Apple’s iPad mini is due for a major upgrade (overdue, some would say). The last change came almost two years ago with the move to the A12 Bionic processor and the addition of Apple Pencil support.
The next model is expected to launch by October this year, so just a few months away. It seems it is going to be very different. For a start, it’ll have a complete design overhaul that will bring it into line with the looks of the iPad Pro and iPad Air.
It’s also likely to get a bigger display while still clinging to a form factor that qualifies 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 in the entry-level iPad, as that was updated last Fall to include the A12 Bionic.
But the new report says that there’s going to be a major step forward. In fact, it’ll likely have Apple’s most advanced chip, that is, the A15 Super-Duper. I’m joking about it having Super-Duper in the name, but there will some vaulting adjective attached to A15, I’m sure.
A15 is the chip that’s going to be in this Fall’s iPhone series, so you just know it’ll be the fastest A chip Apple has developed.
Which means that with one single bound, 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 will, like the iPad Air and iPad Pro, use a USB-C connector instead of Lightning, making it more compatible with more accessories.
And apparently it will feature a Smart Connector. It’s not quite clear what this means. If it means a magnetic QI panel on the side so an Apple Pencil can snap to it, that makes sense, though Apple just calls this a Magnetic Connector.
The Smart Connector on the iPad Air and iPad Pro is made up of three small circles in a row, where accessories like the Smart Keyboard Folio and Magic Keyboard connect. This seems less likely, though not impossible, as a keyboard sized to fit the iPad mini sounds pretty cramped to me.
The report also predicts that an entry-level iPad will be released at the same time as the iPad mini, and suggests the processor in the new iPad will be the A13. Not as punchy as the A15 but a lot faster than the A12 Bionic which currently powers it. Previously, it’s been suggested that the iPad will have a slightly bigger screen this time, perhaps 10.5 inches like the iPad Air third-generation.