Last month, Apple hosted its first major event of 2021 to unveil a variety of new products, including a redesigned iMac, the long-awaited AirTag tracker, and an upgraded iPad Pro with an M1 chip on board. There were rumors that Apple would take the opportunity to announce multiple new tablets, but the fifth-generation iPad Pro was the only one to make an appearance. It’s unclear whether or not Apple had ever planned to update the rest of its iPad lineup at the Spring Loaded event, but according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, we’re going to have to wait at least a few more months before Apple will be ready to announce any additional iPad models.
On Monday, Kuo released a new report claiming that Apple would start shipping the first foldable iPhone model in 2023. In that same report, 9to5Mac says that the analyst also suggested a touch panel supplier would benefit from the launch of a new iPad mini in the second half of 2021. This seems to suggest that the earliest we would see a new iPad mini model would be July 1st, although it could end up being even later in the year.
If Kuo is right (and he frequently is), then we shouldn’t expect to see the next iPad mini at WWDC 2021, which takes place virtually from June 6th to June 10th. Apple might be saving the iPad mini announcement for the iPhone event in September, or it’s possible that the sixth-generation iPad mini will be announced via press release, which is a method the company has employed a few times throughout the pandemic already.
Whatever the case, the intrigue surrounding the future of the iPad mini line has grown in recent months as some rumors have suggested that the next model would feature a relatively drastic redesign. In a report last year, Kuo said that Apple would release a new iPad mini with a display between 8.5-9 inches, which would indicate that Apple would decrease the size of the bezels and perhaps even remove the Home button.
More recent reports have pointed to a less significant overhaul, with Macotakara saying in January that the new iPad mini will have an 8.4-inch display with slightly smaller bezels and will retain the Home button. Of course, that report also claimed that the iPad mini 6 would be revealed in March, so take it all with a grain of salt.
Apple might surprise us beforehand, but it seems increasingly likely that the new iPad mini, as well as the 2021 iPad, will be unveiled alongside the iPhone 13 this September. Apple always packs the event with a few additional hardware reveals, and there are only so many product lines left to refresh this year.