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Top insider leaks Apple’s biggest iPad design overhaul in years

Published Jun 12th, 2021 10:33AM EDT
iPad mini 6 Rumors
Image: memorystockphoto/Adobe

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Apple’s smallest iPad version targets a particular type of tablet buyer. It’s meant for people who want a more compact device, but who aren’t interested in supersized smartphones like the iPhone Pro Max. Anyone interested in the iPad mini 5 right now will have to deal with a few compromises. The tablet has the same design with large bezels and it’s powered by outdated hardware. There’s no reason why the smallest iPad can’t offer the same excellent iPad design that’s available on the Pro and Air models, or why it can’t run on the best possible A-series chip.

A few leaks said earlier this year that the iPad mini 6 will receive a radical redesign paired with the expected specs bump that each new iPad gets. One leak went as far as to claim that the new iPad mini will feature a design that is unlike anything Apple made so far, including a hole-punch display camera and a hole-punch fingerprint sensor. The most reasonable expectation is for Apple to apply the same iPad Pro/Air design to the iPad mini, and a brand new leak gives us a first look at the purported iPad mini 6 design that follows this line of thinking.

The iPad mini 6 was last updated a few years ago when the tablet received the A12 Bionic chip introduced back in 2018. But the mini did not get a new design.

iPad mini 6
Render shows iPad mini 6’s front and back. Image source: Jon Prosser and RendersByIan

Last year, Apple launched a surprising iPad Air redesign that was in line with the iPad Pro. The 2020 Air features a large display with uniform bezels running around the screen. The home button is gone in favor of a novel Touch ID scanner placed in the standby button at the top. That’s something Apple has never done before, and it’s a great compromise between design and security. Apple didn’t have to add the more expensive Face ID camera system to the iPad Air in order to remove the home button. And Touch ID is still a great security feature for locking/encrypting the tablet.

iPad mini 6
Purported iPad mini 6 (right) next to iPad Air (left). Image source: Jon Prosser and RendersByIan

Apple will apply the same design principles to the iPad mini 6 if Jon Prosser’s renders on FrontPageTech are to be believed. The prominent leaker has provided plenty of accurate Apple leaks in the past few years, including schematics belonging to gadgets that Apple has yet to announce.

The iPad mini 6 leaks are said to be based on schematics, CAD files, and real hands-on images of the redesigned iPad mini. The tablet looks just like the iPad Air and iPad Pro. The home button is gone and the Touch ID sensor is found at the top, in the standby button. The new iPad mini will be almost the same size as the current device.

iPad mini 6
iPad mini 6 design detail: Touch ID fingerprint sensor in standby button. Image source: Jon Prosser and RendersByIan

The speakers have been significantly improved, and the Lightning port has been replaced with a USB-C connector. In terms of hardware, the iPad mini 6 should feature the same A14 Bionic chip as the iPhone 12 series and the iPad Air. That’s a logical upgrade considering the iPad Pro got the M1 chip that powers four Macs.

The smaller iPad should also offer an additional surprise: support for Apple Pencil. Apple has reportedly redesigned the stylus to match the tablet’s reduced footprint.

iPad mini 6
Purported iPad mini 6 design and new Apple Pencil. Image source: Jon Prosser and RendersByIan

It’s unclear when Apple will unveil the iPad mini 6, but the company is also expected to launch a new affordable iPad this year. The iPad mini 6’s price hasn’t leaked either, but Prosser says the redesigned device will come in three colors including silver, black, and gold.

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.