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In something of a surprise move, Apple unveiled two new and improved iPad models at its “California Streaming” event – a revamped 10.2-inch iPad, and an all-new iPad mini.

We were expecting new iPads at some point this year, but Apple sprung them earlier than expected, without even a moment’s delay before preorders started. So if you like the look of these, you can order one right now from Apple.com.

Meet the new iPad

Meet the latest version of iPad, Apple’s improved 10.2-inch entry-level tablet, which now delivers enhanced performance and advanced features. While this ninth-generation iPad might look the same as its predecessor – sticking with chunky bezels, Home button, and Touch ID – it now offers an enhanced 12MB front-facing ultra wide camera which is a huge upgrade on the previous selfie cam. For comparison, the previous iPad had just 1.2MP to play with on its front camera, making video calls pretty grainy.

That camera supports Center Stage, Apple’s fun video conferencing feature. When making a FaceTime call on your new iPad, Center Stage means that the device’s camera will automatically pan to keep you in shot as you move around, and it can also widen the frame to incorporate new people when they appear in the shot.

Meet the new iPad.

On top of that, the new iPad is also adding support for Apple’s True Tone technology, meaning its display will automatically adjust screen content to match the color temperature of the room you’re in. The device’s new True Tone display means that browsing and reading content will be far easier on the eyes.

Under the hood, the new iPad is now powered by an A13 Bionic chip, making it more powerful than its predecessor – it also brings the entry-level iPad up to speed with some of the new features coming in iPadOS 15, like Live Text. The base storage on the model has also been doubled (from 32GB to 64GB), meaning the new iPad is now better prepared for the world of increasingly heavy iPadOS apps!

Though this iPad is still lacking a little in comparison to Apple’s other models, increasingly it looks like it offers the best bang for your buck of the lot. For casual users or those on a budget, this is easy to recommend.

The new iPad is priced at $329 (64GB) and $479 (256GB) and available from Monday, September 20. You can pre-order now.

The new iPad mini

While the new 10.2-inch iPad is a welcome addition, the real star of this segment was the sixth-generation iPad mini – an 8.3-inch small-sized tablet that boasts a stunning, modern design. That display is a jump from the 7.9 inches offered by the previous iPad mini, despite the fact its footprint has barely changed.

Indeed, the new iPad mini’s design is now in line with the both the iPad Air and the iPad Pro. To that effect, it features flat edges and a beautiful Liquid Retina display with rounded corners. And with no Home button, Touch ID has been relocated to the Lock button (which sits on the top-right of the device).

It’s been a while since we’ve had an iPad mini update, meaning this new model delivers a huge performance increase over the previous generation thanks to the A15 Bionic. (The last iPad mini used A12 Bionic, so this leap represents three years of progress). This powerful chip allows the iPad mini to maintain its all-day battery life while delivering a 40% jump in performance and 80% jump in graphics performance when compared with the previous model. Make no mistake – though small, this new iPad mini is an incredibly powerful piece of kit and should last users a very long time.

Mini is better.

Apple has also added a USB-C connector to the new iPad mini, allowing for improved connectivity with pro-level peripherals, and support for 5G. If you’re looking to make notes while on the move, the new device is even compatible with the second-generation Apple Pencil and supports magnetic snap-on charging.

Like the new iPad, Apple’s new iPad mini includes support for Center Stage, meaning you can enjoy more immersive and engaging FaceTime calls, powered by a 12MP front camera – up from 7MP previously. And it offers a True Tone display that supports up to 500 nits of brightness. This is indeed a welcome addition for those who use their iPad mini as a reading device – browsing content on the iPad will now be all the more sharp, engaging, and comfortable.

In terms of features, this is effectively no longer an iPad mini but an iPad Air mini. If you want the features of Apple’s mid-range tablet without the heft, this diddly alternative is a fantastic solution.

The new iPad mini is priced at $499 (64GB) and $649 (256GB), and it’s available in four colors: Space Gray, Pink, Purple, and Starlight.