An iPad Mini Refresh Is Reportedly Still on Apple’s 2021 Plans

By Bill Toulas / June 4, 2021

The last time an iPad Mini came out of Apple’s design desks was in September 2015, while a minor spec-refresh (that constituted the fifth generation and used an A12 Bionic chip powering up a 7.9-inch Retina display) came in March 2019.

Although the regular iPad, the iPad Air, and the iPad Pro have received their yearly upgrades, the Mini didn’t, probably because Apple didn’t think there was a market need for it. According to a Bloomberg report, Apple’s tablet sales have jumped by 79% in Q1 2021, and this has convinced the firm that it’s time to release a new Mini.

Based on the rumors, analyst reports, leaked renders, and anything credible that circulates the web right now, the new Mini will omit the Home button in favor of narrow screen bezels, maximizing the useful screen area on a small chassis. The estimate for the screen size put it between 8.5 and 9 inches, so that part isn’t certain yet, but it will be a notable bump up in size compared to the current model. The main thing tough is going to be the design, as the current model looks severely dated.

In the same report, it is mentioned that Apple is also working on the thinner ever iPad, which is going to be geared toward students in search of a capable device that will support their remote school obligations. The entry-level iPad isn’t the sexiest tablet for sure, and it does come with some pretty sizeable bezels for this day, but Apple is probably looking to just make it a little bit easier for children to handle and carry around.

The fact that this role is rumored for the iPad and not the iPad Mini tells us that the latter will be a higher-spec and more expensive device that will pack a lot of technology in a small footprint. There are currently no technical details or at least rumors around them, but we wouldn’t be surprised if we saw an M1 beating inside it. By the time the Mini will be out, that chip will have been superseded by the next-gen of the Apple Silicon.

Speaking of which, analysts believe the new iPad Mini won’t be ready before the end of the year, possibly even in Q1 2022, so we’re still far from a probable release date. As for the M1 successor, the M1X is expected to power the next-gen MacBook Pro that is bound to be next in Apple’s pipeline, but no one knows when it will see the light exactly. Some even talk about an M2 chip, but at this point, nothing is anything more than just rumors.

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