Quick Takes: Mac Mini Turning 3.5 Years Old, But Unlike Mac Pro, Apple Remains Silent About Future Updates

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In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays.

Thursday, April 5

For more coverage of Apple, visit our Front Page, Mac Blog, and iOS Blog. Also head to our forums to join in the discussion.

Related Roundup: Mac mini
Buyer’s Guide: Mac Mini (Don’t Buy)

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Nubia Z18 mini to be announced on April 11, could feature dual rear cameras, Full HD+ display

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ZTE’s Nubia brand has scheduled an event on April 11th to unveil its mid-range Z18 mini, successor of last year’s Nubia Z17 mini in Beijing, China. The invite shows 24OO, which hints at 24-megapixel dual rear cameras for the phone or it could be 24-megapixel front camera. The invite doesn’t reveal any other details of the phone. The phone is rumored to come with Full  HD+ 18:9 aspect ratio screen, Snapdragon 660 SoC with up to 6GB of RAM and rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. It is likely to feature a unibody metal design, similar to the predecessor. The Nubia Z18 mini is rumored to be priced around 1599 yuan (US$ 254 / Rs. 16,555 approx.). We should know all the details when the phone goes official next Wednesday. Source
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Nubia Z18 mini to debut on April 11

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First, it was the nubia Z5, followed by Z7, Z9, and Z11, but then numbering leaped to Z17. So can you guess what the name of the next series of the ZTE subbrand is? Why, the Z18, of course. Yes, nubia is apparently now matching the calendar year with its model numbers. The first phone from the Z18 series is going to be called nubia Z18 mini, according to a press invite the company sent out. The phone is said to have 24 MP dual cameras and will be announced on April 11. The mini version of the expected Z18 flagship lacks any specs in the rumor mill, but it will probably be much…

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Google Home and Home Mini are coming to India in April

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Google is gearing up to officially launch its Home and Home Mini devices in India next month. The news was originally picked up as part of a communication by Redington India with its retail partners. This move has been widely anticipated, since the Google Assistant rolled out support for Hindi last month. Plus, Amazon’s competing Alexa and its Echo Plus, Echo and Echo Dot devices have recently begun selling in the subcontinent as well. Officially expanding the ongoing, cut-throat voice assistant battle to a vast new battleground. Alexa has the benefit of a substantial library of local skills…

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Which iPad should you get: iPad, iPad Pro, or iPad mini?

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So you want an iPad — but how do you know if you need to go Pro?

Apple’s iPads are the best-selling tablets for a reason — dollar for dollar they deliver more performance and a far more robust app ecosystem than any of the competition.

Though there are a number of striking differences between Apple’s various iPad models, choosing which iPad fits your needs can be tricky. Apple’s iPad Pro models push the limits, offering both faster chips and high-tech displays; the base-model iPad offers Apple Pencil support and decent speed at a much more affordable price; and the iPad mini provides one of the best LED Retina screens out there for reading. Which one should you pick? Let’s break it down.

The raw specs

Like looking at spec charts? Boy do we have a spec chart for you.

Device iPad mini (7.9) iPad (9.7) iPad Pro (10.5) iPad Pro (12.9)
Colors Silver, Gold, Space Gray Silver, Gold, Rose Gold, Space Gray Silver, Gold, Rose Gold, Space Gray Silver, Gold, Space Gray
Size 8″x5.3″ 9.4×6.6″ 9.8″x6.8″ 12″x8.68″
Capacity 128GB 32/128GB 64/256/512GB 64/256/512GB
Weight 0.65/0.67*lbs 1.03/1.05*lbs 1.03/1.05*lbs 1.49/1.53*lbs
Depth 0.24″ 0.29″ 0.24″ 0.27″
Battery 19.1-watt, 9*-10 hrs 32.4-watt, 9*-10 hrs 30.4‐watt, 9*-10 hrs 41‐watt, 9*-10 hrs
Cellular* LTE LTE LTE Advanced LTE Advanced
Display Retina (2048×1536, 326ppi) Retina (2048×1536, 264ppi) Retina (2224×1668, 264ppi) Retina (2732×2048, 264ppi)
Laminated? Yes No Yes Yes
Brightness 450 nits 511 nits 600 nits 600 nits
Refresh Rate 60Hz 60Hz 120Hz (ProMotion) 120Hz (ProMotion)
True Tone No No Yes Yes
Wide Color (P3) No No Yes Yes
Apple Pencil No Yes Yes Yes
Smart Connector No No Yes Yes
Bluetooth 4.2 4.2 4.2 4.2
Speakers Stereo (dual) Stereo (dual) 4-Speaker 4-Speaker
Touch ID 1st-gen 1st-gen 2nd-gen 2nd-gen
Taptic Engine No No No No
Chip A8 A10 A10X A10X
Motion M8 M10 M10 M10
RAM 2GB 2GB 4GB 4GB
Rear Camera 8MP f/2.4 8MP f/2.4 12MP f/1.8, P3 color 12MP f/1.8, P3 color
Video (Rear) 1080p (30fps) 1080p (30fps) 4K (30fps) 4K (30fps)
Front Camera 1.2MP f/2.2 1.2MP f/2.2 7MP f/2.2 7MP f/2.2
Video (Front) 720p (30fps) 720p (30fps) 1080p (30fps) 1080p (30fps)

*Only pertains to the cellular model.

Display

Perhaps the biggest differentiator between Apple’s four iPad models is size: They range from 7.9-inch diagonal screens all the way up to 12.9 inches, and each has its own pros and cons.

The base-model iPad (starting at $ 329) has a 9.7-inch display with a 2048×1536 screen; the iPad mini 4 has a 2048×1536 screen as well, but it measures 7.9 inches diagonally, offering a compact display with better pixel density (326ppi versus 264ppi).

Fun fact: The mini actually beats every other iPad in the line on pixel density, including Apple’s iPad Pros. That said, better pixel density is tough to notice with the naked eye — all iPad displays bear Apple’s Retina moniker, which means that their pixels are already hard enough to distinguish between without magnification.

Speaking of displays, the $ 329 iPad’s display isn’t fully laminated and lacks the antireflective coating found throughout the rest of the lineup, making it more prone to reflections in bright lighting. (In contrast, the iPad mini 4 has a fully-laminated display with antireflective coating, as do both iPad Pro models.) This isn’t a huge deal if you’re not used to laminated displays or you don’t do a lot of work outdoors, but it’s worth noting.

Relative screen sizes, left to right: 9.7-inch iPad, 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

The iPad Pro displays are larger and have more pixels: The 12.9-inch model is 2732×2048, and the 10.5-inch model is 2224×1668, each offering a Retina-quality pixel density of 264ppi. Each also sports True Tone technology: The iPad sports an extra sensor that determines the color temperature of the room, and adjusts the display’s color to provide a proper match. The displays also take advantage of the wider P3 color gamut; you’ll notice it most in images with bright colors, especially vibrant reds and oranges.

Finally, the Pro models have what Apple calls ProMotion: It dynamically changes the image refresh rate of the display from 24Hz to 120Hz to provide faster scrolling and smoother drawing with the Apple Pencil when you need that speed, and save battery life when you don’t.

Apple’s ProMotion is going to change how we use our devices

Processor speed

No surprise here: The iPad Pro line has the best processors on the market. Both iPad Pro models come with a A10X system-on-a-chip; Apple boasts 30 percent faster single-core benchmarks than its predecessor, and it simply blows away the A9X in multicore benchmarks. This 64-bit chip delivers laptop-class performance, and that’s partially why all the reviews of the 10.5-inch and second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro are so positive:

10.5-inch iPad Pro review: Beauty of a beast

To compare that with the non-Pro iPads, the 9.7-inch iPad has an A10, Apple’s fifth generation of 64-bit A-series SOC previously found in the iPhone 7. It’s faster than the A9 of its 2017 predecessor as well as the A9X of the first-generation iPad Pro models, but it won’t beat the current generation.

The iPad mini 4, however, is still running on an A8 processor. That’s slower than the aging iPad Air 2, and Apple will likely stop supporting it with iOS updates earlier than the other iPads being sold today. But it’s still a 64-bit chip and supports iOS 11.

iPad mini 4 review

Accessories

Both the base-model iPad and iPad Pro line support the Apple Pencil, Apple’s low-latency and pressure-sensitive stylus. The Apple Pencil is sublime and better than pretty much all other Bluetooth-enabled, pressure-sensitive styluses out there, and it enjoys robust app support, too.

The best stylus for iPad

The main difference in Pencil support between the base-model iPad and the iPad Pro models is the latter’s ProMotion technology, which halves latency when you’re using the Pencil. It’s not something most average users will notice, but it’s a huge boon for those who frequently draw, writer, or illustrate on their iPad.

Exclusive to the iPad Pro line is the Smart Connector, which uses magnetic technology to connect and charge keyboard accessories and docks like Apple’s Smart Keyboard.

The Smart Keyboard offers a few advantages over a Bluetooth keyboard or keyboard case: Since the Smart Keyboard clicks directly into the Smart Connector on the side of the iPad Pro, you never have to bother pairing the Smart Keyboard in the Bluetooth settings, or remember to charge it or power it down to save battery. Snap it on and it’s connected, snap it off and it’s off. Simple.

The Smart Keyboard for the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro features full-size keycaps.

Will the first generation Smart Cover or Smart Keyboard for 12.9-inch iPad Pro fit the second-generation model?

The base-model iPad and iPad mini don’t have the Smart Connector, so you can’t use the Smart Keyboard. But you can still use a Bluetooth keyboard and any kind of stand, or look for a case with a Bluetooth keyboard built in.

Best Accessories for the 9.7-inch iPad (2017 & 2018)

Storage

The difference in each iPad’s storage capacities is striking: The iPad Pro models start at 64GB, and you can quadruple that to 256GB for an extra $ 100, or max out at 512GB for an extra $ 300. Having 512GB of storage in a tablet is huge—Apple’s own MacBook Pro lineup starts at just 128GB.

The lower-priced non-Pro iPads offer smaller storage sizes: The iPad mini 4 is available in a single configuration (128GB) for $ 399. The regular 9.7-inch iPad is $ 329 for 32GB of storage, but your best value is actually $ 429 for 128GB of storage.

If you plan to use your iPad as a laptop replacement — storing lots of large files like photos, movies, music, and using desktop-quality apps — you might find this easier to manage on an iPad Pro.

Still, cloud storage is cheap these days, and products like the SanDisk iXpand let you keep some files on a detachable flash drive that’s still accessible in iOS. So it’s possible to juggle files on and off a lower-capacity iPad (it’s just kind of a pain).

Cameras

Are you using your iPad to take photos or videos? (Not at rock concerts, please…) The iPad Pro’s cameras are better: The rear-facing camera can shoot 4K video and 12-megapixel photos with optical image stabilization. They also can capture the wider P3 color gamut, and feature a quad-LED True Tone flash designed to light up the scene without harsh changes to skin tones.

The rear-facing cameras on the 9.7-inch iPad and iPad mini 4 have none of those features. They each shoot 8-megapixel stills and 1080p video, with limited slo-mo support (720p at 120fps, while the iPad Pro boasts 1080p at 120fps and 720p at 240fps). The 9.7-inch model can take Live Photos, but the iPad mini 4 can’t.

The front-facing FaceTime camera is much better on the iPad Pro too, taking 7-megapixel stills and recording 1080p video, while the smaller non-Pro iPads only take 1.2-megapixel stills and 720p video.

If the very idea of shooting photos and video with an iPad turns you off, you may not care. But plenty of cool apps take advantage of the iPad’s camera, and the iPad Pro will deliver a better experience.

Who should buy the 9.7-inch iPad?

The 2018 iPad’s specs don’t match the Pro line, but they’re an excellent value for the price. The A10 chip ensures you’ll be able to multitask, email, surf the Web, read, stream movies and TV, and play games with ease. And support for accessories like the Pencil gives a whole new price tier access to the many amazing handwriting, drawing, and calligraphy apps on the App Store.

And unless you’re upgrading from a 9.7-inch iPad Pro, you probably won’t notice its lack of True Tone display or fancier camera features.

This iPad is also particularly well-suited to families and education: Kids simply love iPads, and this lower-cost iPad ($ 329 for 32GB, and $ 429 for 128GB) is a godsend for parents who want to let their kids use the tablet but limit their possible loss should a mishap occur that even AppleCare can’t cover.

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Who should buy the 10.5-inch iPad Pro?

Apple’s smallest Pro tablet is a clear favorite for its combination of powerful performance and svelte portability — it’s barely bigger than the 9.7-inch iPad, but sports a much larger screen. That makes it a great laptop alternative or secondary screen, and it’s a better value than the bigger iPad Pro too. It’s the perfect iPad for almost everyone who can afford it (unless you really need the bigger 12.9-inch screen or want to save money with the (still capable!) non-Pro models).

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is $ 649 with 64GB, $ 749 with 256GB, and $ 949 with 512GB of storage, Wi-Fi only. Add $ 130 more for cellular—which is a good idea if you love to work remotely, and don’t want to tether your iPad to your iPhone.

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Who should buy the 12.9-inch iPad Pro?

Apple’s biggest tablet, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, offers the same specs as its 10.5-inch sibling — and a bigger screen, too. That’s heaven for people who love to draw and paint with the Apple Pencil, or anyone who needs a lot of screen real estate for editing large photos or video. People who love using multitasking mode might also appreciate the biggest iPad — when you divide its screen in half, each side is about the size of the iPad mini.

Of course, you’ll pay for that extra screen space. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro costs $ 799 for 64GB, $ 899 for 256GB, and $ 1099 for 512GB. Those are Wi-Fi only prices—add $ 130 for cellular.

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Who should buy the iPad mini 4?

The iPad mini 4 is kind of a strange bird in this lineup: It’s the same model that debut in 2015, and today finds itself squeezed on one side by the big-screened iPhone 8 Plus, and on the other by the sixth-generation iPad, which is both less expensive and more powerful. Sad to say, the iPad mini will probably never see another refresh.

Apple sells one SKU of the iPad mini 4, $ 399 for 128GB of storage. But if you want 128GB of storage, we think you’d be better served with the 9.7-inch 128GB iPad for $ 429. (It’s got a faster processor, after all, along with the extra screen space.) And if you want to spend as little as possible on an iPad, the 32GB iPad for $ 329 is the cheapest.

You should get an iPad mini if you need an iPad solely for an excellent reading experience and don’t want to rely on a larger iPhone. If you can afford the extra space in your bag, however, go for a 9.7-inch base-model iPad — you won’t regret it.

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Your picks?

What iPad are you thinking of buying? How did you make your decision? Is there anything else we can do to help? Comments are open!

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Mini Golf King update hits the green with new features in tow

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Having swung its way onto iOS and Android devices over a year ago, arcade multiplayer title Mini Golf King has returned from the clubhouse with all-new content in tow.

Bluehole PNIX’s free-to-play offering already provided a quirky twist on the popular sport by pitting players against more than 30 trap-filled, bonus-packed courses, and the game’s latest update has added an all-new gameplay mode and an additional power-up to the equation.

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Mini created an electric version of one of its classics

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Mini really wants everyone to know that it's embracing the EV future. At an event ahead of the New York Auto Show, the automaker unveiled the Classic Mini Electric that's exactly what the name implies: an older Mini that's been electrified.
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How Long Until Apple’s iPad mini 4 Finally Kicks the Bucket?

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Apple announced its updated 9.7-inch iPad for 2018 today, and the device represents an incredible value for money within the iPad lineup at just $ 329. What’s most interesting about this addition though, is that Apple’s bite-sized (and arguably outdated) iPad mini 4 has seemingly avoided the axe. With an updated, affordable, kid-friendly, and ultra-capable new […]
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Apple’s less powerful iPad mini 4 is $70 more expensive than the new iPad

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Today, Apple refreshed its iPad lineup with a new 9.7-inch iPad with Pencil support that comes with a student-focused $ 30 discount. The device is designed to replace last year’s $ 329 base model iPad, and it sells for that same price to regular consumers. Apple’s race to beat Google in the classroom is a good thing for everyone, resulting in cheaper price points and more options. However, one product category that still remains stubbornly unaffordable in Apple’s new education and accessibility-focused iPad roadmap is the iPad mini 4.

The company’s web store was updated this morning, and the 7.9-inch iPad mini, which came out back in September of 2015, is still being sold for a mind-boggling $ 399, as pointed out by Business Insider’s…

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Engadget giveaway: Win a Logitech Harmony Elite and Google Home Mini!

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Universal remote controls have been around for a while, but with a product like the Logitech Harmony Elite, simplicity and future-proofing go hand-in-hand. The Elite's Hub system lets you control IR, Bluetooth and even network-based products beyond y…
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