MacWorld Reviews iPad Mini 3, More of the Same

We've seen it all before
We’ve seen it all before

It wasn’t too long ago, October in fact, that Apple unveiled it’s lineup of iPads. If you recall, there simply wasn’t much to see. Those of us outside the Apple gave a collective yawn, being once again assured that Apple wasn’t bringing anything new to the table. And yet we knew, that iPhonians would eat it up. That Apple fans lovingly accept anything Apple gives them as the best of the best. Or do they? A friend shared a link today to a Macworld post reviewing the iPad Mini 3 after four months use.”iPad mini 3 review: After 4 months, the iPad mini 3 is a great tablet but still a rubbish deal“, odd title from an Apple centric site isn’t it?

The first thing we want to note about the iPad mini 3 is that it is deceivingly similar to the iPad Mini 2. In fact, the only real difference is the introduction of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and the option to buy the iPad mini 3 with gold casing in addition to silver and slate grey

Touch ID and new colors? iPhonians should rejoice at such advancements! Macworld goes in to great detail on their review. A device this fresh deserves it! Starting with the “gorgeous” design and build.

Aside from the gold option and the Touch ID, the iPad mini 3 looks the same as its predecessor, the iPad mini 2.

Ok. Well, there is a gold color option. That’s Apple innovation at it’s finest there. Next up, Touch ID. With the inclusion of Touch ID on the new iPad Mini 3, Apple has brought Apple Pay to the iPad, for online shopping anyway.

Apple Pay and Touch ID on your iPad won’t work in actual brick and mortar stores, Apple obviously believes that people are unlikely to take their iPad shopping in the real world, and we would tend to agree. That means there’s no NFC in the iPad mini 3, or the iPad Air 2, despite the introduction of the technology on Apple’s newest iPhones.

So Apple’s most vaunted ‘innovation’ won’t work. Good plan Apple. On to the display.

 Apple hasn’t made any changes to the 7.9in Retina display on the new iPad mini 3, but it remains to be a great screen that owners of the original iPad mini are missing out on.

Again, no changes, but I guess it’s something to be proud of that it’s a better screen than the original iPad? An iPad released in 2014 has a better screen than one that was released in 2010. Great job Apple. You really outdid yourself. Well, didn’t really outdo yourself from last year, but from 4 years ago you did. Congratulations. On to hardware and performance.

The iPad mini 3 has, you guessed it, the exact same processor as the iPad mini 2 – the A7. We carried out benchmark tests on the iPad mini 3 to find out whether there’s any difference at all between it and its predecessor when it comes to speed and performance (perhaps it was wishful thinking). In our Geekbench 3.0 performance test, we found that the iPad mini 3 (running iOS 8.1) scored 1376 in the single-core test and 2483 in the multi-core test, which is almost identical to the iPad mini 3’s scores of 1374 and 2484.

But… you can get it in gold now. How about connectivity?

The iPad mini 3 doesn’t even get the faster 802.11ac that the new iPad Air 2 offers, which we think is another real shame. Instead, it has dual-band 802.11n WiFi and MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output). The iPad mini 3 does get the new Apple SIM, a removable SIM for the UK and US markets. This SIM is designed to be as “flexible as possible” according to Apple. At present, it’s only EE that’s signed up to Apple SIM in the UK, so unless you often travel to America it’s not going to be extremely useful to you just yet.

But as we know, the Apple Sim has been an absolute failure. On to capacity.

As it did with the iPhone 6 line up, Apple has dropped the 32GB capacity option from the iPad mini 3 line up. Apple told us that this was a strategy to bring the higher capacities down to a lower price point. When we asked why Apple kept the 16GB model on (rather than replacing that with the 32GB model) Apple told us that 16GB has always been popular (due to the lower price we are sure).

We know the reason why… because the 16 fills up so fast, they need to move on to the a larger device. Plus, with Apple allowing apps to reach 4 GB in size, it will happen even faster now. How about the cameras that we always here iPhonians bragging about?

The cameras on the iPad mini 3 haven’t been upgraded, so it’s still the same rear-facing 5Mp iSight camera with f/2.4 aperture.

How fun! Now the real fun part, software!

The iPad mini 3 ships with iOS 8 and various apps provided by Apple for free. There are currently over 675,000 iPad apps available in Apple’s App Store for you to download.

It’s all about the apps! Because in reality, it’s not much more than a coaster without apps. Don’t even think about getting any real core functionality from an Apple product without loading a ton of apps!

iOS 8 has had some teething problems, but the recent iOS 8.1 update seems to have ironed many of them out, and Apple is continuously working to release smaller updates to solve any other minor issues.

Teething problems. Of course. Just minor things like making your phone not work. Making it unable to make phone calls. Losing people’s media libraries and irreplaceable photos. Just minor things like that.

The iPad mini 3 will also be compatible with iOS 9 when it comes out in 2015, and you’ll be able to upgrade to iOS 9 for free if you wish; expect this to add a range of new features to the iPad’s arsenal.

If you wish? More than likely Apple will turn off features for you until you do upgrade. At which time, expect it to add a whole new range of problems to iPad’s arsenal. At least then the iPad will get something new. The final verdict?

The iPad mini 3 is by no means a bad tablet. In fact, it’s a rather great one that we’ve thoroughly enjoyed using for the past few months. But, it’s a bit of a rotten deal, and we have found it extremely difficult to recommend buying the iPad mini 3 when the iPad mini 2 is available for £80 less and is almost exactly the same, and the hugely more powerful iPad Air 2 is only £80 more.

There you have it. Macworld says it’s not worth it. Dare I say that the only surprise here is that an Apple centric site has realized what Apple has done on an upgrade cycle? Apple is already 2 years behind on tech, and the tech they use, they refuse to use it in the standard ways, thereby crippling it (NFC, Bluetooth, etc). And they’re just getting further behind. Why? Because offering modern tech is costly. Because doing things like allowing people to transfer files between devices without using Apple services means that Apple is losing out on the ability to make money off their customers. And Apple will not allow anything on their devices that is not going to make them additional money. Apple has also discovered that by offering their customers as little as possible, their customers will still buy, thus increasing their profits even more so. However, that time will come to an end. And articles like this in Macworld will help make this happen sooner than later. Me? I’ll be using a BlackBerry, where each update makes me feel like I have a new phone. Where my phone is completely capable of getting the job done right out of the box. A phone in which I can use NFC and Bluetooth as I wish, not how I’m told. A phone which I can stream video to my TV without having to buy another peripheral product from Apple to do so. Someday, consumers will realize that Apple has been no more than a snake oil salesman, selling them a product that simply doesn’t compare to the competition. And when they do realize that, let’s show them just how much we can do on our BlackBerry.


BlackBerry Elite Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs and UTB Geek. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.

  • Trev

    It’s always entertaining when an iDrone becomes self-aware.

    That’s probably the last we’ll hear of that editor…at least on MacWorld.

  • web99

    Great article Brad,

    That has been the Apple formula for the last while. Introduce minor tweaks in its latest iteration without any noticeable change in its previous one, slap an apple logo on it and their customers will buy them up in droves. In the long run without any new innovation, it is not sustainable and their customers will eventually wise up one day.

  • shanerredflag

    But but, but they are getting a watch and everything.


      “But but, but they are getting a watch and everything.”


  • jrohland

    Wait until the iCar is out ( Of course it won’t multitask so to go, stop or steer you will have to press the home button and switch to the app. Since it will be electric and Apple is so great a power management, I’m sure they will convince the flock 10 kilometers is plenty far enough on a charge.

    • Canuckvoip

      And yes, the bendy car better not get in an accident.
      Maybe they can license it to Mercedes… the Mercedes iBenz

  • Zensen

    I absolutely despise what they’ve done with NFC, how they play their consumers with GB space.

    16 gb is a joke for what ppl use consumption devices for. Then you have apple restricting you from having any expandable memory.

    This is apple to the core. Controlling their users moving them to higher more expensive but samey devices – in new colours!

    You’d think with a mini tablet one would still find a good use for NFC but then again it is crippled!

    Watch apple play their users again by adding NFC for apple pay in their next iteration.

    I bloody hate their stubbornness when it comes sim trays, blu ray, nfc, hdmi

    They really kill off good uses of universal tech and try to control it themselves.

    Sony use to get a lot of flack for that, apple should too.

    I love NFCCCCC

    • Zensen

      At least with Sony they have the mindset to use these type of things like USB too!

      Love pairing my soundbar to my phone. BlackBerry provides options.

  • Anthony

    iPad mini 3 is actually the mini 2 with new advertising. It’s Apple’s sick joke. Watch people try to figure out what’s different. locco_smiley_8