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New iPad mini 2021 leaked with big upgrade — and it’s coming soon

iPad mini
(Image credit: Future)

Despite ongoing supply chain issues, Apple ended 2020 with a flurry of new tech. And it looks like we might not have too long to wait before the first Apple branded products of 2021 are released.

Japanese site Mac Otakara has sourced information from Apple’s supply chain about the upcoming iPad mini 6 — and it sounds like it won’t be as ‘mini’ as before. While the current smallest iPad released in 2019 has a 7.9-inch screen, the new model will be considerably larger, with a reported 8.4-inch display. 

How much this will actually affect its size in the hand remains to be seen, as the report notes that the device will have slimmer bezels. It’s possible that the screen-to-body ratio will be so improved that it’s actually a similar size and weight.   

But smaller bezels doesn’t indicate an incoming design overhaul. Instead, Mac Otakara’s report indicates that the new iPad mini will look similar to the iPad Air 3. In other words, the Touch ID home button will live to fight another day, as will the Lightning port — the new iPad mini apparently won’t be emulating the almost bezel-free design of the latest iPad Pros this time around.

A size increase for the iPad mini has been on the cards for a while. Last May, Apple analyst Ming Chi-Kuo predicted that 2021 would see an iPad mini with a screen between 8.5 and 9 inches in the first half of the year, possibly with a mini LED display. 

iPad mini 6 release date

While this report makes no mention of the display tech involved, it seems the sources are in agreement on the release date. Mac Otakara states that the refreshed iPad mini will be unveiled in March. And given the rumor is that Apple is planning on releasing all-new iPad Pros around that time, don’t be too surprised if Apple announces a tablet themed event before too long.  

A March 2021 release date would be two years to the month since the iPad mini was last refreshed, which may seem a little slow compared to Apple’s other flagship products, but it could be worse.

Before the last model emerged, there hadn’t been a new iPad mini since September 2015, and many feared the form factor had been completely abandoned, only for it to return with Apple Pencil support and a True Tone display. While the changes likely won’t be as dramatic this time around, an upgrade is still extremely welcome.