Hey Apple, where's the iPad mini 6?

iPad mini 5
iPad mini 5 (Image credit: iMore)

The Apple 'Spring loaded' event has come and gone. We got a slew of new products: AirTags, iPad Pro (2021), Apple TV 4K with an updated Siri Remote, colorful new iMacs, and some updated services like Podcasts Subscriptions. Most of this stuff was expected, especially the AirTags and iPad Pros.

Still, some rumors were floating around earlier in the year that we should expect a new iPad mini in 2021. But with an Apple event now in the rearview, there is still no sign of an updated iPad mini, which was last updated in March 2019 — that's over two years at this point.

So Apple, where is the iPad mini 6?

Why iPad mini?

iPad mini 5 hero

iPad mini 5 hero (Image credit: Rene Ritchie/iMore)

Apple's current updated iPad lineup is diverse and pretty much covers all the bases. The 8th-generation iPad is a great entry-level device with a spacious 10.2-inch display, and it still retains the Home button for those who don't want to switch over to Face ID just yet. The iPad Air 4 is what we call the best iPad for most people because it offers a great balance of power and features for a reasonable price. And for the heavy-hitters, there are two sizes of iPad Pros, which just got even more powerful thanks to the new M1 chip in the refresh.

But who is the iPad mini for?

Well, for one, it's a great size for kids. The last iPad mini 5 still has the 7.9-inch screen that the iPad mini is known for, and this size is perfect for the smaller hands of children. It's also incredibly light and portable, and with a max storage capacity of 256GB, it can hold plenty of games and videos to keep kids busy. So if you want your kid to have some entertainment while you're out waiting for dinner, it's easier to carry the iPad mini — plus, you can still use your iPhone.

And I've always loved the size of the iPad mini for reading eBooks (I have an iPad mini 4 around here). Because it's so much smaller and lighter than the other iPads, it's way easier to carry and hold — you shouldn't experience fatigue in your wrists while holding it up to read (unlike a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, for example). The 7.9-inch size of the iPad mini is a little bigger than a Kindle device, but you get a full-on LED display rather than just an e-paper display. And if you really need to, the iPad mini can do plenty of other things besides eBooks, so you don't need to sacrifice functionality.

It's time for a redesign

Apple has slowly been bringing over the flat-edge design of the iPad Pro to other models of iPad (iPad Air 4), and even other products like the iPhone 12 and new M1 iMacs.

If the iPad mini 6 is going to have a new design, it should have flat edges and no bezels, allowing it to make the most of its limited screen space. After all, a recent rumor about the iPad mini 6 is that it will have an 8.4-inch screen, though it'll keep the Home button for Touch ID. Honestly, Apple should get rid of the Home button, and if they insist on keeping Touch ID on it instead of moving over to Face ID, at least put the Touch ID sensor on the side button like the iPad Air.

Eventually, I believe that the entire iPad lineup will have the same exterior design but just come in different sizes with different internals. The current mix of old and new designs is what I would consider messy, and I want to see a uniform appearance again. Yes, I think even the regular iPad could have those flat edges at some point, too, though I'm not sure if they'll ever remove the Home button for that one.

The iPad mini is outdated

iPad Mini

iPad Mini (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

The iPad mini 5 was introduced back in March 2019 with the A12 Bionic. At the time, this was plenty fast and zippy, and for some, it still is. But now that we have iPad Pros with M1 chips inside them, the A12 is just a little...dated, to say the least. And while the 8th-generation iPad (2020) saw the addition of an A12, it's still an entry-level iPad using an older chip — even the iPad mini 5 had the A12 before the iPad. It's time for the iPad mini to get a much-needed spec bump.

Now, I'm not expecting M1 chips to go into the next iPad mini (though that would be awesome). Apple could put at least an A14 chip in the iPad mini 6, or whatever the next A-series chip will be called.

While I don't encourage using an iPad for taking pictures in most situations, the iPad mini 5 still uses an 8MP Wide camera. This is the same spec as the iPad mini 4 before it, which was released in 2015. So technically, the iPad mini 5 is using a camera that is six years old at this point — it's heavily outdated. And with the latest iPad Pro models going with a 12MP front-facing camera, the iPad mini's paltry 7MP is just a potato in comparison.

And let's not forget the display — it's still using a standard Retina Display with True Tone. Now, I understand that the 8th-generation iPad (2020) was also released with a regular Retina Display (even without True Tone), but that's understandable since it's an entry-level tablet. However, the iPad mini 5 still costs $70 more than the base level iPad, and it has a smaller display that is also Retina, so no Liquid Retina like on the iPad Air or iPad Pro. If the iPad mini continues to cost more than the entry-level iPad, then it should at least get a bit of a spec bump, right? I can't be the only one that thinks this.

Are you holding out for an iPad mini 6?

I may not have bought every iPad mini iteration that has come out, but I appreciate having a smaller iPad for certain things. And let's admit it — it's definitely a great size for kids. The iPad mini is often neglected by Apple, as it is normal for a few years to pass between each generation. But with the rest of the iPad lineup becoming more refined, isn't it about time that the small iPad got the same kind of treatment?

What about you? Are you holding out for an iPad mini 6 this year? Let us know in the comments.

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.