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iPad mini 6 pre-orders: why you should consider Apple’s new release

The iPad mini has seen a major design refresh – here's how you can get your hands on one.

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The iPad mini 6 may have been the highlight of Apple’s recent ‘California Streaming’ reveal event. The pocket-sized tablet received its “biggest upgrade ever” and is going to be a tempting proposition for tablet users. We’re explaining how and when you can get your hands on one, as well as discussing whether you should.

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Apple’s Product Manager of iPad, Katie McDonald, detailed the first major iPad mini design refresh in years and the impressive specs of the 8.3-inch tablet. It is powered by an A15 Bionic chip and will come with the latest iPadOS 15 software, which is available to download for free from Apple from 20th September.

So here’s everything that you need to know about the tech giant’s tinniest tablet – including its release date, specifications, price, colours and more. Also, we’ll be running down a selection of retailers and networks now offering pre-orders on Apple’s latest tablet.

Looking to find out more about Apple’s other upcoming products? Read our Apple Watch 7 pre-order page or head to our iPhone 13 review. Notably absent at the event was any news of the AirPods 3 release date. More interested in smartphones? Don’t miss our in-depth iPhone 13 vs iPhone 12 comparison guide try our iPhone 13 stock page to find out which UK retailers have the phone in stock.

iPad mini 6: top specs at a glance 

  • 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display
  • 2266-by-1488 resolution at 326 pixels per inch (ppi)
  • 500 nits brightness
  • A15 Bionic chip
  • 12MP wide rear camera
  • 12MP ultra-wide front camera
  • 4K video at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps
  • Stereo speakers
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • USB-C port charging port

iPad mini 6: release date

The new iPad mini 6 was announced at the “California Streaming” event on 14th September, and unlike other devices in Apple’s new line-up, the new iPad was available to pre-order immediately. It will be in shops from 24th September.

iPad mini 6: design 

A revamped design of the iPad mini is definitely one of the most appealing aspects of the new tablet’s release. As rumours predicted, there’s no longer a home button, the iPad mini 6 supports the 2nd generation Apple Pencil, and there’s a USB-C port. 

Plus, the aluminium in the enclosure is 100%  recycled. The 7.9-inch mini’s last upgrade came out back in 2019 when it was given a new A12 Bionic chip and Apple Pencil support, but the overall design of the tablet has since remained the same.

That’s no longer the case. Speaking at the reveal, Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, claimed the new generation is “a huge leap forward that can be held in the palm of your hand.” The 6th generation iPad mini runs on iPadOS 15, the latest update, which is available from Monday 20th September. 

If you’ve got an older model, you can update to iPadOS 15 on the iPad mini 4 and later, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, and every iPad Pro model.

iPad Mini 6 specs

iPad mini 6: specs

Much like all of the updated Apple devices, the new iPad mini’s performance sees a boost compared to its predecessor. It will now have an A15 Bionic chipset that better handles “graphically rich” games and power-hungry tasks. The iPad mini 5 was powered by an A12 Bionic chip, so that marks a pretty significant update for performance this year. The new iPad mini 6 now claims to have “all-day” battery life, and Apple said the tablet is around 10x faster than the previous model.

But that’s not all – here are some more specs that make the new iPad mini special:

  • 40% better CPU performance (6-core CPU)
  • 80% better GPU performance (5-core GPU)
  • New speaker system
  • 5G – users can reach speeds of up to 3.5Gbps
  • Compatible with the 2nd generation Apple Pencil
  • Touch ID, and is now USB‑C instead of Lightning

iPad mini 6: camera and video

The iPad mini 6’s picture-taking and video capacities have also been enhanced this year. It now has “Centre Stage” functionality in the front camera, which pans to keep a user in view even when they are in motion. The iPad mini 6’s selfie camera is a 12 megapixel (MP) ultra-wide lens, while the rear module holds a 12MP wide lens.

The back camera can shoot 4K video at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps (frames per second). For comparison, the previous iPad mini 5 has an 8MP rear wide camera and lacked the True Tone flash that’s in the latest model. 

iPad mini 6 camera

iPad mini 6: colours

The mini 6 is available in four finishes – pink, starlight, purple and space grey. Plus, there are Smart Folio covers to coordinate with the new finishes, which come in black, white, dark cherry, English lavender and electric orange.

Should you buy the iPad mini 6?

The compact form factor of the mini, twinned with the new, powerful A15 Bionic chip makes the tablet a tempting proposition. It’s a versatile, go-anywhere machine that will make working on the go simple.

While the iPhone 13- at first glance – seems to be very similar to the iPhone 12, with a few relatively minor upgrades, the iPad mini 6 represents more of a technological leap. So, for anyone who loved the iPad mini form factor, but wanted a more powerful machine, the iPad mini 6 is a good purchase.

We can’t categorically recommend purchasing the new tablet until we get hands-on and test it for ourselves, but thanks to the relative consistency of Apple products and everything we’ve seen so far, we think the iPad mini 6 is a safe bet and an ideal choice for anyone highly mobile remote workers.

That said – as with all Apple products – this tablet will be more useful when twinned with other Apple products and services, so it’s a slightly different proposition if you’re new to the Apple ecosystem. It’s worth considering what software you regularly use on your existing devices and researching the Apple alternatives. Are they cross-compatible, and which do you prefer?

iPad mini 6: pricing, pre-orders and where to buy

There are multiple versions of the iPad mini 6. The Wi-Fi models are priced from £479, while the Wi-Fi + Cellular models start at £619. There are two storage options: 64GB and 256GB. It will be available from Friday, 24th September.

Here’s the full price list:

Wi‑Fi

  • 64GB: £479
  • 256GB: £619

Wi‑Fi + Cellular

  • 64GB: £619
  • 256GB: £759

For comparison, the 5th generation iPad mini started at £399 for the Wi‑Fi version and from £519 for a Wi‑Fi-Cellular version.

The iPad mini 6 is available to pre-order from the official Apple website and a variety of major retailers, including John Lewis, Currys and AO.

Elsewhere, Amazon is offering pre-orders on a range of iPad mini 6 configurations, including the whole range of colours, WIFI or cellular versions and 64GB or 256GB versions.

Several UK phone networks have also made the iPad mini 6 available, with a variety of pricing plans for Apple’s new tablet. For example, O2 is offering several ’36 month device plans’ with an upfront cost of £20, followed by monthly costs ranging from £23.50 to £29.50, depending on how much data and which extras you require.

If three years seems like a long time to commit to a contract, Vodafone is offering shorter-term contracts, but they are more expensive. After paying £20 upfront, the Vodafone contracts start at £43 a month.

If you want to read a deep dive into the differences between the previous iPads, our experts have tested a variety of Apple’s tablets. Check out our iPad mini (2019) review, iPad Air (2020) review and iPad Pro (2021) review. To see how two major iPads compare, don’t miss our Apple iPad Pro vs iPad Air explainer.

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