We previously heard that an update to the regular iPad mini is expected as soon as March.
Apple could be looking to diversify its tablet lineup with a new Pro edition of the iPad mini, apparently launching in the second half of this year, or possibly even sooner.
An 8.x-Inch iPad Mini Is Looming
Apple was previously predicted to release the refreshed iPad mini models as soon as March. It wasn’t immediately apparent at the time of writing whether the tentatively named “iPad mini Pro” was referring to the iPad mini refresh coming down the pike this month.
The current iPad mini five was updated in March 2019 with the A12 Bionic chip with 3GB of RAM, Apple Pencil support, True Tone display technology, Bluetooth 5.0, and other perks.
According to the Korean blog Naver, the iPad mini Pro sports a circa 8.7-inch display housed in an enclosure that’s a bit wider and shorter than the current fifth-generation iPad mini. Mac Otakara, a relatively reliable Japanese blog, believes the iPad mini Pro could arrive later this month alongside Apple’s other Spring updates, such as the airbags item trackers.
The iPad mini Pro is reportedly in a design stage known as P2, indicating Apple may soon start design validation tests. It would then need to submit the prototype for production validation tests, the last test stage before mass production.
MacRumors points out that a Chinese leaker recently claimed that a “full-screen, smaller-sized iPad” was currently in the P2 design stage and still awaiting engineering validation tests. We previously heard whispers about a design overhaul coming to the iPad mini lineup, but this is the first time the actual “iPad mini Pro” name has been dropped.
Design Changes Are Coming to the Mini
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks the next iPad mini will rock a display measuring 8.5 to nine inches diagonally. Moreover, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes said last summer that Apple was working on “an 8.x-inch iPad mini.” By comparison, all iPad mini models so far have featured 7.9-inch screens.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 18, 2019
According to Kuo, the key selling points of the iPad mini Pro will be the affordable price tag and the adoption of the latest Apple chips. In his previous research notes, the analyst speculated that Apple could also be working on an iPad mini sporting a mini-LED backlight.
How About a Full-Screen iPad Mini?
According to Mac Otakara, the next iPad mini will feature a minor size reduction to the bezels. Aside from that, however, the device is said to look a lot like the previous iPad Air , complete with a Touch ID Home button, a Lightning port, and large top and bottom bezels.
If you ask us, Apple could theoretically adopt a fullscreen design for the iPad mini, which would entail doing away with the large “forehead” and the “chin” in favor of drastically skinnier bezels like on the iPad Pro. And if the iPad Air 4 is anything to go by, the next iPad mini could also feature a Touch ID fingerprint scanner built into the power button.
Apple would be wise to adopt those design changes for the iPad mini lineup—at 7.9 inches, Apple’s small tablet provides questionable usefulness compared to large-screened iPhones like the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max.