If you have been envying the slew of features that have come to the iPad Air 2 through iOS 9 but you prefer the form factor of your current iPad mini, it may be time to upgrade.
The small step that Apple made between the iPad mini 2 and 3 was minor to say the least, but thankfully they have not repeated another minor update with the iPad mini 4. This is without a doubt the most significant update since the iPad mini was released.
While the iPad mini 3 did get Touch ID last year that was the only significant hardware update. This year the iPad mini 4 gets a better display, a more capable A8 chip, an improved camera, updated Wi-Fi and most importantly 2GB of RAM.
The new display receives the higher color gamut and laminated display featured on the iPad Air 2. This makes for deep rich color along with a screen that has much better readability, especially outdoors. The new iPad mini now supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi with twin antennas, also the same as the iPad Air 2, which is twice as fast as last year’s iPhone 6. The iPad mini 4 is also packed with the A8 chip, the same as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and although this chip is a year old it is still a strong upgrade from the A7 from last year and coupled with 2GB of RAM provides more than enough power to push the iPad mini.
For the minority of you who take pictures with your iPad, the camera gets a significant bump up to the same camera inside the iPad Air 2. It is an 8 megapixel shooter up from 5 last year, has an f2.4 aperture and finally allows burst mode for the even smaller minority of you who were awaiting that feature on your iPad mini.
But let’s move on to the most important feature brought to this year’s iPad mini 4, multitasking.
iOS 9 Updates for iPad
The jump made by the iPad mini 4 is as much in the software as it is in the hardware. The upgrade to 2GB of RAM was necessary to enable the new robust multitasking features introduced for iPad in iOS 9 and this new iPad mini takes full advantage of them. There are essentially three methods of multitasking.
Split View is the most full fledged of the three and allows you to share the screen between two apps that both run independently. The practical benefit of this feature can hardly be overstated. If you’ve ever gotten tired of switching back and forth between Safari and jotting down some thoughts in the Notes app, those days are over. And what about the need to Google something to settle an argument during a FaceTime call, no problem.
Picture-in-Picture, which I’m sure you’re familiar with since it has been around on TVs forever, in now available on the iPad mini 4. But unlike with a big screen TV, you can be cruising in the passenger seat browsing IMDB to figure out who that familiar actor or actress is you’re looking at without having to hit pause. In fact, Picture-in-Picture is even available on top of running two apps in Split View.
Slide Over is essentially the mini version of Split View and any iPad running iOS 9 can take advantage of the feature, but it is still worth mentioning. Slide Over lets you slide and app over, helpful I know, from the right side of the screen and use a second app on top of the full screen app in a smaller sidebar form factor without needing to switch to a totally different screen. It is useful but unlike Split View, Slide Over can only handle using one app at a time.
The iPad mini has always been a niche product for those who value portability over screen real estate. And since Apple managed to shave even more off the weight the iPad mini 4 is the most portable iPad to date. With all of the new features crammed into the iPad mini 4 you can justify upgrading even if you picked up an iPad mini 3 last year. If you’d like to purchase an iPad mini 4, click here for options.