It appears we won't need to wait too long for the iPad mini 6. Or at least not the four years we waited for the iPad mini 5, which came out that long after its predecessor.
Thanks to some recent reliable rumors, we've just got a decent idea of not just when we'll see the next pint-sized Apple tablet, but what reasons it might give us to upgrade. The rumored changes, as we've seen them so far, range from a powerful new processor to a surprising new high-end display technology and/or redesign.
Here's everything we know about the iPad mini 6 so far based on the leaks and rumors.
iPad mini 6 release date and price
A recent research note from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that Apple plans to release the iPad mini 6 in the first half of 2021. The iPad mini 5 came out in March 2019, which would place about 2 years in between iterations.
Apple could just release the iPad mini 6 on any day of the week, as it's recently proven, with the MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020) that it doesn't need a pre-announced event to reveal something new.
The iPad mini 6 will likely keep the $399 price we see in its predecessor. Apple has generally kept its tablets at the same price over the years, and the iPad mini starts with 64GB of storage, which gives it a better value proposition against the 32GB $329 iPad.
The 256GB iPad mini costs $149 more, at $549, and that price-to-storage upgrade pattern also looks to continue.
iPad mini 6 display: Mini-LED on the way
The biggest bit of news from Ming Chi-Kuo's reports is that the iPad mini 6 won't be so miniature. The new iPad mini is expected to have an 8.5-inch screen, which will be an increase of 8% from the iPad mini 5's 7.9-inch screen. While an earlier note from Kuo suggested the tablet's screen could be as big as 9 inches, rumors seem to have solidified around the 8.5-inch size.
Kuo's also suggested that the next iPad mini is one of the devices that Apple's considering using a Mini-LED screen -- which has all the display quality perks of OLED screens, without the decay issues on. But that was earlier in the year, when Kuo claimed this iPad mini 6 would be 7.9 inches and coming out in 2020 -- two things that feel as if they're not on the table anymore.
iPad mini 6 processor and specs
A post at the Chinese tech site MyDrivers.com (when passed through Google Translate) suggests that the iPad mini 6 will feature an A13 processor, which makes sense as an upgrade from the A12 Bionic chips in the iPad mini 5.
That post also notes the iPad mini 6 will continue the use of the Lightning port. This connector has been something of a contentious point among Apple rumors as of late: there's a lot of speculation Apple will kill the port off altogether in the iPhone 13, while the iPad Pro got the universal USB-C port.
iPad mini 6 design
OK, so there's a lot of folks out there thirstily speculating that the iPad mini 6 could gain a design that looks more like the new iPad Pro than the iPad -- with slimmer bezels and no home button.
There's no reason to see those thoughts as anything beyond wishing upon a star. This 8.5-inch iPad mini doesn't sound like a device that will undergo a radical transformation. Just look at how the 9.7-inch iPad became the 10.2-inch iPad, the chassis just got a little larger.
It's not hard to see why people want the iPad Pro's design for the iPad mini: it even opens the tablet up to supporting the magnetically-docking 2nd Gen iPad Pencil, which is much better than the 1st Gen Pencil.
iPad mini 6 outlook
These early iPad mini 6 leaks suggest that Apple's not resting on last year's update, and is looking to make the next iPad mini at least an evolution of the product.
If in fact we see a Mini-LED iPad mini 6, the tablet would feel like a revolution over the previous edition, which was pretty good to begin with. But as long as we get a bigger screen that doesn't make the iPad mini much bigger (it's still the mini model after all), along with a performance boost, the iPad mini 6 will be a worthy successor.
Stay tuned for all the latest iPad mini 6 rumors.