The Appleverse is chock-full of new and refreshed gizmos. First item of the fall Apple offerings on our teardown table—the iPad Mini 4. Apple seems to have homogenized their iPad lineup by putting an iPad Mini 3 and an iPad Air 2 in a fusion chamber—boom, iPad Mini 4. A fused display, 8 MP iSight camera, and 2 GB of RAM in the same 7.9″ mini form factor some of us love.
While the design looks cleaner and the specs are better, repairability didn’t improve correspondingly. The iPad Mini 4 inherits a miserable 2-out-of-10 score from both the Mini 3 and the Air 2. No gold stars from us, Apple.
• The Mini 4 features the same fully laminated screen tech we’ve seen in the iPad Air 2, at Mini 3 size and resolution. This is part of what makes the Mini 4 18% thinner than the Mini 3—but it’s also more expensive to fix when you drop it.
• Not only is the battery thinner and of lesser capacity, it’s now a single cell, instead of two. And still no handy adhesive tabs à la iPhone.
• This iPad is some kind of Mini/Air hybrid—half its antennas on the top (like an Air), half on the bottom (like a standard Mini).