Four new iPad mini 7 features Apple's next tiny tablet needs — and one crippling issue it must fix

iPad mini 6
(Image credit: Future)

Apple’s iPad mini is one of the company’s most iconic products, the tiny tablet becoming the choice of readers, young children, the elderly, and everyone else in between. Yet it’s also often the forgotten child of the iPad family, having only been updated three times since 2015. Apple routinely waits two or three years between new iterations, which means that the iPad mini 6 from 2021 is fast coming into focus as one of Apple’s products that’s ripe for a new version. 

After an entire year’s drought that saw no iPads released in 2023, we’re expecting at least two brand-new iPads to debut in 2024, and possibly even more than that. We’re reportedly just weeks away from a brand new iPad Air 6 and an OLED iPad Pro, and we’ve got a pretty good idea of all the new features coming to both. A little further off, however, is the report that Apple will debut a new entry-level iPad and a new iPad mini 7 in the coming months, possibly before the end of the year. 

The iPad mini 6 was a substantial upgrade to the previous model, with an exciting new design language, Touch ID, 5G, USB-C, a new chip, and more. While we aren’t expecting such a dramatic overhaul this time around, there are several new features we’d really like to see: And one vital fix Apple must deliver if the iPad mini 7 is going to be a success.

Five features we’d like to see in the new iPad mini 7

Thinner bezels

iPad mini 6 and view of TouchID

(Image credit: Adam Oram / iMore)

I’m not hopeful for any sweeping design changes to the iPad mini 7’s chassis. I think Apple’s iPad lineup is in a really good spot when it comes to design language, so I’m not desperate for another shakeup. There is one thing that leaves me wanting, however; the iPad mini 6’s massive bezels. There’s something about the size of the device and the front display configuration that really just makes those bezels ook comically large. I’m sure they’re broadly similar to the iPad 10, but that device’s display is so much larger that the bezels feel like less of an issue. It’s all about the proportions. The iPad mini 6’s bezels look way off, and I’d really like to see them trimmed down — maybe Apple could even borrow some of the fancy rumored bezel tech from the iPhone 16

Face ID 

Apple’s iPad mini 6 features Touch ID built into the device’s top button, so the next logical step would be a face ID sensor for iPad mini 7. Face ID makes a ton of sense for a small, lightweight tablet that does a lot of commuting and moving around. As you pick up your tablet and put it down, take it in and out of your bag or rucksack, and move from room to room in your house, you’re likely locking and unlocking it an awful lot. Face ID would simplify the process, and the tech has been around a sufficiently long time that it should be low cost enough to manage on the cheaper iPad mini.  

Landscape camera 

While I agree that the iPad mini lends itself much more to portrait use than any other iPad thanks to its size and form factor (that’s what makes it the best iPad for reading), a landscape-oriented camera for Face ID and video-conferencing seems like it would make more sense than a portrait camera here. It wouldn’t preclude Face ID, and given that I often find myself picking my iPad up and covering the camera in its normal position anyway, it might make for a more useful position in the long run. More importantly, it would make the iPad mini even better for FaceTime and videoconferencing, and could be a vital complement to the next feature on my wishlist…

A Magic Keyboard 

iPad Air 5 with Magic Keyboard

(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

The fact that there are already so many good keyboards for iPad mini proves that there’s a good market for one of Apple’s coolest (and most expensive) accessories for iPads. It already makes its own superb Magic Keyboard Folio for the iPad 10, and the dazzling Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro M2 and the iPad Air. Heck, even a smart keyboard from an older model would be an improvement. I think a fully-fledged Magic Keyboard would probably be overkill, and certainly too expensive to justify buying. But a Magic Keyboard Folio for iPad mini could turn the 8.3-inch tablet into a tiny typing powerhouse for taking notes in class or just jotting down some ideas. Sure, the keys might be small, and the keyboard a little cramped for users with larger hands, but there are plenty of successful iPad mini keyboards on the market that prove this is a viable option.  

Apple, please fix this

Jelly scrolling

iPad Mini 6

(Image credit: iMore)

All of these wishlist features pale in comparison to the one upgrade the iPad mini desperately needs: A fix for jelly scrolling. Days after the iPad mini launched, a display quirk dubbed “jelly scrolling” quickly became a hot-button issue amongst iPad mini owners. The problem revolves around the iPad mini’s refresh rate. It seems that one side of the iPad mini’s display refreshes quicker than the other. When you scroll up and down on a page, this manifests itself as a wobbly-looking “jelly” phenomenon. It’s a real flaw of an otherwise fantastic tablet. Thankfully, there are rumblings that Apple is looking to address the issue by rotating the display internally. Apple says the issue is normal behavior for LCD displays, but it really soured the iPad mini 6 experience for many — including some on team iMore. The obvious fix would be a move away from LCD toward LED, but this might add too much weight, cost, and power consumption to the iPad mini. However Apple decides to tackle it, I just hope it gets fixed. 

The recipe for success

So there we have it, five ways Apple could improve its iPad mini for 2024. There are other possible upgrades we’ve not mentioned here, the M1 chip being an obvious contender. However, the iPad mini is not slow, and more processing power for what is essentially an e-reader/Kindle alternative isn’t a high priority. Being small and portable, the iPad mini is also the iPad that would most benefit from a camera upgrade, because it’s actually small enough to be useful for taking photos, but this seems unlikely. The latest reports indicate the iPad mini 7 could possibly debut before the end of this year. In the meantime, Apple has a new iPad Pro, an iPad Air, and of course, iPadOS 18 at WWDC 2024 to keep us ticking over. 

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9