Dear Apple, it’s time for an iPad Mini Pro — here are 3 reasons why

The iPad mini 2021 with Apple Pencil (gen 2) and purple Apple Smart Folio case on a desk
(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

The “pro” moniker is an odd one when you think about what it means for Apple products. It doesn’t actually mean for prosumers — it’s more of a term the Cupertino crew uses to highlight it has the latest and greatest hardware innovations.

And when it comes to the latest iPad Pro, this new hardware includes a leapfrog from M2 to M4, a gorgeous OLED display and support for the new Apple Pencil Pro. After watching the event (and feeling a little weird seeing a ton of creative instruments succumb to a hydraulic press), I was left with one key impression. It looks like a great big-screen tablet, but boy oh boy do I wish all of this was in an iPad Mini-sized frame.

So that’s why I’m here today, dear reader (and to anyone at Apple reading this). I want to put the case forward for why it's time for the iPad Mini to go pro.

1. Size and capability on location

Yes, making the iPad Pro the slimmest product Apple has ever made is going to help with portability. However, it’s still a significant slab of aluminum and glass. If you’re out setting up a multi-cam setup in a remote location, the size of every piece of tech is critical.

That’s why packing pro power into an 8.3-inch tablet to handle those extreme portability requirements is a must. Hell, I even think of the moments I had to setup a quick interview/podcast segment on location at CES 2024, and it has me dreaming big of what I could do with an M4 iPad Mini in terms of capturing all the angles, leveling the audio and switching between shots on the fly for one continuous stream.

2. An actual middle ground between phone and laptop

iPad Pro 2024

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

When it comes to whether I would buy an iPad or a MacBook, I will always opt for the laptop. In terms of getting into my creative flow, the desktop-class UI to my pro creator apps and the keyboard shortcuts are simply unmatched by any touch UI. 

However, that’s not to say there isn’t a benefit to having these apps available on a tablet too. FCP and Logic have been ideal for me to make some quick changes while on the move — changes like subtly altering color correction or adding some environmental sound effects to a beat.

Holding something like the 11- or 13-inch iPad Pro that wanders into laptop size, I wonder if I’ll be better off just getting my M3 Pro MacBook Pro out.

3. Apple’s true gaming handheld?

Backbone One (2nd Generation)

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

When you take a look at the best gaming handhelds, they all normally offer a 7-8-inch screen in a portable package. I just crushed several hours of Persona 5 Royal on my Steam Deck during my flight home from Dubai — it really is a dream device for making the hours melt by on long haul transport.

So picture the scenario … Imagine if Apple created an iPad Mini with an OLED display and M4, and then you paired it with something like the arVin gamepad controller to turn it into a supercharged Nintendo Switch OLED?

And I know what you're thinking. The iPhone 15 Pro with Backbone One is the combo breaker for that, right? Well, with the smaller screen and more power efficient internals, I'd question that.

But on a smaller tablet with hardware-accelerated ray tracing, Apple Arcade and the AAA titles that take full advantage of the chipset’s power (not to mention emulators for the retro gamers out there), this could be the all-in-one gameplay and quick productivity device that I’ve been dreaming of.

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Jason England
Managing Editor — Computing

Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He has previously written for Laptop Mag, Tom's Hardware, Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.