By Staff Writer Zach Lunghi To all the Apple enthusiasts, please remove your Airpods for one second. This past week the newest additions to the iPad air and iPad mini families were announced. Consumers will be able to purchase these products starting the week of March 24. So yet again, bust out your wallets for more minute changes to re-branded products. Starting with the “improvements” to Apple’s 2019 iPad mini, they boast about the product’s new hexa-core CPU system which allows for it to run 3 times faster than its predecessor, the iPad mini 4. The only other notable differences are the fact they’ve bumped up it’s video recording quality to 1080p and improved the front facing camera performance from 1.2mp to 7mp. Other than that, you’ve essentially got yourself the bedazzled version of the iPad mini 4. As for the iPad air, it too follows a similar story. It has plenty of specs to sift through, but at its core, there isn’t any new/exciting improvements to enjoy. This has been my gripe with Apple for as long as I’ve used their products. There seems to be this aura about them which flexes how dependent their users are to the company. Granted, this shouldn’t come as surprise since they’re a colossal tech company and they’re too big to notice us little guys. But still, you’d expect more than a sabotaged phone that is purposely slowed down which then results in you “upgrading” to the newest phone in their arsenal. Then you soon realize that the newest phone is nothing but a shameless remodel of your old phone with the only difference being its ability to make an emoji track your face. It’d be refreshing to see Apple come out with legitimate updates to their technology, rather than engineering ways to make users buy into false enhancements. Take Samsung for example, in their newest phone, the S10. It has the ability to predict repeated patterns of its user and preloaded applications that are frequently used. They’ve also gifted users with 1TB of on-board storage, plus an additional 512 GB to be used in the form of an interchangeable SD card. Their previous phone, the M30, capped out at 128 GB. Samsung also improved their phone’s capability to optimize battery usage which now allows for 34 hours of battery life. What’s funny about those updates is that those are also frequent complaints Apple users express but still go unanswered. Although Samsung’s phones are just as pricey as Apple’s, at least Samsung listens to their users and gives them an honest product with updates they wanted. Even the updates to Apple’s newest phone, the XR, pales in comparison to Samsung’s previous phone, the M30. The XR caps out at 256GB which is only slightly-larger than the M30. Compared to the updated S10’s storage, Apple has no chance in that debate. The only redeemable part of the XR is its picture/video taking quality. As for the iPad air and iPad mini, I will admit that their ability to support the Apple pencil is incredibly useful and would love to see more in that regard with future products, alongside meaningful improvements to their existing technology. As for now though, these newer products lack any truly exciting updates and sit well with Apple’s familiar pattern of shameless re-branding.