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Apple reportedly planning radical iPad mini redesign

Published Jun 4th, 2021 6:50AM EDT
iPad mini 6 Release Date
Image: memorystockphoto/Adobe

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A report a few months ago claimed the iPad mini 6 would deliver a significant design in 2021, the first design update in six years. The report said the smaller tablet will ditch the large top and bottom bezels in favor of an all-screen design with a hole-punch camera at the top and a hole-punch Touch ID home button at the bottom. The renders in that leak look unlike anything Apple made so far. Apple is yet to adopt hole-punch camera designs on its iOS devices. And having the home button pierce through the screen is even stranger at a time where there’s technology available to place the fingerprint sensor under the display. Not to mention that the iPad in those renders looked nothing like the iPad Pro and iPad Air.

With the iPad Air last fall, Apple proved that it’s ready to make radical changes to its products. The iPad Air is the first tablet to feature a side button with built-in Touch ID, a feature that’s not available anywhere else on iOS and iPadOS devices. But the tablet has the same general design as the iPad Pro, featuring curved corners and a symmetric bezel running around the display. 
A new report claims that Apple will update the iPad mini’s design, teasing a few welcome changes to Apple’s smallest tablet.

At 7.9-inch, the iPad mini is a great size for many people looking for a more practical iPad. The tablet’s hardware was last updated a few years ago when it received the A12 Bionic chip that powers 2018 iPhones. The iPad mini also supports the Apple Pencil. But the smallest iPad is in desperate need of a refresh. After all, even the iPhone SE runs on a newer chip, and both devices start at $399.

The 2021 iPad mini refresh won’t be just about the specs, with Bloomberg claiming that the tablet’s first radical redesign is planned later this year. The report says the bezels are going to shrink, and the home button might be removed:

The updated iPad mini is planned to have narrower screen borders while the removal of its home button has also been tested.

That’s all Bloomberg had to say about the unreleased iPad mini 6’s makeover. Seeing Apple bring the same iPad Pro/Air design to the iPad mini would make sense. Placing Touch ID on the power button would also be something we’d expect from Apple, considering the iPad Air precedent. However, that’s just speculation at this point.

iPad mini 6
iPad mini 6 render based on purported CAD designs shows an all-screen design with hole-punch camera, and in-screen Touch ID. Image source: xleaks7 and Pigtou

The design that leaked back in January, seen above, seems unlikely for the new iPad mini, although it would fit Bloomberg’s description.

The report says that Apple is working on a thinner version of the entry-level iPad that’s targeting students. The iPad 9 and iPad mini 6 will both be released towards the end of the year.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.