Despite owning and loving the 2019 iPad mini, I’m loath to suggest Apple is due a refresh. Yes, it has the body of a tablet from 2015, but considering Apple left the iPad mini unloved for four years, I think expecting yearly updates in the same way you might for MacBooks and iPhones is a touch misguided.
All the same, if Apple were to update the iPad mini, then I certainly wouldn’t say no to an aesthetic closer to the iPad Pro. And that’s just what designer Parker Ortolani has imagined with his latest concept design: an iPad mini that’s nearly 20% smaller, while retaining the same screen size, just by reigning in the chunky bezels.
damn do I wish they'd make an iPad mini like this pic.twitter.com/y4qYdslDCfJuly 24, 2020
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Such a change would involve a couple of modifications that might prove unpopular. For starters, the current iPad Pro ditched the home button to make way for Face ID, and that’s something this iPad mini concept would have to do too (unless there was a back mounted fingerprint sensor, or no biometrics at all).
More importantly, plenty of people — myself included — are quite happy with the current dimensions of the iPad mini. For me, with the Apple Pencil and the fantastic Notability app, it makes for a perfect alternative to a notebook when I go to events and conduct interviews. Making it smaller would take away that feeling.
So what about keeping the dimensions and just using the saved bezel space for extra screen real estate? If that’s your dream, then wonder no more: Ortolani has you covered with a mock up:
for all the folks asking... this is what the iPad mini would look like if they kept the same footprint and extended the display… I'm personally not a fan of the aspect ratio… but I know lots of people want a larger display pic.twitter.com/wmhzbHFgWDJuly 25, 2020
This, as Ortolani points out, disrupts the aspect ratio, but does give you 8.9-inches of screen to play with — not a million miles away from the 9.7-inch display on the original iPad. Still, it’s certainly appealing if the body-to-screen ratio is all important to you.
Of course, in a sense, making beautiful designs like this is the easy part. Managing to keep it in place while fitting all the iPad innards inside is trickier, and while Apple could have undoubtedly made the 2019 iPad mini a bit prettier by making something new, it just made sense to keep the four-year-old form factor.
Now that they hopefully appreciate there is one, maybe they can be a bit more experimental next time around. Current rumors point to an iPad mini 6 arriving in early 2021, when it could pack the same Apple A13 Bionic chipset that powers the iPhone 11 series and iPhone SE.
The rumors report that the screen will be boosted to 8.5-inches, so maybe Ortolani’s concept art isn’t too far removed from what we’ll be unboxing early next year.