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Apple iPad Mini 4 lives on

The littlest iPad hasn't seen a major update since the Mini 4 launched in 2015, and things are looking grim.

The 7.9-inch iPad Mini 4 vs. the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2
Sarah Tew/CNET

In March 2017, Apple limited its thinnest and lightest iPad, the Mini 4, to a single configuration with 128GB of storage, costing $399 for the Wi-Fi model and $529 for the Wi-Fi and cellular edition. (See international pricing below.)

Today, Apple announced its newest 9.7-inch iPad with support for Apple's Pencil stylus and powered by a fast A10 Fusion chip for $329 (£319 in the UKAU$469 in Australia) with 32GB of storage. By comparison, the Mini 4, announced originally in September 2015, is woefully outdated and expensive. And yet, Apple is keeping it in the iPad lineup -- for now. 

Comparative specs

Starts at Display Processors Memory Back camera FaceTime camera
iPad (2018) 9.7 in $329, £319, AU$469 265 ppi A10 Fusion 32GB, 128GB 8MP, 1080p video 1.2MP, 720p video
iPad Mini 4 (7.9 in) $399, £419, AU$579 326 ppi A8, M8 128GB 8MP, 1080p video 1.2MP, 720p video
iPad Pro 10.5 in $649, £619, AU$979 264 ppi, P3 gamut A10X, M10 64GB, 256GB, 512GB 12MP, 4K video 7MP, 1080p video
iPad Pro 12.9 in $799, £769, AU$1,199 264 ppi, P3 gamut A10X, M10 64GB, 256GB, 512GB 12MP, 4K video 7MP, 1080p video

The relevance of 7.9-inch iPad Mini -- at any price -- appeared to be waning by 2016 and definitely by 2017. Unlike the 9.7-inch iPads or larger Pro models, the Mini was never great for getting work done. It's best as an e-reader or for entertainment, especially the current Mini 4 and its large 128GB capacity. But Apple's own 5.5-inch iPhone Plus along with other big-screen phones and cheaper iPad alternatives with expandable storage make more sense at this point. 

Unless you're fully invested in Apple media and apps and really need the smallest possible iPad to travel, you should probably rule out buying a Mini 4. At $399, you're literally not getting much iPad for your money, so maybe it is time for Apple to just put an end to the Mini once and for all. 

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