It looks like the iPad mini 5 won’t be the most exciting update in terms of looks.
Following in the footsteps of a 2015-released iPad mini 4 that’s still for sale at $529 CAD with 128GB storage space, a new 7.9-inch “iPad mini 5” is widely expected to see daylight this spring alongside a seventh-generation “standard” iPad possibly sporting a larger 10.5-inch screen.
In line with what Japanese blog Macotakara learned from unnamed accessories manufacturers, serial leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer, aka @OnLeaks, has reason to believe the slate’s rear-mounted microphone will be moved to a centred position — and that’s pretty much it in terms of visual alterations.
Just got my hands on alleged #iPadMini5 CAD. If legit (can’t vouch at 100%), there is indeed (just as rumored) no external design changes (except of relocated mic, centered on upper back panel). In short, it will very likely be a specs bump only update… pic.twitter.com/z5XuBKZVmN
— Steve H.McFly (@OnLeaks) February 19, 2019
The same design language means the iPad mini 5 is going to come with large top and bottom bezels which will make it look outdated in front of the iPad Pro and refreshed iPad lineup. On the plus side, it also means that it will have a 3.5mm headphone jack and Touch ID along with a Lightning connector.
Additionally, details found in an iOS developer beta could hint that Apple’s new iPad mini will feature support for the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. Rumours suggest that both a new iPad mini 5 and an updated iPad will launch in early 2019, and signs of them have emerged in both iOS 12.2 and through registration with the Eurasian Economic Commission.
Retaining the same design isn’t necessarily a bad thing since the iPad mini 4 was a pretty great tablet in its own right. However, even at the time of its release, some reviewers criticized aspects of its design, such as its chamfered edges.
A spec only update would now look even more outdated in the era of the updated all-screen iPad Pro.
A similar criticism could be made of the much loved iPhone SE, as it recycled the iPhone 5’s design but added up-to-date internals. If the iPad mini 5 can be priced reasonably, there’s no reason that this couldn’t be a worthy release for Apple.