Taking a break from Apple headset hype, let’s talk about the iPad mini. Apple brought the 7.9-inch Home button iPad mini into the modern era with the 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display version in September 2021.
Available in four colors, the A15 chip-equipped iPad mini hardly feels dated with performance on par with that of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14. If anything, an updated iPad mini could satisfy a lot of fans wanting a more premium model that could be sold alongside the current iPad mini 6.
I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right. The iPad lineup is already a colossal mess of confusing choices. Adding yet another configuration would add to the complexity of an iPad family begging for clarity.
This is the current iPad offering:
- iPad 9 10.2-inch (from $329)
- iPad 10 10.9-inch (from $449)
- iPad mini 6 8.3-inch (from $499)
- iPad Air 5 10.9-inch (from $599)
- iPad Pro 11-inch (from $799)
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (from $1099)
That’s six distinct models with four 10.2- to 11-inch displays, one 8.3-inch display, and one 12.9-inch display. Rumors point to an even larger 14-inch iPad coming in the future.
The iPad mini is actually said to not have any hardware updates planned any time soon. Still, we can dream…
For the sake of this fantasy, let’s focus on three iPads in the family:
- iPad mini 6 8.3-inch
- iPad Air 5 10.9-inch
- iPad Pro 11-inch
The iPad mini 6 is effectively a smaller version of the iPad Air 5. There are some differences, but similarities in screen technology and biometric security make this statement true.
iPad mini and iPad Air have chunkier bezels than iPad Pro, use 60Hz refresh rate and lack variable refresh rate up to 120Hz with ProMotion, and use Touch ID fingerprint recognition for security instead of Face ID facial recognition.
If Apple added a more premium iPad mini to the line, it could instead be based on the iPad Pro line.
To date, Apple limits ProMotion variable refresh rate to its “Pro” products: iPhone Pro, iPad Pro, MacBook Pro. Nevertheless, ProMotion is a top feature request for a future iPad mini; whether Apple breaks that distinction for the iPad mini or calls this theoretical version iPad Pro mini or iPad mini Pro, people just want ProMotion.
If I’m betting, I would predict Apple simply releases a future iPad mini 7 with a newer processor, improved cameras, and new color choices. More optimistically, I could see Apple adding ProMotion to an iPad mini without including other “Pro” features.
Still, if we go all the way, a proper iPad Pro mini could be an impressive little tablet. It could support Face ID, like modern iPhones. It could support the new Hover feature for Apple Pencil 2. It could add an ultra-wide camera and LiDAR sensor for AR.
The 11-inch iPad Pro doesn’t even support XDR (extreme dynamic range), but let’s just imagine both the 11-inch iPad Pro and 8.3-inch iPad Pro mini adopt the right screen technology for XDR. It could support Thunderbolt/USB 4. Maybe even add more microphones for stereo audio recording and quad speakers if size permits?
Like I said, simply adding ProMotion to the non-Pro iPad mini seems reasonable yet optimistic. But if Apple went full-on Pro with the iPad mini, how much would you be willing to pay? What other features would you want to see in the iPad mini? Share your thoughts below!
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