Thursday, 16 September 2021 20:40

The new 8.3-inch iPad mini - it's practically an iPhone Mega!


The only thing the iPad mini doesn't have is a traditional phone dialler, but with FaceTime support and the ability to have a landline number through Skype and other services, along with WhatsApp and plenty more, the awesome new iPad mini may well morph into a future iPhone Mega.

Although Apple has had iPads with cellular capabilities from day one, Apple has never allowed iPads to have a native phone dialler or SMS client.

Of course, it is possible today to make and receive calls on any iPad through FaceTime, WhatsApp, Skype and various other Internet phone clients, and you can have devices on the same iCloud account receive calls made to your iPhone, so you have definitely been able to use an iPad to make calls for years, including on all the previous iPad minis that I can remember.

Apple also explains how to link your iPhone to your Mac, iPad or iPod touch to your, so that you can then make and receive calls when those devices are on the same wireless network as your iPhone..

You can also buy a landline number for Skype, which anyone can call to ring on all the devices you have Skype installed on. I have an (02) number that I pay Skype for, and it works beautifully, but I've also used my iPad to receive calls and to make and receive FaceTime calls many times, so you can use your iPad as a "phone" if you want to.

You can make and take calls like a giant speaker phone, but with a wired headset, a Bluetooth headset, or the various AirPods and Beats headphones, you can have the same phone experience you do with your iPhone.

Still, this is in contrast to Samsung which has always allowed its tablets with cellular capabilities to act as giant phones since its very first tablet, all those years ago, but whether Apple will ever allow it is yet to be seen,

With the 2021 iPad mini, with its beautiful redesigned stylings that make it look like a mini iPad Air, we have the best and most portable iPad yet - upgrading the previous iPad mini from its original iPad stylings into the iPad Pro chic that so many other tablet makers have tried copying.

It has USB-C, it uses the Apple Pencil 2.0, it has Centre Stage, it has multitasking, it has one million iPad specific apps and compatibility with all the iPhone apps, too, it has iPadOS 15 which is the most incredibly advanced mobile computing OS yet and so much more - it has plenty of features the iPhone doesn't - or at least, doesn't yet.

Perhaps Apple will one day make an iPad Pro mini with the three or more cameras on the back, and a native phone dialler, so that it is also an iPhone Pro Mega. I'd certainly be interested in buying one, and I'd bet many of you would be, too!

Maybe we'll have to wait for a folding iPad mini Mega first, which can fold in half and turn into a larger device, but that would only add extra cost with folding screens still more expensive than traditional screens.

Either way, the new iPad mini is going to sell like literal hotcakes, and there will be plenty of audio and video calls made using one.

The Centre Stage feature is also going to be seriously popular, and something Android tablet makers will presumably rush to copy in their devices next year.

The new iPad mini could very well end up THE most popular iPad of all, even though the new 9th-gen iPad is a powerhouse all its own.

So, although there is no official iPhone Mega yet - the new iPad mini is the closest we're going to get in 2021, and I absolutely cannot wait to put my hands on an iPad mini and try it out for myself!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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