First look: Hands-on with Apple's new iPad Air 2 & iPad mini 3

Posted:
in iPad edited October 2014
The iPad Air and iPad mini have both been outfitted by Apple with Touch ID fingerprint sensors, but it's clear that Apple is positioning its flagship iPad Air 2 as the tablet to beat, boasting a beefed-up A8X CPU, improved camera, thinner design, and anti-reflective laminated display.




Both the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 with Touch ID were unveiled at a presentation at Apple's corporate campus in Cupertino, Calif., on Thursday, and AppleInsider was there to go hands-on with the newly announced tablets.

In our brief time with the iPad Air 2, we found it to be super thin, but it feels right in your hands. Amazingly, it's even thinner than the iPhone 6, measuring just 6.1 millimeters thin.




The iPad mini 3, meanwhile, features the same design as its predecessor, and also includes the same A7 CPU. Aside from Touch ID and a new gold color option, it's unchanged from the 2013 model still available for $100 less than its $399 entry price.

With the decision to limit changes to the iPad mini 3, it's clear that Apple wants users to buy the larger $499 iPad Air 2, which offers more value in the A8X CPU, improved cameras, and a new display that reduces glare by 56 percent over the first iPad Air.




Another upsell comes in the form of capacity: While the entry-level models feature 16 gigabytes of storage, a $100 premium nets four times that: 64 gigabytes, just like with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

$399 iPad mini 3 features same A7 processor as $299 iPad mini 2. $100 premium gets you Touch ID and nothing else. Worthwhile upsell?

-- Tip AppleInsider (@TipAppleInsider)


The display on the iPad Air 2 is also laminated to the glass cover, a feature previously only found on the company's iPhone models. This completely eliminates the gap between the LCD panel and the glass cover.

Touch ID on the new iPads works as it does on the iPhone, allowing a user to securely unlock their tablet with just their fingerprint. The Touch ID home button will also work with iTunes purchases, the App Store, and third-party apps that take advantage of the feature.




Apple has also announced that the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 will support Touch ID use for Apple Pay when authorizing online purchases. After correctly identifying a user by their fingerprint, the iPad will automatically input payment information for online purchases.

From our hands-on, we discovered that Touch ID does still require a lock screen passcode to be enabled for all functions to operate, including authorizing iTunes purchases and Apple Pay. This means that users will not be able to use the Smart Cover auto-unlock feature, which bypasses the lock screen without pressing the home button, while simultaneously utilizing Touch ID functions.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 73
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,455member

    He mentioned specifically ApplePay wouldn't work for Point of Sale, just web purchases.  Seems that would be a good business to dominate with ApplePay rolling out.  Wonder if NFC readers will be made available that POS systems based on the iPad can take advantage of.

  • Reply 2 of 73
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    That first picture shows that 56% less glare is still a lot of glare (at least from that angle. Personally, indoors I never find the glare to be an issue).
  • Reply 3 of 73
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    My first thought during today's event: "Touch ID on iPad is a marginal feature. More people bring their iPhones with them when they're shopping, so Apple Pay is really an iPhone 6 / 6 Plus thing. Oh well. More iPad users will have better security, which is fine."

    My second though was "Oh wait. Apple Pay will make online shopping vastly easier and vastly more secure than it ever was. Online shopping via iPad will jump massively after October 20th (as well as from iPhone 6 / 6 Plus)."

    My third though was "Best Buy doesn't support Apple Pay because they know that easy, secure, private online mobile payment will help to speed up the decline of legacy brick-and-mortar stores such as theirs. They're just trying to delay the inevitable."

    And one final note: Best Buy is already on the decline. Partly because of Amazon. But even before Amazon, for one reason or another, few big-box chain retailers can last more than a generation. There have been umpteen failed attempts (Federated, Circuit City, The Good Guys, Pacific Stereo, etc.) But they all hit the wall after a few decades. Or less.

    JCPenny comes immediately to mind. They're teetering on the brink. Is it because they become "your dad's retailer"? Is it because newer big-box chain retailers can magically get better deals and enjoy higher margins? Is it because the name just gets old? Is it because technology changes and the retailers are stuck with old stock (e.g. old CD players vs. newer PMPs)? All of the above? I have no idea.
  • Reply 4 of 73
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,959member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by icoco3 View Post

     

    He mentioned specifically ApplePay wouldn't work for Point of Sale, just web purchases.  Seems that would be a good business to dominate with ApplePay rolling out.  Wonder if NFC readers will be made available that POS systems based on the iPad can take advantage of.


    NFC reader would work as POS terminal, not on the device because the banks don't cover that.

  • Reply 5 of 73
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,959member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post



    My first thought during today's event: "Touch ID on iPad is a marginal feature. More people bring their iPhones with them when they're shopping, so Apple Pay is really an iPhone 6 / 6 Plus thing. Oh well. More iPad users will have better security, which is fine."



    My second though was "Oh wait. Apple Pay will make online shopping vastly easier and vastly more secure than it ever was. Online shopping via iPad will jump massively after October 20th (as well as from iPhone 6 / 6 Plus)."



    My third though was "Best Buy doesn't support Apple Pay because they know that easy, secure, private online mobile payment will help to speed up the decline of legacy brick-and-mortar stores such as theirs. They're just trying to delay the inevitable."



    And one final note: Best Buy is already on the decline. Partly because of Amazon. But even before Amazon, for one reason or another, few big-box chain retailers can last more than a generation. There have been umpteen failed attempts (Federated, Circuit City, The Good Guys, Pacific Stereo, etc.) But they all hit the wall after a few decades. Or less.



    JCPenny comes immediately to mind. They're teetering on the brink. Is it because they become "your dad's retailer"? Is it because newer big-box chain retailers can magically get better deals and enjoy higher margins? Is it because the name just gets old? Is it because technology changes and the retailers are stuck with old stock (e.g. old CD players vs. newer PMPs)? All of the above? I have no idea.

    Points are valid. F Best Buy and Walmart...lol

  • Reply 6 of 73
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,455member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by fallenjt View Post

     

    NFC reader would work as POS terminal, not on the device because the banks don't cover that.


     

    Maybe next year when they become the bank..... <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

  • Reply 7 of 73
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    I don't get the point of the retina mini 3. What did it get besides Touch ID?
  • Reply 8 of 73
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,926moderator

    How thin is 6.1mm?  That's exactly the thickness of the iPod Touch.  And that's pretty thin.  

  • Reply 9 of 73
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RadarTheKat View Post

     

    How thin is 6.1mm?  That's exactly the thickness of the iPod Touch.  And that's pretty thin.


    They still make iPod touches?  Huh, apparently they do.

  • Reply 10 of 73
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,105member
    Soooo, the main reason to get an iPad mini 3 is the Touch ID sensor which it could and should have had last year anyway.

    Thanks for neutering the iPad mini update Apple, real crappy move.

    That along with the removal of the 32gb option instead of making 32gb the default option annoys me.

    I know they're a business, I know they are neutering the mini and removing the 32gb option on their iDevices so that people move up the line & pay more. But I can't help but feel that this is going to bite them in the ass, they already make more money per device than anyone else.

    I believe that a big reason for slow iOS 8 adoption is the memory issue, selling 16gb devices makes no sense long term.
  • Reply 11 of 73
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    I don't get the point of the retina mini 3. What did it get besides Touch ID?

    Politely pointed to the side door, is what I'm thinking.  Frankly with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the iPad Mini makes less sense.  I was *this close* (honest, holding fingers close together) to getting an iPad Mini before the new phone rumors appeared to solidify over the summer... gien the new phones, and on the other end the upgraded full-size iPad, it's hard for me to justify getting a Mini.

     

    (Now, if they'd done a larger iPad Pro, hoo boy look out, I'm first in that line!)

  • Reply 12 of 73
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    Originally Posted by saarek View Post



    Soooo, the main reason to get an iPad mini 3 is the Touch ID sensor which it could and should have had last year anyway.



    Thanks for neutering the iPad mini update Apple, real crappy move.



    That along with the removal of the 32gb option instead of making 32gb the default option annoys me.



    I know they're a business, I know they are neutering the mini and removing the 32gb option on their iDevices so that people move up the line & pay more. But I can't help but feel that this is going to bite them in the ass, they already make more money per device than anyone else.



    I believe that a big reason for slow iOS 8 adoption is the memory issue, selling 16gb devices makes no sense long term.

     

    Ohhhh the paiiiiiiinnnnn!!!!!

     

    These horrible first world problems are almost unbearable!!!!!

     

    [Update: and now I can't find my XANAX!!!!!]

  • Reply 13 of 73
    ahmlcoahmlco Posts: 432member

    Terribly disappointed that they didn't put the full iPhone 6 Plus stabilized camera in the iPad. Since it's such a "wonderful" camera platform and all.

  • Reply 14 of 73

    TouchID on the iPad (Mini or Air) makes them both secure. Without TouchID it is a pain to use a complicated password, with TouchID it's a breeze, just like on the iPhone. My main concern with my iPad mini has been is that it's the "insecure" device that gives access to my synchronized password safe. Now I can secure that device as well.

     

    I've been using the iPad mini for the past year and really prefer it to the larger iPad which I used forever. The iPhone 6 is still too small to comfortably browse web sites and/or read books. It can be done, but why would you want to. After a year of using the iPad mini I have no hesitation regarding the form factor.

     

    My only complaint is that they didn't upgrade the processor on the iPad Mini as they did with the iPad Air. That's annoying.

  • Reply 15 of 73
    kent909kent909 Posts: 699member

    Just sitting here thinking too bad I don't have $4K I don't know what to do with.

  • Reply 16 of 73
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Sierrajeff View Post

     

    Politely pointed to the side door, is what I'm thinking.  Frankly with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the iPad Mini makes less sense.  I was *this close* (honest, holding fingers close together) to getting an iPad Mini before the new phone rumors appeared to solidify over the summer... gien the new phones, and on the other end the upgraded full-size iPad, it's hard for me to justify getting a Mini.

     

    (Now, if they'd done a larger iPad Pro, hoo boy look out, I'm first in that line!)




    I dunno... The pricing does basically eliminate the iPod Touch, which I think has just been shown the door.

     

    I think you're looking at a battery issue for most of the feature the Air 2 got.   Next year, when the networking chips are less hungry and the 8X gives way to a an 8Xs, maybe you'll see feature parity (or at least no more slippage in features)

  • Reply 17 of 73
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    sierrajeff wrote: »
    Politely pointed to the side door, is what I'm thinking.  Frankly with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the iPad Mini makes less sense.  I was *this close* (honest, holding fingers close together) to getting an iPad Mini before the new phone rumors appeared to solidify over the summer... gien the new phones, and on the other end the upgraded full-size iPad, it's hard for me to justify getting a Mini.

    (Now, if they'd done a larger iPad Pro, hoo boy look out, I'm first in that line!)

    Mini 3 is a pointless update. If they weren't gonig to give it the same specs as the Air 2 they should have just dropped the price on the mini 2 and left it at that. Touch ID isn't worth $100.

    What's really annoying though is the bean counter moves on storage. The whole point of going 16 > 64 is just to increase ASPs. My guess is there's a lot of people who don't need 64GB but 16GB isn't enough. 32GB would be perfect for them but Apple doesn't offer it. Considering the fact that iOS 8 adoption has slowed because of a lack of storage for OTA updates Apple's storage configurations should be 32 > 64 > 128. And for businesses that don't need the latest specs or a lot of storage keep around a cheaper iPad with 16GB storage.
  • Reply 18 of 73
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member

    I dunno... The pricing does basically eliminate the iPod Touch, which I think has just been shown the door.

    I think you're looking at a battery issue for most of the feature the Air 2 got.   Next year, when the networking chips are less hungry and the 8X gives way to a an 8Xs, maybe you'll see feature parity (or at least no more slippage in features)
    Why couldn't they give the mini 3 an A8 chip? If it's supply reasons, perhaps then wait to update the mini. Or don't update at all and just drop the price on the existing mini.
  • Reply 19 of 73
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,855member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post

     

    Terribly disappointed that they didn't put the full iPhone 6 Plus stabilized camera in the iPad. Since it's such a "wonderful" camera platform and all.




    iPhone  6 with 7.1mm thin has a protruding camera.  iPad Air 2 is only 6.1mm thin.

  • Reply 20 of 73
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,666member
    icoco3 wrote: »
    He mentioned specifically ApplePay wouldn't work for Point of Sale, just web purchases.  Seems that would be a good business to dominate with ApplePay rolling out.  Wonder if NFC readers will be made available that POS systems based on the iPad can take advantage of.

    I'm surprised that Apple doesn't go after the NFC reader market with iPad. For the guy running a small business that is constantly moving from customer to customer such an iPad would make business life much better.
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