OPINION: Apple is set to kick off a busy few months of big launches on Tuesday (September 14) with the iPhone 13 and Apple Watch 7 set to take centre stage.
A new iPhone is always big news – even if the rumours point to a modest upgrade – but I can’t help but feel more excited about rumblings suggesting one of my favourite Apple devices ever is getting a much-needed second chance.
The rumours of a redesigned, possibly iPad Pro-inspired, iPad Mini refresh have been ticking along for what feels like two years now. There’s been talk of a modern design overhaul. the same Mini LED panel from the excellent iPad Pro 12.9-inch and support for the newer accessories the pricier tablets all use. All of these rumours have gotten me ready to hit that ‘pre-order’ button when (and, of course, if) the iPad Mini 6 turns out to be a real product.
The iPad Mini was the first tablet I ever bought and it still brings back very fond memories. The size was perfect, the build was excellent and it slipped easily into even the smallest bag. I have great memories of other small tablets of the time, like the Nexus 7 for similar reasons.
It’s fair to say the iPad Mini, and smaller tablets in general, have languished as phones have gotten bigger. The iPad Mini has never really bagged itself a proper redesign and the most recent upgrade, which happened in 2019, was barely more than a processor bump. I loved the iPad Mini 5 at the time, but even then it felt in need of modernisation and it’s hard to recommend it to anyone now.
These rumoured upgrades could give fans of smaller tablets a truly new device to get excited and one that feels like a ‘pro’ device. I’d even like to think if it proves popular then we might see Android manufacturers like Samsung give the smaller tablet form-factor another chance. A tablet with similar specs to the excellent Galaxy Tab S7 Plus but with a screen that measures 9-inches could very well be the ultimate notebook.
I often hear the argument that with phones now much bigger, the smaller tablet is dead. This just makes no sense to me, as even with the 6.7-inch displays on the biggest iPhone the actual amount of screen can’t be compared to an iPad Mini. I couldn’t even begin to read books or magazines on an iPhone screen, but they fit perfectly onto the squarer iPad canvas. It’s a similar story for games – I just much prefer the iPad display to the iPhone’s for these.
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There are still a lot of unknowns about this iPad Mini and we’ll likely have to wait until later on in September or October for it to actually be revealed. I’m particularly interested in the price, as features like the Mini LED panel don’t come cheap and would likely ensure this costs the same (if not more) than the £579 iPad Air 2019. If that’s the case, it’ll likely remain a niche product.
But I just can’t help getting excited by a truly powerful, miniature iPad and I really do hope Apple delivers. It’ll be the icing on the cake if we then see some Android competition.
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