iPad mini 5: Everything we know so far about the ‘cheaper’ 7.9-inch iPad

Reports have indicated that Apple is readying a new iPad mini 5 for 2019. This would mark the 7.9-inch tablet’s first update since 2015, and the iPad lineup has changed quite a bit since then. Read on as we recap everything we know so far about the iPad mini 5.

Design

The iPad mini 5 will likely retain much of the same design as the iPad mini 4. Thus far, we’ve seen a pair of leaks that claim to depict the overall frame of the device. In December, a case leak showed an iPad mini with a larger camera cutout for flash support. This case also included a headphone jack, and perhaps Smart Connector support.

Last month, photos shared online depicted an unreleased version of the iPad mini that painted a slightly different picture. The only difference between these images and the current iPad mini 4 is a redesigned antenna along the top, which matches with the current 9.7-inch iPad.

Further, the iPad mini 5 is expected to retain Touch ID support, indicating Apple won’t be moving the device to a bezel-less design with Face ID support this year.

Ultimately, while smaller details are unclear, evidence suggests that the iPad mini 5 won’t be the major design overhaul for which some have been hoping. The device could feature a modernized antenna design and perhaps an enhanced camera setup, but other than that you shouldn’t expect many changes.

Specs

The iPad mini 4 uses an Apple A8 processor, which was first used with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus introduced in 2014. Needless to say, that processor is starting to show its age in 2019. Ming-Chi Kuo was first to report in October that the iPad mini 5 will feature an “upgraded processor.”

Specifics are unclear, but the current 9.7-inch iPad uses an A10 Fusion chip. We’d expect the upgraded iPad mini 5 to feature something similar, which would future-proof it and give it the ability to receive iOS updates for the foreseeable future.

Elsewhere, the iPad mini 5 will feature a “lower-cost panel” according to reports. This is where things get a bit puzzling. The iPad mini 4 features a 7.9-inch Retina display with a 2048 by 1536 resolution.

The iPad mini 4’s display is a fully laminated display. This could be where Apple is able to cut costs slightly, as the 9.7-inch iPad does not feature a laminated display. It’s possible that when Kuo says the display is “lower-cost,” this is what he’s referring to.

While not confirmed, there is also evidence the new iPad mini 5 will support Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard connectivity. Apple Pencil support makes sense seeing as Apple also recently added it to the 9.7-inch iPad, but Smart Keyboard support is puzzling. With just a 7.9-inch display, a keyboard attached to the iPad mini would likely

Price

One thing that nearly all of the iPad mini 5 reports have in common is they all say the device will be “low-cost” or “cheaper.” Most recently, Bloomberg reported last week that the 7.9-inch tablet will be “cheaper,” suggesting it will come in lower than the iPad mini 4’s $399 price tag.

Currently, the 9.7-inch iPad is priced at $329, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the iPad mini 5 priced slightly below that. $299 is certainly in the cards, especially if Apple is focused on internal improvements, leaving the exterior design the same.

iPad mini 5 Release Date

iOS 12.2, which is currently in beta testing, contains references to several new iPad models, one of which is likely the iPad mini 5. This suggests that the iPad mini 5 will be released in conjunction with iOS 12.2, barring any delays. Apple also recently registered new iPad models in a Eurasian regulatory database, which it usually does in the months before a device’s release.

iOS 12.2 is on its second beta, so a March release is certainly on the table. This aligns well with the precedent Apple set last year when it unveiled the 9.7-inch iPad at an education-focused event in Chicago. The year before, Apple made a handful of announcements via press releases in March as well.

Wrap up

Going into 2019, an upgraded iPad mini is the last thing that many people expected to see. Nonetheless, it’s clear that we’re nearing the launch of the iPad mini 5. The device will feature an upgraded processor, but an overall similar design to the iPad mini 4. It could also pack Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil support, as well as a lower price tag.

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