Apple today quietly stopped selling the original iPad Mini, the 7.9-in. tablet that debuted in 2012.
The smaller sibling to the 9.7-in. iPad no longer appears on Apple's online store, a fact first reported by 9to5Mac.com earlier Friday.
The iPad Mini had been superseded by a pair of follow-ups, including the iPad Mini 2 in 2013 and the iPad Mini 3 last year. Both of those tablets, while sporting the same-sized screen as the original, boasted so-called "Retina" high-resolution displays.
Apple confirmed the discontinuation of the non-Retina iPad Mini.
"The non-retina iPad Mini model is no longer available," an Apple spokesman said. "Now all models of iPad Mini and iPad Air have 64-bit Apple-designed CPUs and high-resolution Retina displays."
The original iPad Mini relied on a 32-bit A5 system-on-a-chip (SoC). Both successors were powered by the A7 SoC, which featured a 64-bit architecture. The larger iPad Air 2, Apple's current top-of-the-line tablet, runs on a 64-bit A8X SoC. Also still available from Apple: the original iPad Air, which uses a 64-bit A7 SoC.
As Apple's spokesman noted, the four remaining iPad models -- Air 2, Air, Mini 3, Mini 2 -- all feature Retina-quality screens and 64-bit processors.
Most analysts expect that Apple will again expand the iPad line, probably this year, with a larger-screen tablet in the 12-in. range. Several new features in iOS 9, this year's annual upgrade, including a split-screen mode, have signaled a likely turn to a bigger iPad.
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