Earlier this month, Apple introduced two new iPads, the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3. Along with the new iPads, Apple released the latest version of Mac OS X called Yosemite. One of the touted features of Yosemite and the new iOS 8 is a feature called Continuity. From the Apple website:
Now you can start writing an email on your iPhone and pick up where you left off when you sit down at your Mac. Or browse the web on your Mac and continue from the same link on your iPad. It all happens automatically when your devices are signed in to the same iCloud account. Use Handoff with favorite apps like Mail, Safari, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Maps, Messages, Reminders, Calendar, and Contacts. And developers can build Handoff into their apps now, too.
I was excited to try this feature out. I have a new iMac, an ancient 2007 macbook pro, an iPad 3 and an iPhone 5s. I’m constantly switching between devices so features like Continuity and Handoff are perfect for a user like me.
In the fine print on Apple’s website, it reads, “Continuity features are available on iPhone 5 or later, iPad (4th generation), iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad mini with Retina display, and iPod touch (5th generation)”. Bummer. While my iPhone 5s can take advantage of Continuity, my iPad 3 just missed the cut. As I further examined the list, I noticed the iPad mini is included in this group. Why?
The 3rd generation iPad was the first iPad to feature a Retina Display when it was announced on March 7, 2012. I was the owner of an original iPad and iPad 2 and I was eager to upgrade to a retina screen especially after using an iPhone 4S for a few months. Even though it was thicker and heavier than the iPad 2, the retina screen more than made up for it.
The iPad mini was introduced on October 23, 2012 and featured an all new smaller 7.9″ display with a dual core A5 chip. Apple, surprisingly, also upgraded the 7 month old iPad 3 to the iPad 4th generation which featured a further upgraded graphics chip and replaced the 30 pin connector with a Lightning port.
When you compare the specs of the iPad 3 and the iPad mini, you’ll notice that they both have the same generation A5 chips. The only thing that differs is that the iPad 3 has an A5X chip with double the graphics performance of the A5 chip to drive the Retina Display. Yet, the iPad 3 was excluded from the Continuity party.
The iPad mini, which has the same technology as the iPad 2 that was introduced in 2011, supports Continuity. The only reason why the iPad mini supports Continuity is because Apple still sells it as a new product. Many would argue that Apple should not even be selling this product but they will until, presumably, fall 2015. The iPad mini is in every way an inferior product to the iPad 3. It has a slower graphics chip and it does not have a Retina Display. It’s really unfortunate that Apple doesn’t include the iPad 3 when it comes to Continuity when a model that everyone wishes would go away gets invited to the party.