In the fall of 2021, Apple’s small and infrequently-updated tablet got a big upgrade–and a big price bump.
Now $499 (it used to be $399), it’s no longer really a “value” product. But is it still a great buy? And is this the best time to buy one?
iPad mini: Pricing and specs
Last update: September 2021
The iPad mini is in its sixth generation, with the first model arriving in October 2012. This latest version is the first to get a substantial redesign. With flat edges, smaller bezels, no Home button, USB-C, and Touch ID on the side button, it’s basically a shrunken iPad Air. In fact, the A15 processor, 12MP ultrawide front camera with Center Stage, and optional 5G make it more capable than the iPad Air. Starting at $499, this is the most expensive the iPad mini has ever been, but it’s also by far the most advanced.
iPad mini (6th generation)
iPad mini: Why you should buy
The iPad mini is super lightweight (10.3 ounces) and portable (7.7 x 5.3 x 0.25 inches) but still brings everything you would want in an iPad. The new model has smaller bezels so it fits a bigger 8.3-inch display into the same size as previous models. It supports the second-generation Apple Pencil. It’s got USB-C, the super fast A15 processor, and even the new 12 megapixel ultra-wide front camera and Center Stage face tracking feature.
It’s a huge upgrade over the 5th-generation iPad mini. And since the iPad mini seems to get updated every two years or so, this is probably the model Apple will continue to sell until 2023. You don’t have to worry about it becoming obsolete any time soon.
iPad mini: Why you should wait
There’s no real good reason to wait for a newer or different model, if an iPad mini is what you’re looking for. Apple is unlikely to change the price (it almost never does) and a new model isn’t expected until 2023 at the earliest. The only real reason not to buy the iPad mini is if you bristle at the $499 price and would just rather spend $100 more for the larger iPad Air.
Macworld recommends: BUY
The iPad mini ($499) just got a big upgrade, and isn’t due for another one for a couple years. It’s pretty rare to see significant price drops, so this is as good a time to buy as you’re likely to see for some time. Keep an eye out for the occasional sale at retailers other than the Apple Store, where you can sometimes find iPads for $30 to $50 off.