors want in recent years, using american b.s. "bigger is better" marketing (I'm american, but hate this)...I want the best tech in the smaller form factor! Granted, they did put 2GB RAM in it, which may help with one iOS upgrade, but, this won't help it last 3-5 years, which should be minimal productive life cycle of this type of product, IMO. So, after 3 months of being steamed over this and wanting the better screen & iOS 9 features, now that T-Mobile has added iPad Mini 4 to their JOD upgrade program, I may lease one over buying, this way I can get a 64GB Mini 4 now and upgrade to something else later if I want to...even though I prefer to buy my devices.