For three and a half years people buying the iPad Mini were getting the same bit of kit – the same device, the same power, the same everything.

That left most of us wondering if the iPad Mini’s days were numbered, and while we may have speculated that a relaunch would come – it wasn’t with much confidence.

But there’s great news – in a surprise announcement before the company’s “March event” where they announced loads of new services and their streaming offering – a new iPad Air and new iPad Mini were announced.

No way, the iPad Mini is far from dead – in fact, it’s outperforming iPad Pros from not long ago.

That’s all thanks to the A12 Bionic chip on board. Serious grunt.

This means you can do all the AR tricks you’d want, and overall graphics performance is vastly improved.

My son Jackson was quick to notice – saying “the graphics on Fortnite are way better” after a quick stint on the all-new iPad.

In fact, the new generation has got us collaborating more than ever – as a family, we are cranking into Minecraft with gusto, with more advanced games now also a breeze.

There is still no rival to the Apple Pencil as far as stylus support for any tablet device goes

But the real joy for the kids was Apple Pencil support. Being able to draw, write, colour in with a physical pencil is a big deal for those parents perhaps worried their kids won’t really get penmanship skills.

My youngest son has been practicing his writing with the pencil on iPad mini and it’s a great way to entice him into that rather boring practice.

But here’s the thing, this is way more than a “kids” device. My experience with it has been outstanding. Snappy performance flicking between apps, and just so damn portable – I could easily forget I had it with me.

That’s why the iPad Mini form factor isn’t going away – in many applications, in business, retail and even law enforcement it’s the ideal size.

Queensland Police Service (QPS) Superintendent Craig Huxley says the QPS has a fleet of 6,800 iPad Minis! He told EFTM “They connect through a secure gateway into Telstra’s 4G network and run a number of custom native iOS apps across a broad range of activities.  This includes dispatch and tasking, access to the QPS records database, undertaking investigative interactions with the community and other actions like issuing electronic infringements. ”

“Before selecting the iPad Mini we undertook assessments and officers found that the iPad Mini provided them with the best balance in size and usability for in field activities and we are currently refreshing a large number of our current fleet to the new iPad Mini over the next 12 months.”

Pretty impressive case study really.

While it is the smallest of all iPads, it’s not the cheapest – starting at $599 and going up to $1019 depending on configuration of 4G and storage space.

As an owner, I’d always err toward the larger screen because it gives me a real laptop alternative. The iPad Mini though hits the sweet spot for the now and then power user and the person who leans more toward content consumption and entertainment than content creation & business.