It would appear the embargo has been lifted and the reviews for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 have begun flowing out of the usual outlets.
Here are some of them:
The Verge's Dieter Bohn on the iPad mini 3
The Verge's Nilay Patel on the iPad Air 2
Re/code's Walt Mossberg on the iPad Air 2
The summary so far? The iPad mini 3 isn't really much of an update other than Touch ID — which is awesome — and a gold option. The iPad Air 2 is the best tablet in the world, but somehow is underwhelming because it's not revolutionary.
The first assessment I tend to agree with. Basically, Apple is charging $100 for Touch ID only. That's it. That is a bit disappointing. Last year felt like a real breakthrough when both the iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retina Display (now the iPad mini 2) had the same internals, including the same 64-bit A7 processor. A year later, Apple has further differentiated their two sizes of iPads by more than just screen size. The result feels strange. The iPad mini 3 doesn't feel like that great of a deal. You get the same device as last year, with Touch ID, at the same price. By comparison, the iPad mini 2 seems like a much better deal. It's the same device as the iPad mini 3, minus Touch ID, for $100 less. It's amazing the context price provides. The iPad mini 2 seems like a great device for $299, but the iPad mini 3 is seems disappointing for $399. Is Touch ID worth $100 to you? It might be.
On the iPad Air 2, however, I feel like it's more of the same yearly response to Apple's iterative —evolutionary, not revolutionary — process. It seems that some agree that it's the best tablet in the world, but it's not enough. Initial reactions to Apple products seem to always want more. I haven't had the luxury of five days with review units, but I will say, the iPad Air 2 looks awesome. It is 18% thinner, with a much, much better camera, Touch ID, tri-core processor, double the RAM (2 GB), and Apple Pay. Honestly, I'd be pretty happy with that upgrade. But, after saying all that, I'm not going to buy one. At least, not yet. I have the iPad Air, and it's still an amazing device. I'm sure I'll be an iPad Air 2 owner at some point, but not from day one.