The iPad lineup has grown considerably in recent years. If you go to an Apple Store (or just open Apple’s website) now, you’ll find six different models available, ranging from the entry-level 9th generation iPad to the expensive 12.9-inch iPad Pro. I have two iPads: the latest M2 11-inch iPad Pro and the iPad mini 6. And the more I use both models, the more I’m sure the iPad mini is my favorite – here’s why.

A truly iPad experience

When the first iPad was introduced by Steve Jobs, it was never promoted as a replacement for a computer. Instead, it was positioned as a media consumption device that was more comfortable to use than a smartphone or a laptop for the same tasks. And for years, Apple has followed this approach with the iPad.

In 2012, it was the first time that the company announced not just one but two new iPads. And unlike the iPad 4, the iPad mini came as an even more compact alternative to the regular iPad. While the iPad 4 wasn’t exactly huge with its 9.7-inch screen, the iPad mini was even smaller and easy to hold with just one hand.

And this is how Apple has always promoted the iPad mini: an iPad that does everything the big model does but smaller. This is perfect for specific situations like reading a book or playing games using only your hands. Over time, iPads have gotten bigger and gained new features such as keyboard and mouse support, but the iPad mini is still around for those who just want an iPad to do iPad stuff.

From the mini to the Pro

When Apple announced the redesigned iPad mini 6 in 2021, I immediately wanted one. I had an iPad Air 3 at the time, but I often missed having a smaller, lighter iPad that I could hold in my hands to read or watch videos while sitting on my couch or lying in bed. The iPad Air with the Smart Keyboard was a bit clumsy for that.

And while I think the iPad mini’s software needs some refinement, I really enjoy using it in my everyday life. Reading an article or checking my social networks is much more enjoyable on the iPad mini than on my iPhone or MacBook, and it’s much easier to hold than the larger iPads.

iPad mini 4

But then iPadOS 16 came, bringing a bunch of features exclusive to M1 iPads. And although I prefer working from my MacBook, I had to try things like Stage Manager. So I bought the latest M2 iPad Pro right after it was announced last year. And then, I began to realize how much I preferred my iPad mini for most of the tasks I do with an iPad.

Holding an 11-inch iPad to read an article or a book is not exactly comfortable. My hands get tired quite quickly. Playing games with touchscreen controls is also not exactly easy when you’re holding a huge display. At the end of the day, it seems that iPad Pro is made to be used with the Magic Keyboard in most scenarios. Without it, it’s just a clumsy iPad.

A Pro iPad mini?

Remember when Apple announced a 9.7-inch iPad Pro? I kind of wanted something similar but for the iPad mini. My 9to5Mac colleague Zac Hall recently wrote about how cool a more premium version of the iPad mini would be for users who want to have all the best features in that smaller form factor. And I couldn’t agree more.

After using the iPad Pro, there are a few things I wish the mini had. These include Face ID, the ProMotion display, and a slightly faster chip. (The A15 isn’t bad, but it needs more RAM and is getting outdated for an iPad that costs $499.) Support for the Apple Pencil Hover would also be a nice addition.

iPad mini 4

I would also love to have an iPad mini capable of running Stage Manager when connected to a keyboard, mouse, and external display.

But the thing is, the iPad mini is often ignored by Apple. Since the introduction of the iPad mini 6 in 2021, there have been no hints of the company working on a new iPad mini to be released anytime soon. And for iPad mini fans who want to have the best hardware available, this is sad news.

The best portable tablet

iPad mini 4 and iPod

To wrap up, despite not having the latest hardware, I still think that the iPad mini is the best tablet you can get if you intend to use it as a tablet. It’s small and light but has a good display, reasonable cameras, Apple Pencil 2 support, stereo speakers, and all-day battery life. And I really hope to see a new iPad mini soon.

What about you? What’s your favorite iPad? Let me know in the comments section below.

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