Why Apple iPad mini 5 needs to exist and what we'd like to see

Apple is said to finally unveil a new iPad mini this spring, its first in almost four years, and we can’t wait.

Some have said the small tablet market is no longer relevant, thanks in part to larger screen smartphones, but we disagree. The iPad mini 5 absolutely needs to exist and it needs to exist right now.

Here then are our reasons why we’re looking forward to an iPad mini 5 and what we hope Apple will include.

Why the iPad mini 5 is needed

There are some that argue Apple hasn’t replaced its iPad mini 4 because there is no consumer desire for that size or type of tablet anymore.

Its 7.9-inch screen isn’t much larger than the 6.5-inch display of the iPhone XS Max, say, or the 6.4-inch screen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. So, with the average size of phone screens increasing, is there a need for a small form factor tablet?

We say “yes”.

Not everyone can afford to buy a massive phone costing north of £800. Nor does everyone want a device that size sticking out of a pocket.

Additionally, smaller tablets tend to be favoured by parents with younger children who do not own phones. Anecdotally, many of the iPad mini 4s being used today by those we know are in the hands of their kids. They are a perfect size and weight for small hands and, with iOS 12’s family-friendly features, they are a great fit for a child’s screen time.

What we’d like to see on a new iPad mini

The biggest problem though is that the iPad mini 4 itself is starting to creak under the strain of some of today’s more graphically intensive apps. A new model with more advanced processing will, therefore, be welcomed by many.

We think it is the perfect time for that to arrive. And this is what we’d like on it, including some features that have been rumoured already.

More power

This is the number one change we think Apple would bring to the iPad mini 5 and, as you can read above, we feel is the most important.

The chip used in the iPad mini 4 is the A8 processor, the same used in the iPhone 6 so you can see how old it is. Considering we’re now on the A12X Bionic chipset – used in the latest iPad Pro models – there is plenty of scope for improvement.

Rumours and our own personal thoughts suggest that Apple will adopt the same chipset used in the standard iPad model released last year, the Apple A10 Fusion. Alternatively, it could opt for the A11 found in the iPhone X, for a little more oomph.

This would enable the iPad mini 5 to run all the latest apps and games with no sluggishness. It doesn’t need the same processing that is inside the Pro tablets, as they are traditionally tasked with so much more, but recent generation silicon would be a godsend.

Same quality Retina display or better

The display on the current iPad mini is one of its best features. Featuring a 2048 x 1536 resolution, it makes video content look great.

It’d be even better if it were OLED, like the iPhone X, XS and XS Max.

That is unlikely, though, and rumours suggest instead that Apple will adopt a lower cost screen for the next model. It is unlikely the resolution will drop but we do hope that the colour reproduction and brightness is at least the equivalent to the current tech.

At least it’s also rumoured that it will sport TrueTone for the first time.

Apple Pencil compatibility

Apple added support for its first generation Pencil stylus to the standard iPad last year and we hope the iPad mini 5 would have that box ticked too.

The smaller device is a superb note or jotting pad and is more portable than a larger iPad so more handy to chuck in a school or work bag.

We doubt any new, non-Pro iPads will come with USB-C – rather stick to Lightning – so they won’t be compatible with the second generation Pencil.

Better camera/Face ID

The iPad mini 4 has an 8-megapixel camera on the rear and a FaceTime HD camera on the front with a 1.2-megapixel sensor.

These are both outdated when it comes to mobile photography but, while we would love better cameras front and back, it’s more than likely Apple will stick with the existing tech.

That’s because last year’s standard iPad model featured similar cameras, even three years after their inclusion on the mini.

It also means that Face ID is very unlikely too. Expect the fingerprint sensor to remain.

Storage

We’ve not seen any rumours about this, but we have a hunch that Apple might reintroduce a 32GB version of the iPad mini 5 for entry-level users.

It only ranges the 128GB mini 4 at present, in Wi-Fi and cellular models, but bringing back a 32GB variant (as with the standard iPad) could cut around £100 off the price.

Connectivity

Some rumours suggest that Apple will incorporate a new antenna in the next mini, but we’ve never had connection problems with the existing one, to be honest.

Release date and price

So those are the things we’d like to see on a new iPad mini 5 – things that would make it relevant today.

As for price, the current Wi-Fi only 128GB iPad mini 4 is £399 in the UK. Considering the 128GB 9.7-inch iPad is only £10 more we’d hope that the mini 5 is at least the same – simply replacing its previous generation.

Bringing back a 32GB model would allow Apple to come in at a cheaper price still.

As for release date, the most recent rumour said that the company is likely to announce a new iPad mini, plus a replacement standard iPad, this spring.

We’ll update you as we find out more.

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