avatarby Jonathan FeistNovember 11, 20163 comments

iPadMini4 Display1

With School upon us, and the holidays not far behind, we’re ready to start thinking about new iPad models. Unlike the iPad Air 3 rumors of a Spring 2017 launch, we are more optimistic for a 2016 launch of an iPad mini 5. Let’s take a look.

Update November 2016: our hopes and expectations were dashed this fall, the iPad mini 5 was not announced, not even teased, and so we return to rumors and a new expectation for Spring 2017.

What’s new?

Keeping in mind we are working off of rumors, past history and pure speculation here, but we have some exciting stuff to talk about, the iPad mini 5 could be pretty great. That is, we may not see a mini 5, we might be in line for a mini Pro.

As with the iPad Air 3 rumors, Apple has some important decisions to make here. They could launch an improved mini tablet with familiar design, they could create a second mini line in the Pro setup, or just go Pro and scrap the numeric stream we’ve become used to. No matter which, we’re looking forward to the new tablet.

iPad Mini 2 3 4 tt buttons camera

Starting on the outside, we’re expecting a slimmer build, not that the previous were all that thick, but Apple has this new aluminum in the works that promises more stability for the size, resulting in a slimmer and possibly lighter tablet.

We’re not entirely sure the validity of the rumor that the iPad mini 5 will come equipped with the same input and external keyboard docking capabilities as the Pro tablets, but this is certainly an intriguing approach. As mentioned, regardless if there is to be two mini tablet streams, the normal and Pro offerings, we’d hope that the next mini tablet get more attention than the mini 4 received. We like the mini 4, but it was a rather boring update to the mini 3 before it.

With an iPad Pro mini in mind, we’re hoping to see at least the A9 chipset, if not the A9X. If the Pro mini is to be complemented by the Mini 5, we may even see the A9 in the mini 5 and the newer A10 in the Pro mini.

Update November 2016: with the extra time in development, we now fully expect the latest Apple A10 chipset, and if there is to be a Pro offering, perhaps a new A10X or similar update will be produced by the time March 2017 rolls around.

Related reading: Apple’s A10 Fusion chip vs the competition

We are not expecting to see a force-touch display on the iPad mini 5, but it would be a welcome treat. This goes as well for an NFC chip, so to work with Apple Pay, and an updated camera to the 12MP sensor. Expect the normal panel, maybe updated with True Tone, no NFC and the 8MP camera sensor.

iPad Mini 2 3 4 Headphone jack

Finally, we’re stretching a bit here, but it is possible that the iPad mini 4 will do away with the headphone jack. It has been rumored for a while now that Apple might remove the headphone jack from the newest iPhones, requiring Bluetooth or an adapter to connect to your headphones. We understand that this helps produce a slimmer device, but as much as we look forward to new and exciting uses for existing ports, we cannot deny we’re hoping the headphone jack lives on.

Without a doubt, iOS 10 will be the OS of choice here as well.

Let’s round that up in a quick list:

  • Apple A9 or A9X chipset A10 or A10X
  • Same 8MP camera
  • No NFC
  • No headphone jack
  • Harder aluminum for a slimmer design
  • iOS 10

When can we buy the iPad mini 5?

It is our expectation that the iPad mini 5 should hit the market almost exactly as the iPad mini 4 did last year. With an announcement in September and release just a few days later.

Update: We were wrong. As it turns out, wishful thinking is not enough to make something a reality, the iPad mini 5 did not land in the fall of 2016. A March 2017 announcement and release shortly after is the likeliest scenario at this stage of the game.

Available sizing is only speculative at this point, but we are expecting 32GB to be the new minimum with 64GB and 128GB models available. We do not think Apple will release a 256GB iPad mini 5, unless they go full Pro tablet, then the space makes sense.

iPad Pro vs iPad Pro 9.7


Rumor-ville leaves us wanting on this one. Apple usually launches the mini line for $499, and we have no reason to expect otherwise this year. It certainly behooves Apple to consider a lower price on the iPad mini 5 if a Pro mini is also in the works, but we are sort of doubting this approach.

Perhaps the best part of this is the anticipated price reduction of the iPad mini 4. Although it is possible that the mini 4 be removed from circulation, as the mini 3 was last year. We think it is time to retire the mini 2, which is still up for sale at Apple.

Related: iPad mini 4 vs iPad mini 3

Wrap up

If we are in luck, if the iPad mini 5 truly is less than a month away, there will be plenty more to say, but, perhaps, very few updates coming to this post. Don’t worry, you’ll either see this post again with fun new inclusions, or you’ll see our coverage of the new and improved iPad mini 5, either way, we’re pretty excited.

What do you say, should Apple keep the iPad mini 5 as an iterative update, or are we in line for another Pro tablet?

  • Josh Larson

    Doesn’t the mini usually start at $399?

  • Chris BSomething

    I think there’ll be a smart connector if for no other reason that it allows them to upsell a lot of keyboard covers.

  • Kurt

    They shouldnt remove the headphone jack on their ipads, its very useful on bigger screens.