Rumors suggest a new iPad Mini is coming early 2021, and this’ll be the sixth-generation version of Apple’s range of small-format iPads.
iPad Mini devices are the smallest of all Apple’s slates, with screen sizes below even the entry-level iPads. They’re designed for people who don’t need a huge 12.9-inch screen like in the iPad Pros but still want lots of processing power and other tricks, along with the signature polished Apple interface in iPadOS.
Apple’s tablet line can be confusing, and it’s not quite clear if the iPad Mini is designed to sit below, above or alongside the entry-level slates in the company’s line-up. Though given the small size of the iPad Mini, you probably won’t consider it if you’ve already got a phone that’s nearly as large, like the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
The last entry in the line was the iPad Mini (2019), so a newer version of the tablet is expected soon.
We don’t know too much about the upcoming iPad Mini 6, beyond a few leaks and rumors, but we’ve listed what we know, or can guess at, below. After that, we’ve come up with a wish list of what we want to see in the new iPad Mini in 2021.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Apple’s next tiny iPad
- When is it out? Likely early 2021
- How much will it cost? Possibly starting at $399 / £399 / AU$599
iPad Mini 6 release date and price
We’ve only had one release date rumor so far, which says the next iPad Mini models will be coming out in early 2021. That rumor is what we’re basing our release predictions on, since it’s from an esteemed leaker.
Regarding price tag, nothing has been leaked so far, though one report states the iPad Mini won’t be as affordable as the 2020 entry-level iPad, thanks to its specs.
The iPad Mini 5 cost between $399 / £399 / AU$599 and $679 / £669 / AU$1019 for its various connectivity and storage space variants, and going by the supposed spec increases of this new tablet, we’d expect the iPad Mini 6 could go for a touch more, though it’s totally possible it’ll launch at the same price.
iPad Mini 6 news and leaks
There are two reports so far which give us information on the iPad Mini 6 – we’ve mentioned them above, but we’ll unpack everything they tell us about the tablet here.
One leak points to the iPad Mini 6 having a Lightning Port, unlike some of Apple’s other tablets –like the newest iPad Pro, which switched to USB-C – as well as an A13 Bionic chipset (also seen in the iPhone 11) and an 8.5-inch screen.
For context, the 2019 iPad Mini has a 7.9-inch screen, so that would be a fairly substantial size increase.
The second leak backs up this size assertion, but doesn’t give us any more information beyond that and a vague release date.
Refreshed iPad Pros and iPad Mini dummies. Triple Camera array on the pros. Central camera up top on iPad mini; slightly thicker. Hard to tell and different in screen size. pic.twitter.com/5Luizv1T2rApril 8, 2021
We’ve also seen leaked dummy units of the iPad Mini 6 which show very few design changes from the 2019 model, though perhaps the bezels are smaller – you can see the images above, where the new Mini-iPad is shown alongside dummy models of the two anticipated iPad Pro (2021) devices.
Interestingly we’ve also now heard talk of an iPad mini Pro. This would apparently have an 8.7-inch screen, and be wider but shorter than the iPad mini (2019). The source claims it will launch in the second half of 2021, but we’re not convinced it exists, and if it does, it’s probably a different slate to the iPad Mini 6.
iPad Mini 6: what we want to see
Here are all the key features and specs we want to see in the iPad Mini 6, inspired by our experiences with its predecessor as well as changes in the tablet market, the slate’s competitors, and Apple’s other iPads.
A lower price
Apple’s iPad lineup is confusing given the entry-level iPads and iPad Minis largely hit the same price point, with the Minis often just a touch pricier.
However the iPad Mini can be a strange device in that it’s smaller than all its Apple tablet brethren, but also more powerful and pricey, so it’s not clearly better or worse, which can lead people to being confused as to which they should buy.
If the iPad Mini 6 were to be smaller than the other tablets but just as powerful, and more affordable, the distinction between the slates would be clearer, and it would be way easier for people to work out which is best for them.
This way, the iPad Mini 6 would be a great purchase for people looking for a handy little iPad companion without it being too pricey.
A 3.5mm headphone jack
So far all iPad Mini models have had 3.5mm headphone jacks, but that’s far from an assured thing given Apple’s habit of cutting the port from its devices.
We’d like to see the iPad Mini 6 retain the headphone jack though, as they’re really useful for people who like their wired headphones as well as many who like to plug their tablets into physical speakers when home or about.
As well as audio output, 3.5mm jacks can also be used for audio input, and people who use their iPads to record music or voice notes might like the option of using such a wired device without taking up the main connector slot too.
The existing iPad Minis, and indeed iPad Airs and entry-level iPads, are pretty dated in one key way – they all have pretty big bezels around them, especially at the sides, and given even the most affordable Android phones have dramatically reduced bezels nowadays, this just won’t do.
Big bezels make the size of the tablet bigger without resulting in extra screen size, and for a real ‘mini’ iPad Mini we wouldn’t want the slate to be much bigger than its screen size – especially if that size is due to be increased.
We’d understand if Apple wanted to retain Touch ID and a physical button,as it has tended to do on its affordable products including the basic iPads and iPhone SE (2020), but beyond this large bezels are unnecessary.
Apple Pencil 2 support
The iPad Mini 5 is compatible with the first Apple Pencil, but that’s quite a divisive stylus given its limited range of functions and the irritating way of charging it (you have to physically plug it in to the tablet such that it sticks out like a flag post).
We’d like to see the iPad Mini 5, and indeed all Apple’s tablets, move towards using the Apple Pencil 2 instead, which is much more useful and charges by clipping it magnetically to the slate.
This seems unlikely, given the Apple Pencil 2 is reserved for the high-end iPad Pros right now – but this is a wish-list, not a predictions list.
No LiDAR scanner
The new iPad Pros in 2020 have LiDAR scanner, and it’s rumored the iPhone 12 will too. This is used for AR, which Apple has been making a big push towards in the last few years, but AR’s not exactly for everyone.
We’d like to see the iPad Mini 6 ship with no LiDAR scanner – not everyone wants, or cares about, AR, and many might feel annoyed if Apple tries to push it on us all.
If there was no LiDAR scanner on the new iPad Mini, the price could well be a little lower, and most buyers will likely prefer a low price over a potentially-useless scanner.