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The iPad mini 6 desperately needs a redesign — here’s why

iPad mini 6 concept design
(Image credit: Parker Ortolani/Twitter)

In a world of large display smartphones, including the iPhone 12 Pro Max, you’d be forgiven for asking why we need the iPad mini. And a recent leak has shown that the iPad mini 6 might simply get a minor specs boost over its predecessor, which would indicate Apple doesn’t care that much about its smallest tablet. 

While the iPad Air has been given a design that’s on par with that of the latest iPad Pro tablets, the iPad mini has sported the same overall look since its release in 2012. Granted, it got a laminated display and Touch ID integrated in its home button. But its bezel-heavy design is most definitely long in the tooth.  

I have been hoping, and still am, that Apple will tweak the next iPad mini’s design so that it looks like a compact version of the iPad Air. That would allow it to have a large display but still keep its neat compact chassis. 

A suite of leaks claim this will be the case. But the most recent iPad mini 6 leak suggests it won't be happening. And I really hope that leak is wrong, because I adore the iPad mini

Mini marvel 

Apple iPad Mini

(Image credit: Future)

I’ve been using an iPad mini since it’s second-generation model, sadly lost somewhere on a plane from Berlin to London after a very hungover Roland failed to check his belongings. I’m currently using the iPad mini 5 and it’s a joy. 

I get why the larger iPads have a lot of appeal: why get something that’s only a little larger diagonally than most big Android phones? But for me the iPad mini is the perfect size. 

It fits into a decent-sized coat or jacket pocket and makes for a killer note-taking device — especially when my handwriting is so bad my written notes are illegible. And when work is over, the iPad mini makes for a great e-reader or a fantastic device for playing a few games; FTL: Faster Than Light is simply fascinating on the mini. 

Speaking of gaming, now being able to pair an Xbox Wireless Controller with the iPad mini and indulge in some more precise gaming, as well as some streaming from a nearby PC via a Steam streaming app, makes the iPad a neat compact gaming device; I see it as a bit of a Nintendo Switch partner.

I’ve yet to try out Apple Arcade, but the size of the mini seems to lend itself well for indie games. I remember how fun it was playing the excellent Bastion on it. 

At $379, the iPad mini is also smartly priced, offering the still-powerful A12 Bionic chip, as well as a rather lovely Retina display. You can pay a little less and get the standard iPad, but it’s larger display with chunky bezel looks even more dated and isn’t so easy to simply pop into a pocket. The iPad Air is excellent, but at 10.9 inches it’s a tablet you need to carry in a bag, and starting at $549 it’s far from cheap. 

My iPad mini 6 redesign request

iPad Pro mini

(Image credit: Svet Apple)

Given I use Android handsets as my main phones, I like to have the iPad mini as my accompanying Apple ecosystem device, especially as iPadOS offers some extra features over iOS when it comes to productivity. 

Of course, I wouldn’t expect Apple to dedicate a lot of attention to the iPad mini, just for me. But prior to the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home directives, I’ve seen plenty of people sporting the iPad mini. So I feel there’s still an appetite for it. 

Apple doesn't really need to do a lot with the mini to make me go out and snap it up. While rumors had touted a mini-LED display, I’d be quite happy for slimmer bezels and the same Retina display; I wouldn't say no to a brighter and slightly punchier colors, but the mini 5’s screen is still rather lovely. 

Access to a little more power would be nice, as would some form of USB-C connectivity to more easily plug the iPad mini into a TV. Some enhanced speakers would be good, too, but that’s a nice-to-have rather than an essential feature. 

In short, the iPad mini is a lovely tablet and a perfect partner to a lot of my other tech. So I really hope Apple does not simply refresh it and gives it the attention this compact slate deserves. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer is U.K. Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.