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Reports of an upcoming “iPad mini 6” have gained a lot more steam in recent weeks and it seems like Apple’s smallest tablet is finally in for a really big update this fall — and now it looks like it could be an even bigger deal than we imagined.
Apple has had something of an on-again-off-again relationship with its iPad mini, releasing four models in rapid succession from 2012 to 2015 before putting it on the back burner for so long that many feared it had been discontinued.
The diminutive tablet made a pretty big comeback with a fifth-generation version released back in 2019, moving the iPad mini into a new middle-tier class alongside a new iPad Air 3, but after that things once again went dead quiet for the smaller tablet, leaving us to wonder (again) what Apple was up to.
However, recent rumours have suggested that this year’s update to an “iPad mini 6” is going to be a really big one, with the biggest redesign in the product’s history, plus Apple’s ultra-powerful A15 chip that’s also coming to the “iPhone 13.”
That may only be the tip of the iceberg, however, as a new supply chain report hints that the new iPad mini will also gain a mini-LED display.
If true, this would be pretty incredible, as the only Apple device with mini-LED technology so far is the newly released 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The more advanced display hasn’t even yet made it to the smaller 11-inch model, although it’s fair to say it will eventually get the mini-LED treatment as well.
The report comes from DigiTimes, which reveals that Apple is expecting shipments of mini-LED backlight units from Radiant Optoelectronics later this year for both the new MacBook Pro (which we already know about), and the iPad mini.
A Mini Flagship?
Based on everything we’ve been hearing, it already sounds like the “iPad mini 6” is slated to be the most powerful non-Pro iPad model on the market this year, since the addition of the A15 chip alone would put it well ahead of everything other than the insanely powerful new M1-powered iPad Pro — which, to be fair, is now in a class entirely by itself.
It wouldn’t be the first time Apple has done this in recent years, either. Last year’s iPad Air 4 surprised everyone when Apple debuted it with the iPhone 12’s A14 chip — almost a month before the iPhone 12 was even announced (although it didn’t actually go on sale until afterward).
In fact, that was even a more remarkable move back then, since the early 2020 iPad Pro refresh had only been upgraded to a considerably more pedestrian A12Z chip — a very modest improvement over the A12X found in its 2018 predecessor. While the iPad Pro obviously had other things going for it, that didn’t change the fact that for about six months, Apple’s mid-range iPad Air 4 had the most powerful CPU found in any iPad Apple had ever made.
So, it doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch to imagine that Apple could repeat this with the iPad mini, since it’s been in the same class since Apple introduced it alongside the new middle-tier iPad Air over two years ago.
Taking a leap into mini-LED would be a much bigger deal, however, although even that doesn’t seem to be outside the realm of possibility. While it would be very odd if it was the only mini-LED device Apple plans to debut this fall, it’s probably not — there’s every reason to believe it will debut alongside new screen technology all around.
For one, it’s basically a sure thing that the iPhone 13 Pro will finally be gaining the 120Hz LTPO display that didn’t make the cut last year. We’re also expecting new mini-LED MacBook Pro models in redesigned 14-inch and 16-inch versions, and Apple is reportedly already planning to deliver mini-LED on the 11-inch iPad Pro, which could even come as a minor refresh alongside the new “iPad mini 6” later this year.