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Apple iPad Mini 2 gets the axe amid quiet tablet refresh

If you want a smaller iPad and don't want to pay $400 for the iPad Mini 4, get a Mini 2 while you still can.

If you want an iPad Mini 2, better act fast.

James Martin/CNET

Apple giveth and it taketh away.

Starting at $249, the iPad Mini 2 was the simplest, most affordable iPad, according to CNET reviews. Now it's getting replaced by something much more expensive.

The Mini 2 is gone from Apple's website, signaling its demise. The only Mini you'll be able to buy new and direct from Apple is the Mini 4, starting at $399, £419 or AU$579.

The culling of the Mini 2 comes amid Apple's quiet refresh of its tablet lineup, highlighted by the introduction of an improved full-sized iPad starting at $329, £339 or AU$469. You read that right: The new 9.7-inch iPad is cheaper than the old 7.9-inch Mini.

The low-key launch of Apple's new iPad underscores the overall decline in the tablet market. Global tablet shipments dropped for a ninth consecutive quarter in the last three months of 2016, according to product tracker IDC, and iPad sales have dribbled downwards for 12 straight quarters.

The iPad Mini 2 is still on sale at numerous third-party sites such as Amazon, starting at $250. If you want one, better move fast.