Apple’s new 2021 iPad mini is available with 5G cellular connectivity — just like the newest iPad Pro. But unlike its larger siblings, the sleek and slender iPad mini misses out on faster mmWave technology in the U.S.
iPad mini looks just like a fourth-generation iPad Air that’s been scaled down into a more portable form factor. And the two devices share a lot in common. They both sport similar designs and edge-to-edge Liquid Retina screens, Touch ID embedded in their power buttons, and USB-C connectivity.
However, iPad mini has one big advantage over iPad Air: 5G connectivity. But those who plan to buy this model in the U.S. should be aware that not all of Apple’s 5G devices are created equally.
iPad mini doesn’t have mmWave 5G
iPad mini doesn’t offer the faster, more advanced mmWave technology that’s currently found in iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and the 2021 iPad Pro. It instead relies on the much more common, more resilient sub-6GHz 5G standard. But you shouldn’t be too disappointed.
Although mmWave 5G is quicker, it doesn’t travel as well, and carrier support for it is still pretty sparse. Sub-6GHz travels much further — and has a much greater ability to pass through obstacles like buildings — has more support, and is still significantly faster than 4G LTE.
Those outside the U.S. won’t notice a difference at all since Apple is yet to bring its mmWave technology to other countries.
iPad mini available to preorder now
The cellular version of iPad mini with 5G support starts at $649, while the Wi-Fi only model starts at just $499. Both are available to preorder from Apple today and will be available starting September 24.