From the outside, you'd be hard-pressed to spot the difference between an iPad mini 4 from an iPad mini 5. But, internally, there are quite a few differences that really separate Apple's previous mini from the newest. AppleInsider goes deep, highlighting all the changes from the previous iPad mini fourth-generation to the powerful 2019 model.
Spot the difference
Physically, the two tablets are near-identical. Glancing at them with the display off from the front you'd be unable to distinguish one from the other. They each have the same bezel and same 7.9-inch sized display. Even though the fifth generation is brand new, Apple held over almost the entire design from the years-old model.
Flipping the tablet over will present the sole physical change on the miniature tablet — i.e. the pair of microphones. Both tablets have dual mics for filming located near the top of the devices. On the legacy fourth generation device one mic lives just to the left of the camera on the side of the tablet, and the other just to the right camera. On the new model, Apple relocated them both — one is now on the back near the top, directly centered horizontally. The second is on the topmost edge, also centered.
This is a minute difference, but it does impact case designs. What fits the fourth generation will technically fit the fifth, but both microphones will now be covered. Newer cases have already started getting released that take the microphone placement into consideration.
The only other physical change you will notice is the display. It keeps the same 2,048 x 1,536 resolution at 326 pixels per inch that measures 7.9 inches diagonally. What has changed is that it now supports the P3 wide color gamut that makes the display more vibrant. It is also brighter, now at 500 nits, compared to the previous at 450 nits.
The display on the iPad mini 5 supports Apple's True Tone tech. This feature allows the white balance of the display to adjust throughout the day. The camera monitors the ambient light in a room and adjusts the temperature of the display to match, making it more comfortable to use.
It's what's on the inside that matters
Internally, Apple went all out. The new iPad mini is sporting the A12 Bionic processor, that easily dwarfs the A8 processor found in the iPad mini 4. In our review, we go over the drastic changes in performance you can expect with this new chipset. For reference, this is the same processor found in the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. The iPad Pro line has the A12X Bionic processor which is a bit more capable, but for the size it is robust. Also baked into the chipset is the M12 coprocessor, up from the M8 prior.
Apple has upgraded the capacity of the iPad mini 5, now coming in 64GB and 256GB compared to the max of 128GB on the previous generation. RAM has also increased by 50 percent to 3GB.
Wireless connectivity has improved, jumping from Bluetooth 4.0 to Bluetooth 5. Both support 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, although the newer model is designated as simultaneous dual band.
There wasn't much noticable change with the rear shooter on the iPad mini 5, but there were changes to the front-facing. The rear retains the 8MP that will do well enough for AR experiences and capturing well-lit photos, but otherwise should be overlooked for your (newer) iPhone or dedicated camera.
On the front, there isn't Face ID or the True Depth Camera System, but instead, Apple upgraded the FaceTime forward-facing camera from 1.2MP to 7MP. That camera now can shoot 1080P video at 30 frames per second, above the 720P previously afforded.
That new camera can also now capture wide color for photos and Live Photos. Capturing wide color photos is particularly noticable thanks to the P3-grade display.
Where to buy
If you haven't already, check out the AppleInsider review of the 2019 iPad mini 5 where we give our verdict on how all these changes actually impact the diminutive device.
For the lowest prices across all iPad lines, be sure to check out our iPad Price Guide.