Don’t Bother Buying Apple’s New iPad Mini 3

If Apple’s pricing for its 7.9-inch iPad minis is anything to go by, it apparently figures you will gladly pay an extra $100 for its Touch ID fingerprint scanner. 

The company’s new iPad mini 3 offers exactly the same specs as last year’s model, excepting only the addition of Touch ID. Yet it will set you back another full 100 clams: 

  • iPad mini 3: 16GB $399, iPad mini 2: 16GB $299
  • iPad mini 3: 32GB none, iPad mini 2: 32GB $349
  • iPad mini 3: 64GB $499, iPad mini 2: none
  • iPad mini 3: 128GB $599, iPad mini 2: none

The very first 2012 iPad mini now costs even less, at $249 for 16GB of storage—but that price differential seems justified, considering it was slower and didn’t come with a high-res “retina” display. 

The new iPad mini 3 is exactly the same size and weight as the iPad mini 2, and boasts exactly the same A7 processor, cameras, screen size and resolution. Meanwhile its bigger sibling, the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2, shaved off 1.4 mm (0.05 inches) and lost 34 grams (0.07 pounds) relative to its predecessor.

It’s also worth pointing out that the new version of the large tablet is the only iPad to come with the new A8X processor—the one Phil Schiller couldn’t stop gushing about today

But back to the iPad mini: The only other differences that we can spot between this year’s and last year’s versions are a new gold color option and a reshuffling of its storage capacity options (as you can see in the list above). Apple has officially ditched the 32GB option in the new model—presumably to shuffle people into larger, pricier tiers. 

Maybe Apple’s paying less attention to the iPad mini now that it has the gargantuan iPhone 6 Plus and its 5.5-inch display. More likely, though, is the possibility that Apple’s big plans to generate iPad excitement relied on the new iPad Air and an even bigger 12.9-inch version, which supposedly got delayed until next year

Either way, if you already have an iPad mini 2 and are wondering if you should upgrade, the decision is pretty simple: Ask yourself if having a fingerprint scanner is worth plunking down more money.

Photo of Touch ID on the iPhone 5S by Kārlis Dambrāns

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