iPad mini 2 discontinued as 9.7-inch iPad becomes Apple's most affordable tablet

iPad mini 4 2017

In a quiet iPad refresh this week Apple removed the iPad mini 2 from its website in favor of a more affordable 9.7-inch model. The newly released iPad replaced not only the iPad Air 2, but it is also now the cheapest available model starting at $329. The iPad mini 4 remains as Apple's last remaining 7.9-inch tablet.

The fourth-generation iPad mini is now available as a 128GB WiFi-only model for $399 or a $529 WiFi + Cellular model. You can still purchase an iPad mini 2 for around $260-$300 at some third-party retailers Best Buy, but you better do so quick before supply sells out.

The new iPad lineup gives Apple fans more sizes and prices to choose from. Customers can now decide between a 32GB iPad for $329 or a smaller 128GB model at $399. Apple also offers two Pro options starting at $599 for the 9.7-inch and $799 for the 12.9-inch.

The new 9.7-inch model is available in the same colors (silver, gold and space gray) as the iPad mini, and it features the same 8MP camera. The only major difference, besides size, is that the 9.7-inch model is powered by Apple's A9 chip and the iPad mini is equipped with the older and bit slower A8. Apple lists the A9 CPU as 1.6x faster and graphics 1.8x faster than the A8. Niether iPad supports Apple's latest accessories the Apple Pencil or Smart Keyboard.

Some analysts believed 2017 would mark the end of the entire iPad mini lineup since Apple has not released a new 7.9-inch tablet since 2015, but the iPhone-maker decided to keep the smaller slate around for one more cycle. It is unknown if Apple plans to release a new iPad mini in the future or if the iPad mini 4 will be the last 7.9-inch model.

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