Apple’s iPad mini needs a major (overdue, some would say) upgrade. The latest change came almost two years ago with the switch to the A12 Bionic processor and the addition of Apple Pencil support.
The next model is expected to launch by October of this year, so in a few months. It looks like it will be very different. For starters, it will have a complete design overhaul that will bring it in line with the look of the iPad Pro and iPad Air.
It’s also likely to get a larger screen while retaining a form factor referred to as “mini” and Touch ID in the power button, like the new iPad Air, rather than on the front of the tablet.
But a new report from 9to5Mac claims that a much, much faster processor will be built into this year’s iPad mini.
The current chip is the same as the entry-level iPad, as it was updated last fall to include the A12 Bionic.
But the new report says there is going to be a big step forward. In fact, it will likely have Apple’s most advanced chip, namely the A15 Super-Duper. Just kidding about having Super-Duper in the name, but there will be a vault adjective attached to A15 I’m sure.
A15 is the chip that will be part of the iPhone series this fall, so you know it will be the fastest A chip Apple has developed.
Which means with just one leap, the iPhone mini will go from a chip first released in 2018 to the flagship processor for 2021.
The new report corroborates previous rumors that the iPad mini, like the iPad Air and iPad Pro, uses a USB-C connector instead of Lightning, making it more compatible with more accessories.
And apparently it will feature a smart connector. What this means is not very clear. If that means a magnetic IQ panel on the side for an Apple Pencil to hang onto, that makes sense, although Apple just calls it a magnetic connector.
The smart connector on the iPad Air and iPad Pro is made up of three small, aligned circles, where accessories like the Smart Keyboard Folio and Magic Keyboard connect. It seems less likely, but not impossible, as a keyboard sized to fit the iPad mini feels pretty narrow to me.
The report also predicts that an entry-level iPad will be released alongside the iPad mini, and suggests that the processor for the new iPad will be the A13. Not as punchy as the A15 but much faster than the A12 Bionic that currently powers it. Previously, it had been suggested that the iPad this time would have a slightly larger screen, perhaps 10.5 inches like the third-generation iPad Air.