back to article Apple bestows first hardware upgrades in years upon neglected iPad Mini and Air lines

Apple has tinkered with its iPad line, resurrecting the Air and administering a bit of mouth-to-mouth to the Mini as the company battles tottering sales. The iPad unit has not been its usual superstar self of late – the popularity of Apple's fondleslabs has declined as unit sales dropped last year, although revenues perked up …

  1. Luiz Abdala
    Joke

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    To know what every non-fanboi thinks of the iPad just take a look to your right.

    Even in the article the guy couldn't keep his sarcasm in check (only THREE times more processing???)

    Neglected is the right term.

    See icon --->

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      The best the Android world has, ARM's A76 in the SD855 etc. is roughly comparable to the A10, which Apple introduced 2 1/2 years ago. If Apple has only increased their CPU power 3x in the past four years, it is because they were already so far ahead of everyone else in the ARM ecosystem that it is harder to keep multiplying the speed.

      Though I doubt Android SoCs have gained more than 3x during that time, either.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      Apple Tablets are the best in the world in each class they operate in. It's just that we don't need so many of them as Apple releases.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    APPLECARE

    When I go visit my elderly parents their landline phone rings almost every hour with nothing but scam calls spoofing their local area code.

    They know better than to answer any unrecognized numbers.

    Most recently they have been bombarded by phone calls that show "APPLECARE" on caller ID.

    I called the number from a burner phone I have and it is very convincing.

    There is an automated service which prompts the victim to speak the make of their Apple device and serial number or IMEI depending upon the device.

    Users have been reporting this scam phone number for over a year with victims claiming agents with thick Indian accents remote access into their devices.

    https://reportscam.com/800-275-2273

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: APPLECARE

      There are similar scam emails going around purporting to be from Apple Care.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: APPLECARE

      sigh,

      At least it makes a change from the incessant calls from BT 'we are disconnecting your service' and Microsoft 'your computer is compromised'

      Naturally these are not genuine calls from Apple, BT or Microsoft but these poor Indians with English names working from their former garment factory sweatshops in places like Mumbai, Bengalru or Chennai have to earn a crust somehow don't they?

      Well no they don't.

      The moment I hear an Indian voice on the other end of the phone I say "What are you trying to sell me?"

      Almost always, they hangup right away.

      It really is time for BT to stop all this scamming but it won't be easy...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: APPLECARE

        Interestingly, I just had a call pretending to be from my bank describing fraud on my account. It was a reasonably good one, but crucially (and rather worryingly I thought) it was a British woman, possibly north eastern England accent. When they first asked me to confirm something (the current balance I was happy wasn’t affected by fraud) and I gently said “no, I don’t share my info with unverified cold callers”, she hung up.

        Depressingly, although they say otherwise, the same bank do actually ask you to verify parts of your security details when they genuinely call, so really aren’t helping themselves. They always seem baffled when I ask why they’re not verifying their identity with me, as they called me. Authentication works two ways.

        1. paulf Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: APPLECARE

          @AC "Authentication works two ways."

          I've been bashing my head against that brick wall for years so I'm glad it's not just me. When a Bank or some such calls me they always want to verify my identity even though they've called me. I understand you need to make sure you're speaking to the right person but I need some way to check you are who you say you are before we get on to who I am.

          I've had some more pragmatic responses when I've pointed out I have no means to verify their identity and usually get a name/reference so I can call back on the main number to make sure the call was genuine but I've also had plenty that think I've started speaking in Swahili when I point out I'm not giving personal information to an unverified caller who just calls up and asks for it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: APPLECARE

        It's really quite simple: just never ever answer a phone call from a number that you don't recognise (even better, don't even bother to plug a phone into your landline).

        In the unlikely event that a call might turn out to be from someone that you you might want to hear from, they will find another way to contact you. I refuse to use call centres (phone queues and non-asynchronous communication are so old-fashioned, that's why humanity invented writing) and only ever communicate with my banks, etc, via secure messaging.

    3. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: APPLECARE

      Most recently they have been bombarded by phone calls that show "APPLECARE" on caller ID.

      Until STIR &/or SHAKEN is implemented, don't bother reporting the number to any relevant government body because the numbers are spoof. Do Not Call List won't make any difference if the scammers are from overseas.

      These are some of the reasons why fed up people are doing something no government can do: Fight back. And one method of fighting back is Lenny.

      I've had Lenny installed for a number of years now and the calls have dropped. I am lucky if I actually get a scam call a month.

    4. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: APPLECARE

      Of course it's a scam, just like Applecare is.

  3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Slipping

    Parents looking for something to slip into little hands on long journeys

    In my experience the overly smooth I-Pads tend to lots of slipping out of little hands! Ergonomic fail not to have rubberised the back of the I-Pads

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Slipping

      That's what a rubbery case is for, available for next to faff all from nearly anywhere.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Slipping

        Why should you have to buy a case just to be able to use the thing?

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Slipping

          Why should you have to buy a case just to be able to use the thing?

          You don't need one. I've had iPads since 2012, never used a case and the thing just works like it should. Amazing!

          If I was going to use it somewhere that posed a risk I might choose to protect it. But I like it like it is.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Slipping

            I'm borrowing an I-Pad 2 from a mate to test stuff and I find it incredibly slippery, really just waiting to fall on the floor. My old Samsung Galaxy 8.9 had a rubberised back from the get-go. Really surprised given the US culture of strict liability (knives must carry a warning that they're sharp, coffee cups that they may contain hot liquids, etc.) that no one has taken Apple on for this.

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Megaphone

        Re: Slipping

        Dave 126,

        No! That's not acceptable! The modern phone/tablet design ethos of "we're going to make it ergonomically shit and force you to spend extra on a case" is really pissing me off. People who put glass backs on phones that make them hard to hold and more expensive to repair when they inevitably slide out of someone's hand should be beaten with sticks, until they learn better.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Slipping

          People have different requirements from a phone or tablet case, so allowing the end user to choose which case to use is just sane and sensible. And as a side benefit Mr Blogs doesnt accidently pick up Mrs Blogs phone as he leaves the house, since he's gone for rubber and she prefers leather.

          1. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: Slipping

            A very American viewpoint.

            Hear any American touting anything as increasing "freedom of choice" and you know two things:

            a) you are going to have to become an expert in whatever it is to exercise that choice

            2) it is going to end up costing more than it should before you can "enjoy" whatever it is.

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: Slipping

              A case costs very little, and offers a lot of advantages. The major advantage is that you can choose between them, for aesthetic, functional, or protection purposes. You need no special knowledge to choose one. If you want one and don't want to search, you can go to a shop and look at the shelf of case options, think for a minute, and pick one. The tablet works fine without a case, and isn't going to shatter immediately (although it's a tablet, so it's by no means well-constructed).

              Meanwhile, there are reasons not to implement everyone's desired feature into the device itself. I don't want a rubberized phone. In my experience, it doesn't add much protection and does add a lot of pointless volume. It helps the device stay put and not slip, but I have a metal device that already doesn't slip very much. Meanwhile, I do want a case that will protect the device from damage should I accidentally drop it, so I bought one of those. Whatever additional feature you want, you can get the case that does that. There is a difference between making the device resilient enough not to break (every manufacturer should do that) and implementing a feature desired by a small subset of users and forcing it on everybody (no thank you).

              1. Stevie Silver badge

                Re: Slipping

                Oh no, your chosen hard case deforms the mint-thin phone and makes it drop its data connection (at best).

                Oh no, the elastomers in your rubbery case react with the styrene-based plastic back on your phone and turn both case and phone back into chewing gum.

                I could go on.

  4. Financegozu

    The „continuing march of Google's Chromebook“ has ended …

    Google last week killed the chromebook

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: The „continuing march of Google's Chromebook“ has ended …

      Citation?

      Seems to be still listed on the Google site, no mention on Wikipedia of its demise. Did you miss the appropriate icon? =>

    2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: The „continuing march of Google's Chromebook“ has ended …

      Google last week killed the chromebook

      They told people in their hardware group to look for other jobs within the company recently; but that's not the same as killing the entire Chromebook product category.

  5. Mage Silver badge

    Issues

    1) Price

    2) Locked eco system. I don't want to use Apple Cloud or app to transfer,my content, just USB storage mode. I don't want to only use Apple's shop to install.

    3) lack of popular connectors/interfaces.

    1. djstardust

      Re: Issues

      And compatibility.

      I subscribe to a legal music video download service which provides videos in mp4 format. They play on multiple PCs with various software, phones, tablets, in fact everything except ..... the ipad.

      Itunes won't even transfer the files at all.

      Their genius says I have to install a 3rd party player then transfer the files within that to get them to play.

      Ermmmmm No. £409 refund please.

      I guess Apple don't want people playing movies that haven't been bought from their store in their specific codec then.

      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: Issues

        that 3rd party player would be VLC, and once the iFruit is connected to a computer, one can drag n drop the files in through iTunes using the "files" functionality.

        'least, that's how I put my (legally ripped and compressed) movies on mine...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Issues

          > legally ripped and compressed

          It's funny how you put that there, as if you're saying that with a straight face.

      2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Issues

        I have no problems (other than the fact that I hate the application) dropping videos into iPlayer and syncing them with my fruity thing that way. You have to tell the sync that you want the videos or some subset. Good for long train journeys.

      3. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Issues

        I guess Apple don't want people playing movies that haven't been bought from their store in their specific codec then.

        If you search back to the introduction of the iPad in these pages you'll see that point made, to furious outrage of the iFans.

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Issues

      3/ there's more devices in use today with Lightning then there are devices with USB C. This will change over time though.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Issues

        I've LOADS of gadgets. None have Lightning or USB C.

        Do these have 3.5mm audio jacks?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Issues

          It took me 2 clicks on the Apple website to find the answer to that question.

          1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

            Re: Issues

            The answer was also in the article.

            1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

              Re: Issues

              Just curious, why the downvote - whoever you were?

        2. katrinab Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Issues

          Yes they do have 3.5mm audio jacks

    3. whoseyourdaddy

      Re: Issues

      1) Price

      Profit is how you motivate qualified engineers to stick with something until it's truly ready release.

      Engineers working in your best interest don't work for free, that would be communism.

      2) Locked eco system.

      ITYM Secure eco system?

      You will still spend days reading stories of really bad things happening to Google-Play users/victims right here on theRegister. Time and time again, we have demonstrated that a very tall walled garden is the only way. Third party libraries have not been your friend.

      3) Lack of popular connectors/interfaces.

      I've never broken a lightning connector since the iPhone 6. But, i work for a consumer product company that spends an enormous amount of money designing mini-USB connectors that don't break when you vigorously jam the plug in wrong-side-up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Issues

        +1 on the problems with USB-C and mini-USB. My daughter “borrowed” my rather expensive power bank and tried very hard to recharge it by plugging a micro-USB cable into the USB-C charging socket. It seems that the socket cannot be replaced so I now have a somewhat unusual paperweight.

    4. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Issues

      1. Totally agree.

      2. Sure, but that's not a surprise.

      3. And the alternative is? I don't know of any tablet with interfaces (yes, you can get a cable to connect a small subset of USB devices to an android tablet, but the IOS devices have one of those too and almost nobody uses either). What interfaces are there that Apple lacks and a comparable small tablet has? This isn't being compared to a laptop.

    5. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Issues

      Locked eco system. I don't want to use Apple Cloud or app to transfer,my content

      ???

      You don't have to use iCloud to transfer content. Or at all, really.

      DropBox, OneDrive, Google Drive, Box, etc. all work with iOS. There are also OTG-type drives for the Lightning port. You do have to use a companion app to access them, which is admittedly less convenient than mounting the volume directly as Android does. But the point is that there are numerous third-party hardware and software methods to transfer content to and from iOS devices.

  6. lglethal Silver badge
    Angel

    Quote from Saint Jobs himself

    Just going to throw this out there...

    "If you need a stylus, you've already failed," - St Jobs himself

    or alternatively

    "If you see a stylus, they blew it." - also St Jobs...

    Just saying...

    1. Richard Parkin

      Re: Quote from Saint Jobs himself

      I’m constantly amazed by people who think St Steve (as they like to call him) think it would have been good business practice to announce that Apple would make a phone or a stylus years before they made one. Have you heard of the Osborne computer? Osbornisation!

      1. Chet Mannly

        Re: Quote from Saint Jobs himself

        Actually the comments were made years *after* Apple made one.

        Jobs was bagging the Apple Newton, a stylus driven PDA, which he just canned.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quote from Saint Jobs himself

      Probably why the article referenced it... Even included a hyperlink that detailed the joke.

      “The move means that pretty much every iPad now has a stylus option – an event that, thankfully, Saint Jobs is not alive to see.”

      Plus, as Jobs said - if you *need* a stylus, you’ve failed. You really don’t need one to operate an iPad.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Quote from Saint Jobs himself

        >You really don’t need one to operate an iPad.

        Very true. Doing any kind of reasonably accurate work though (drawing/graphics, etc) requires one. Finger painting results isn't the goal for those situations.

        1. timrowledge

          Re: Quote from Saint Jobs himself

          Exactly - and you have that option. Problem solved.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: Quote from Saint Jobs himself

            Yes, only but AFTER the Surface shown it was a needed accessory (and detachable keyboard as well) if you wanted a tablet to become something more than a consumer device...

      2. Stubblet

        Apple can't ever have a stylus.....

        Businesses need to evolve, adapt to their markets and innovate to stay relevant and afloat.

        Imagine where Ford would be if they still only made Model T's which their founder was proud to state you could have in any colour as long as it was black.

        So every time Ford brings out a new model does everyone hark back to Henry Ford's view of the world and complain because its not a black Model T ?

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Apple can't ever have a stylus.....

          Wrong comparison - Ford T rationale was to create one the cheapest car for a mass production - so any "personalization" was then an issue, and the car color didn't change its functionalities anyway. iPads aren't exactly the T model of tablets... more akin to Bugatti (a design icon...), maybe?

          It looks more like modern cars removing the spare tire because you shouldn't need it... and if you need one, it was because you were driving it wrong...

    3. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Quote from Saint Jobs himself

      This is not a stylus. It's an Apple Pencil. Completely different thing, you see. Just keep drinking the kool-aid.

    4. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Quote from Saint Jobs himself

      You don't need a stylus in order to operate an iPad, unlike touch screen devices running Windows CE and Windows ME back in the day, however if you want to draw pictures on your iPad, then a stylus might give you better results than your fingers, but you can use your fingers if that is the style you are looking for.

      1. paulll Bronze badge

        Re: Quote from Saint Jobs himself

        Neither did you need a stylus to operate the XP tablet edition rig from HP (work machine) that was on the table beside me when I first read that Steve and jony had invented something completely new called an,"iPad." We used the stylus for signature capture, nobody used it for anything else. I used the keyboard because I'm the kind of person that still has a blackberry, but most people in my firm used it like a thick iPad with Windows on.

        Jobs' anti-stylus stance was his usual facile reality-denial."it's new and innovative! Doesn't even have a stylus, *completely* different from anything that's gone before. If you have a stylus you're braindead. You wanna be braindead? No you need iPad. Innovative."

    5. paulll Bronze badge

      Re: Quote from Saint Jobs himself

      "If you need a stylus, you've already failed," - St Jobs himself

      or alternatively

      "If you see a stylus, they blew it." - also St Jobs...

      And somewhere in-between came his observation that mini tablets are,"braindead," I think was his particular nebulous disparagement.

  7. simon gardener

    the old jokes are the... old jokes

    I love a bit of snark as much as the next man but how many times does the Reg need to pretend that saying "if you a need a stylus to operate a tablet they've blown it" has anything to do with the availability of an optional precision instrument for people who wish to produce art? Newer, better jokes please Reg-people. This one was mildly funny the first time, less so the next few but now... well, just a bit sad. You can do better than this.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "availability of an optional precision instrument for people"

      If so, Apple would have added it much earlier as an optional accessory, given its historical market - but they didn't until "others" shown a tablet with an "optional precision instrument" is a good idea...

      So, yes, now that Apple extended the support to the whole range - and all we know how difficult is for Apple to admit it was wrong - it was necessary to repeat the old joke.

  8. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Author has more snark than knowledge

    With Microsoft's Surface Go handily undercutting Apple's iPad Pro line [..] and the continuing march of Google's Chromebook, Apple's new iPads have their work cut out

    That statement makes no sense. The iPad Pro line is in a completely different class than the low-end Surface Go or Chromebooks. They are not competitors...unless you count the handful of $1000-1500 Chromebooks out there (and why would you?)

    Apple already has an education-targeted 9.7 inch iPad that was refreshed last fall. It starts at $329, and I've seen them as low as $249 on Black Friday type sales. It supports (but does not require) the less-expensive version of the Pencil, which is admittedly less desirable than the new one but the price delta could make a difference for a school that's buying a lot of them. All iPads (regular, Air, Mini, Pro) work just fine with numerous 3rd-party Bluetooth keyboards, not just Apple's branded one. Plus, there are literally tens of thousands of decent-quality and inexpensive cases and accessories for iThings.

    I also don't understand the "cable revenue isn't going to make itself" snark about keeping the Lightning connector on the new models. First off, the Pencil version that these iPads use plugs into the Lightning port for charging, so it would be stupid to use a different port. Moreover, I'd be willing to bet that the new models will mostly be bought as upgrades by people or orgs that have older models -- and thus will already have lightning cables. And anyway, a cable comes in the box with the product.

    It's fine to dislike Apple; they're not easy to like sometimes. But at least do your damn homework and write an honest critique.

    1. OtotheJ

      Re: Author has more snark than knowledge

      So you've only ever bought the one lightning cable then? Famed for their durability!

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: Author has more snark than knowledge

        So you've only ever bought the one lightning cable then? Famed for their durability!

        And you've only bought the one Micro USB that came with an Android device?

        Lighting cables are no less (or more) durable than Micro USB. They're about the same price (five-packs of them in assorted lengths are $10-15 on Amazon). I'm not clear on what your objection is here.

  9. herman Silver badge

    Because it works.

    The reason why I use some Apple products remains 'Because it Works'.

    That is also the reason why I don't use some other products: 'Because it doesn't work' or 'Because it requires too much maintenance'.

    1. alexmcm

      Re: Because it works.

      I use that phrase when my wife and kids complain that their iPads, or iPhones are playing up. Why would a retired PC engineer guy like me know how to fix an Apple product that "just works".

      Oh how they laugh...

      1. OtotheJ
        Happy

        Re: Because it works.

        Support phone calls from my son when he had an iPhone 6 - Daily

        Support phone calls from my son now he has an Android device - Never

        I know which ecosystem I'd prefer to be in!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Because it works.

      Tell that to the person that bought the latest Apple Pencil 2 expecting it would work with the latest iPad.

  10. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    I really wanted the iPad to have wings

  11. Vulture@C64

    I don't understand why the reg is so anti Apple, it's shockingly poor journalism.

    I buy Apple for the same reason as the chap above - it just works. The apps are highly regulated and checked, there's very little to adjust or play with, the eco system and auto backup is great and works perfectly and the devices are fast and stay running fast for their lifetime. What's not to like ?

    1. Craig 2
      Trollface

      I don't understand why the reg is so anti Apple...

      All perfectly valid points, but what's that got to do with having a good troll? ;) Here in the UK blatant insults are really terms of endearment so The Reg love Apple if you think about it...

    2. bpfh Silver badge
      Flame

      Why is El Reg anti Apple?

      Probably because they gave unbiased reports on their products in the past that did not toe Infinite Loop's party line that would force journo's to rabidly report on how great their stuff was, and in revenge were blacklisted in infinitium, so the gloves are off on both sides.

      I'll just leave this here: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/09/07/reg_effort_to_attend_iphone_7_launch/

    3. LDS Silver badge

      The 1990s are over... it's almost twenty years.

  12. disco_stu

    My iPad Mini2 is still going after 5 years of use, only chrome/safari usage seems to be showing its age. It might be time to upgrade, though I would probably go for a standard iPad rather than the Mini this time around.

  13. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    20x

    The company boasts that the upgrade delivers "three times the performance and nine times faster graphics".

    And twenty times as hard to repair. Just ask Louis Rossman.

  14. DougMac

    Use it for what it is designed for..

    The end of the article seems to go off as Chromebooks are better.

    The iPad and Chromebooks are designed for two totally different types of usage.

    Many people don't understand this.

    The iPad is designed as a content consumption device. Watch movies, play games, read ebooks. web browsing, etc.

    Chromebooks are designed as cheap throw away laptops. If you want to do things that a laptop does, write code, term papers, then a chromebook would be better. I don't understand people trying to make iPads into laptops, this kinda of works with lots of hurdles. Then people go and slam on the hurdles trying to shoehorn the wrong device into the wrong task. Apple kinda follows along and tries to enable this to happen, but with their sandbox, this is never going to be the same as a laptop.

    But they work great to consume media. Hand an iPad to a 3-year and watch them learn to navigate it in minutes.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Use it for what it is designed for..

      But they work great to consume media. Hand an iPad to a 3-year and watch them learn to navigate it in minutes

      But there are exceptions, like the chap at the start of this thread who can't work out how to play his music files on it.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      "The iPad is designed as a content consumption device.

      It looks Apple itself is trying to sell them differently...

  15. Marty McFly
    Meh

    Meh

    Evolutionary not revolutionary.

  16. James 51 Silver badge

    It would be interesting to know how it compares as an e-reader and note taking device to the likebook muses and onyx nova pro.

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