It’s been four years since the last iPad mini was released – long enough that we started to think Apple might never release another. But a series of recent reports, including one from trusted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, state that an upgraded fifth-generation iPad mini is finally on its way.
Though Apple has continued selling the iPad mini 4 since its release in 2015, more recent iPad models have far eclipsed its capabilities. For example, the current 9.7-inch iPad’s A10 Fusion processing chip is a full 2x faster than the iPad mini’s aging A8 chip. It also supports the Apple Pencil, and its entry pricing is $70 lower. The iPad Pro is light years ahead. Until now, that’s made it hard to recommend the iPad mini 4 to anyone – why would you pay more for a worse machine?
Well, size is important. Many users prefer the smaller dimensions of the 7.9-inch iPad mini. It may not sound like a big difference on paper, but in the hand it feels considerably smaller than the standard 9.7-inch iPad. That makes it much better for travel, for children, or for single-handed use.
If you’re somebody who prefers a smaller tablet, hang tight for the iPad mini 5. The exact specifications aren’t yet clear, but the reports we’ve seen consistently note that the device will retain almost the exact same design while improving the internal specifications. We’d expect it to match or exceed the A10 Fusion chip used in the 9.7-inch iPad, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple Pencil support added, too.
iPad mini 5 is expected to be a budget tablet, and every report notes it will be cheaper than the iPad mini 4’s price of $399. We reckon it will actually come all the way down to $299 to ensure it’s cheaper than the larger 9.7-inch tablet, which starts at $329.
Of course, none of this is certain until Apple formally announces the tablet. References to iPad mini 5 have been all over the code included in the iOS 12.2 betas (that’s why we’re so sure this isn’t just a rumor) and so it would make sense for Apple to release this upgraded iPad mini soon after iOS 12.2’s public release. That’s expected within the next month, so hold tight for a product announcement in the near future!