While Apple's iPad Pro and standard iPad both got recent refreshes, we haven't seen a new iPad mini since 2015's iPad mini 4. Apple's smallest iOS tablet is long overdue for a revamp, and based on recent rumors, it could be coming early this year.
Here's everything we've heard about the iPad mini 5, including its expected release date, possible specs and rumored design.
iPad mini 5 release date: When is it coming out?
The most recent report we've heard about the iPad mini 5 pegs it for an early 2019 release. Citing industry sources, Taiwanese news outlet Digitimes claims that Apple may launch both a new iPad mini as well as a refreshed entry-level iPad in the first half of this year.
Apple held a special, education-focused event in March 2018 to reveal the latest 9.7-inch iPad; it's possible that the company could hold a similar showcase this spring to unveil the new iPad mini.
In late January 2019, developer Steve Troughton-Smith showed off a piece of iOS 12.2 code that seems to reference four new iPad models, adding further credence to the possibility of a new iPad mini hitting this year.
iPad mini 5 specs: The upgrades to expect
The iPad mini 4's specs are starting to show their age, as the 2015 tablet packs Apple's A8 processor; a 7.9-inch, 2048 x 1536 display; an 8MP rear camera with a 1.2MP front shooter; 128GB of storage; and a Touch ID home button.
At the very least, we expect Apple to upgrade the iPad mini's CPU to the new A12 Bionic processor, which launched in fall 2018 with the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR. We could potentially see Apple bump up the rear camera to a 12MP shooter to match that of the latest iPhones, as well as a possible storage bump to 256GB. However, it's worth noting that the latest 9.7-inch iPad starts with just 32GB of storage.
iPad mini 5 design: What will Apple change?
When Apple refreshed its basic 9.7-inch iPad in 2018, it kept the same core design as previous years — complete with the same chunky bezels and physical Touch ID home button. We could see something similar for the mini 4, though it would be very surprising to see Apple release any device with thick bezels in 2019.
Images of the alleged tablet were posted on Twitter by Apple leaker Mr.white in January 2019. They show only the device's back panel with Apple's signature gold finish; though, if the images are real, they seem to hint that the mini 5 will largely retain the 4's design. The leaked images also suggest that the iPad mini will keep its usual volume rocker, headphone jack and power button.
In February 2019, reputable leaker @OnLeaks claimed to have gotten his hands on an alleged CAD drawing of the iPad mini 5, which he says confirms the rumors of the latest iPad mini being a "specs bump only." He did, however, note that the tablet's microphone will now be located on the center of the upper back panel.
We'd like to see Apple bring some of the 2018 iPad Pro's design sensibilities to the latest mini. The refreshed Pros feature much thinner bezels and Face ID in place of a home button, giving them the same sleek design language as the latest iPhones. Given that Apple's traditional home button is all but extinct, we especially hope to see the mini 5 adopt at least some of the more modern sensibilities of the company's newer iOS devices.
iPad mini 5 price: How much will it cost?
The iPad mini 4 currently starts at $399 for the Wi-Fi model and $529 for a cellular-enabled model. We expect a similar pricing model for the mini 5, barring any significant design upgrades that would warrant a higher price.
However, Apple's bigger and more powerful 9.7-inch iPad from 2018 is cheaper than the mini 4, at $329. Could Apple make the next iPad mini even cheaper than that to make it a compelling budget option? We'll have to wait and see.
If the iPad mini 5 is indeed happening, all signs point to it being a subtle refresh of 2015's iPad mini 4. If you already own a mini 4, you're probably safe to stick with it for a few more years, unless you really want the added power bump of Apple's latest processors.
However, if you've yet to dive into the iPad ecosystem and prefer your tablets on the small side, you might want to wait a few months to see what Apple has in store.
Credit: Laptop Mag