Rumor mill: Apple ended the iPad mini's years-long hiatus in 2021 with the variant's first-ever redesign. Now, a credible analyst suggests the iPad mini's return wasn't a one-off, but it's unclear what a new model could add as Apple transitions its tablets to laptop processors.
Apple analyst and trusted leaker Ming-Chi Kuo said this week that the company is readying a new iPad mini to ship in late 2023 or sometime in the first half of 2024. It will be a refresh of last year's model with a new processor.
The 6th generation iPad mini runs on a downclocked version of the iPhone 13's A15 Bionic processor – one step behind the iPhone 14's A16 chip. The most likely candidate for an iPad mini 7 processor is the A16, keeping it a generation behind the 3nm-based A17 that's expected to come with next year's iPhone 15.
The most recent iPad Pro and iPad Air models dropped iPhone processors in exchange for the Apple Silicon Mac CPUs. An iPad mini could join them down the line, but it's hard to say when.
(3/3)— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) December 27, 2022
Additionally, Apple is currently working on a new version of the iPad mini equipped with a new processor as the main selling point, and the mass shipment is expected to start by the end of 2023 or in 1H24.
Since the last three iPad mini models have launched in September of their respective years, it's safe to say the new model Kuo mentions would release in September 2023. A delay into 2024 would be unlikely, but not impossible.
A new iPad mini would firmly establish Apple's commitment to supporting the device tier that sits between the iPads and flagship iPhones. The iPad mini went on a nearly four-year pause between the 4th generation in 2015 and the 5th generation in 2019. Last year brought the model's first-ever overhaul with a larger screen, USB-C, and a higher-resolution camera.
In contrast, the new processor is the next iPad mini's only significant change. Interested customers shouldn't expect major new features like a ProMotion screen or an ultra-wide camera, but more storage space is possible.
Contrary to previous rumors, Kuo also said 2025 probably won't bring us a foldable iPad to replace the iPad mini. This is because introducing foldable models would significantly increase the price above what is supposed to be the most affordable iPad.
In other iPad-related reports, The Information claimed earlier this year that Apple plans to release a 16-inch iPad in 2023, further blurring the line between the company's tablets and laptops. The biggest iPad is currently the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.