Four years after the release of the iPad mini 4, Apple might finally be close to releasing a successor, according to new reports from Mac Otakara and DigiTimes (via MacRumors). They’re not the only ones expecting a return from Apple’s miniature tablet. Last month, Bloomberg also reported that we could see an updated iPad mini this year, and this was further corroborated by iPad mentions in iOS 12.2’s code.
However, despite the developments we’ve seen from the standard iPad and iPad Pro during the mini’s hiatus, it sounds like the new tablet could be a very traditional affair. Mac Otakara lists dimensions for the tablet that are identical to the current model, and also reports that it will continue to use a combination of Lightning connector and 3.5mm headphone jack, despite last year’s iPad Pro dropping both in favor of a single USB-C port. Apparently, the location of the rear microphone might change to the top center, but that’s the only physical change reported.
Internally, it sounds like we might be in line for a spec bump, although it’s unclear how big it’ll be. Reportedly, the iPad mini 5 could either use an A10 Fusion or A10X Fusion chipset, which would give it a similar amount of power to the 2018 9.7-inch iPad or the 2018 iPad Pro, respectively. Although both of these iPads supported the Apple Pencil, it’s not clear whether this new generation of the mini will.
Outside of a spec bump, it sounds like the new mini will offer a very traditional iPad experience. That means no laptop-esque accessories that the Pro’s USB-C port allowed for, while the identical physical dimensions suggest we’re not going to see a radically redesigned device. That said, if playing things safe allows Apple to keep the price of its smallest tablet down, then it could yet justify its place in the lineup.