Sorry Jony Ive, you created some masterpieces in your time at Apple, and while I’m sure you still carry influence, the design stylings of the products released since your departure – including newest iPad (and iPhone) devices are ultra modern and spot on for the time. The all-new iPad Mini is almost a crowning jewel.

The phrase “All-new” is a tough one in tech. The new 9th Generation iPad released this week is the epitome of not that – in fact its “barely new” in reality. An updated processor, newer screen technology and some smarts to improve that front camera. But if you broke a 7th or 8th gen and replaced it with a 9th gen, you’d never know until you made a Facetime call.

So, the iPad Mini – I think it’s a far more important device than it gets credit for. Perhaps that’s because my spoilt little trio are lucky enough to have one each they use for their gaming, messaging and such.

When I handed them each a brand new 2021 iPad Mini (after making them sign a detailed Non-disclosure agreement in which I got a higher percentage of Daddy Tax from future birthday goody bags), they were blown away.

This is a fresh look, the squared edges we’ve seen on the iPad Pro now for a couple of generations, on the new iPad Air last year, and also now on the iPhone 12 and 13.

Four colours – Space Grey, Purple, Pink and Starlight (light gold?) – which also look great, but under the hood more performance than any other iPad other than the Pro which now has a laptop chip in it.

The screen is bigger and it looks more than 0.4 of an inch bigger too, but it pushes the edges out because the circular home-button is finally gone.

That original home button now exists only on the iPhone SE and iPad 9th generation – old ducks just can’t let go can they:)

Instead, there’s TouchID on the “top button” the one you might just call the power button. As per the iPad Air. Here’s my obligatory mention that Touch ID should have been included in the iPhone 13. Oversight Apple, shame.

My kids thought it was “smart” how the screen showed a white line where the TouchID button was – because you can hold it four ways you don’t know where to place your finger. They were impressed:)

But when playing most games there was a black bar along each edge of the screen – pillarbox in the old TV speak. So I assume game developers need to update their code with the new screen aspect ratio.

Because iOS 15 is new, and installed by default, this was also very new to the kids. Now while Focus mode is designed for work and home style setups, my kids have already created custom home screens for School, Gaming and even “Watching Baseball” mode.

Focus mode may well be the best feature of iOS 15 – allowing you to cut back on distractions and notifications – “Watching Baseball” mode for example might silence all notifications from MLB so you don’t get spoilers if your stream is delayed. Gaming mode will get rid of apps like clock, calculator, Mail or Safari so you just see your games. Well worth looking into!

Our Apple Pencils are as redundant as the old iPad Mini’s now though, thanks to the USB-C port meaning first gen can’t be paired, but second gen pencils now work, and magnetically attach and pair.

iPad Mini is now 5G capable, though I shan’t be signing up to data plans for each of the kids – no thanks:). But for enterprise uses, this is a big win.

Overall, the iPad Mini is sensational. A real proper generational leap forward. These devices will outlast my kids addiction to Minecraft, so while the price is higher at $749, I think they’re a great investment for the family or each individual child if you can afford it.

The all-new – literally – iPad Mini goes on sale this Friday, though looking at Apple online it seems stock is already in demand, so be prepared to wait a few weeks.