New iPad Air 10.5-inch, Mini have faster processors and Apple Pencil support

Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored
Updated Tue March 19, 2019

Story highlights

  • The new iPad Mini starts at $399; the iPad Air starts at $499.
  • Both iPads feature the A12 processor, have Retina displays and support the Apple Pencil.

Well, who doesn't love a Monday morning surprise!

The aging iPad Air and even older iPad Mini are getting well-deserved updates from Apple. Introducing the new iPad Air 10.5-inch (starting at $499; amazon.com) and the fifth generation iPad Mini (starting at $399; amazon.com) that still packs a 7.9-inch display. And yes, the iPad 9.7-inch (starting at $249.99, originally $329; amazon.com) from last year is still around.

Apple clearly believes there's an iPad for everyone. And now that playing field is leveling out, let's dive into the updates and what's new about these iPads.

The iPad Air is even thinner at just 6.1 millimeters and weighs in at 1 pound. It now features a 10.5-inch Retina display and keeps its home button with a touch ID sensor for easy unlocking. Face ID on iPad is reserved for the higher-end 11-inch and 12.9-inch Pro models. Those familiar with 2017's 10.5-inch iPad Pro will find similarities, but this is a more affordable version.

Rounding out the iPad Air is a fast A12 Bionic chip with a neural engine and an embedded M12 coprocessor. It's running iOS 12 and will undoubtedly be able to handle multitasking along with other productivity tasks. Apple is keeping the Lightning connector for charging and is adding support for the first generation Apple Pencil ($94, originally $99; amazon.com). The rear camera is an 8-megapixel lens, and for FaceTime, you'll find a 5-megapixel lens on the front.

The 2019 iPad Air 10.5-inch will be available in silver, space gray or gold along with either 64GB or 256GB of storage.

Similar to the new Air, the iPad Mini 5 is getting a long-awaited updated that starts with the faster A12 Bionic chip. You'll still get a 7.9-inch Retina display, a physical home button with touch ID and 10-hour battery life.

New to the fifth-generation model is Apple Pencil support, and this might be the perfect size for quick, on-the-go note taking. I'm eager to try out the experience on the latest iPad Mini, and you guessed it, is keeping the Lightning connector. Apple has opted for an 8-megapixel camera on the back and a 5-megapixel on the front.

iOS 12 is powering the new iPad Mini as well, and you should be able to throw a lot at it, including photo editing apps, gaming and augmented reality experiences. Apple's latest iPad Mini 5 will come in silver, space gray or gold with either 64GB or 256GB of storage.

So Apple's new iPad Family includes the 7.9-inch iPad Mini ($399), the 9.7-inch iPad ($329), the 10.5-inch iPad Air ($499), the 11-inch iPad Pro ($799) and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro ($999). So there are plenty of options for you to choose from, and even better, the 2018 9.7-inch iPad with an A11 processor and Apple Pencil support is on sale for $249 from Amazon.

Here are the pricing and model breakdown for the two new iPads.

  • Apple iPad Air 10.5-inch 64GB Wi-Fi ($499.99; amazon.com)
  • Apple iPad Air 10.5-inch 256GB Wi-Fi ($649.99; amazon.com)
  • Apple iPad Air 10.5-inch 64GB LTE ($629.99; amazon.com)
  • Apple iPad Air 10.5-inch 256GB LTE ($779.99; amazon.com)
  • Apple iPad Mini 5th Gen. 64GB Wi-Fi ($399.99; amazon.com)
  • Apple iPad Mini 5th Gen. 256GB Wi-Fi ($549.99; amazon.com)
  • Apple iPad Mini 5th Gen. 64GB LTE ($529.99; amazon.com)
  • Apple iPad Mini 5th Gen. 256GB LTE ($679.99; amazon.com)

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.