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Apple announces new $499 iPad Air and $399 iPad Mini, both with Pencil support and faster A12 processor

Ahead of next week's expected video-streaming service debut, Apple updates its iPad portfolio.

new-ipad-air-and-ipad-mini-with-apple-pencil-03182019

The current iPad line, featuring the debut of the new iPad Air and the iPad Mini.

Apple

One week before it's expected to lift the curtain on a long-rumored video streaming service at an event on March 25, Apple announced two new iPads. 

Starting at $499 (£479, AU$779), the new iPad Air features a 10.5-inch Retina display and the same A12 Bionic processor used in the iPhone XS. The new $399 (£399, AU$599) iPad Mini will replace the aging iPad Mini 4, which had been left virtually unchanged by Apple since its debut in 2015. The new models are now available for preorder and will be in stores next week. See the buying links below, and note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of products featured on this page.

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The 2019 iPad Air 

The new iPad Air sits between the 9.7-inch iPad introduced last year, which starts at $329, and the 11-inch iPad Pro, which starts at $799 and has a more powerful A12X processor. The new Air is essentially a refresh of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro from 2017, which Apple has now discontinued. It has a nearly identical design -- and accessories will be interchangeable between the two -- but a few newer components. Apple hadn't released an "Air" version of the iPad since switching over to the plain old "iPad" in 2017.

new-ipad-air-with-smart-keyboard-apple-pencil-03192019.jpg

The new iPad Air with Apple's smart keyboard and Pencil.

Apple

Here's a rundown of the 2019 iPad Air's specs:

  • 10.5-inch Retina display (2,224x1,668-pixel resolution), 500 nits
  • 8-megapixel rear camera, 7-megapixel FaceTime camera
  • Support for the original Apple Pencil (not the newer one announced in October)
  • A12 Bionic processor with Neural Engine, M12 coprocessor
  • 64GB or 256GB of storage
  • Support for eSIM
  • Rated for 10 hours of battery life
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Touch ID
  • Lightning connector
  • Weighs 1 pound (456 grams); Wi-Fi + cellular model weighs 1.02 pounds (464 grams)
  • Available in space gray, silver and gold
  • Starts at $499, £479, AU$779

The 2019 iPad Mini

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The new iPad Mini.

Apple

The new iPad Mini has the same basic design as the iPad Mini 4, with the same 7.9-inch display and the same broad bezels. (The camera has moved to a different position, however, so Mini 4 cases may not fit properly on the new model.) The new Mini doesn't have Face ID or USB-C ports -- major upgrades found on other recent Apple tablets -- though it has a much faster A12 processor. That chip will surely give the new model a significant performance advantage over its predecessor, which used the same A8 chip as the 2014-era iPhone 6. The new model retains the previous model's 3.5mm headphone jack and Lightning port -- two features that Apple excluded from last year's batch of iPad Pros

Here's a rundown of the 2019 iPad Mini's specs:

  • 7.9-inch Retina display (2,048x1,536-pixel resolution)
  • 64GB or 256GB of storage
  • A12 Bionic processor with Neural Engine, M12 coprocessor
  • 8-megapixel rear camera, 7-megapixel FaceTime camera
  • Support for the original Apple Pencil (not the newer one announced in October)
  • Touch ID
  • Lightning connector
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Support for eSIM
  • Weighs 0.66 pound (300 grams); Wi-Fi + cellular model weighs 0.68 pound (308 grams)
  • Available in space gray, silver and gold
  • Starts at $399, £399, AU$599

Apple often introduces new products in March. At last year's event, Apple delivered a refreshed edition of its entry-level iPad in addition to some education-friendly software initiatives. That today's announcement was made by press release suggests that the company wants to keep the focus of next week's event solely on its new video streaming service.

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Originally published March 18 at 6.39 a.m. PT.
Update, at 11.05 p.m. PT: Added more details about accessory compatibility.