We’ve been expecting a new “iPad mini 6” for over a year now, and it looks like not only is it finally coming soon, but it may end up surpassing last year’s iPad Air 4 in performance.
According to sources who spoke with the 9to5Mac, Apple plans to include its very first A15 processor in its upcoming iPad mini – it’s the same chip that is expected to power the entire iPhone 13 series.
To be fair, this move is not entirely unprecedented – Apple surprised us when it did the same with the A14 chip in last fall’s iPad Air 4. In fact, due to delays in the launch of the iPhone 12, the iPad Air actually became first device to be announced with Apple’s latest chip, though the company pretty coyly waited to make it available until after the iPhone 12 was announced.
Still, it was a surprising move considering that Apple’s flagship iPad Pro still had the less impressive A12Z chip.
Of course, Apple did more than that with this year’s iPad Pro models from 2021, which made a quantum leap into M1 territory. For a few months, though, it was the mid-range iPad Air that had the most powerful chip in Apple’s entire tablet lineup.
Now it looks like it can at least partially repeat itself with this year’s sixth generation iPad mini, bringing Apple’s long neglected smaller iPad back in a really big way.
While, of course, Apple’s A15 chip can not be expected to surpass the M1 now found in the iPad Pro, an A15 in the iPad mini would make it the most powerful non-Pro iPad on the market – provided, of course, that Apple has not also a fifth generation iPad Air on the way.
However, this seems questionable, as we have heard almost nothing about Apple’s plans for standard – sized iPad models. Moreover, with a few exceptions, Apple generally seems to be happy with an 18-month release cycle for most of its advanced iPad models. This means that we are unlikely to see a new full-size version of the iPad Air until sometime next year, which is consistent with other reports we’ve heard recently.
The powerful iPad mini 6
As for the sixth generation iPad mini, we have already heard from a few reliable sources that it will be the biggest redesign in the product’s history, dampening previous rumors that it would only be a minor update.
While we still can’t completely rule out the possibility that Apple may also be working on an entry-level version, it’s starting to sound like it might just have been an idea that Apple tossed around. Either way, it’s this redesigned iPad mini that’s going to be the only one worth talking about.
Sources also reveal that the new iPad mini has a USB-C port, though this is less surprising if it will adopt the same design as the latest iPad Air.
While Apple remains stuck on the Lightning port on most of its devices, it is recognized that with the advanced iPad models blurring the line between tablets and laptops, they need the connectivity options to match.
Therefore, it is also not a big surprise that 9to5Mac says that we also get the new Smart Connector. While of course the smaller size of the iPad mini means that it is not automatically compatible with accessories such as the Magic Keyboard, this opens the door to a smaller version of that keyboard or other accessory that can take advantage of the new connector.
Basically, there is every reason to believe at this point that the “iPad mini 6” will follow in the footsteps of the 2019 models, where the iPad mini 5 was simply a smaller version of the iPad Air 3 with a design and specifications that are otherwise identical .
However, if the reports of the smaller iPad winning an A15 chip are true, the specifications will not be quite the same, and for the first time in Apple’s history, the smallest tablet will have pulled out in front of the rest of the package. .