Last year when Apple announced the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3, it also announced that the original iPad Mini would continue to hang around at a new, discounted price of $249. Today, after eight months, Apple has quietly delisted its old, relatively cheap tablet from the online Apple Store.
One the inside, the two-and-a-half-year-old Mini was actually a lightly modified version of the four-and-change-year-old iPad 2, which Apple stopped selling in early 2014. The Mini was the last iOS device Apple sold with a non-Retina display—the rest of the lineup, from the iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6 to the iPod Touch, is all Retina at this point even, though the Mac lineup is still making the switch.
Even with the price drop, it was difficult to make a case for buying the first-gen iPad Mini in 2015. The iPad Mini 2 was dropped to $299 at the same time, so spending an extra $50 got you a much better screen, twice the RAM, and approximately four times the processing power. That's a lot to turn down. And while both tablets will run iOS 9, the iPad Mini 2 will support some of the operating system's new multitasking features and the original Mini won't (there will no doubt be some other features that older hardware misses out on, too).