Plenty of people are waiting to see if Apple will launch an iPad mini 5 or "iPad Pro Mini" in alongside the iPad Pro 2 soon. Here's what the rumours say about the 2017 iPad mini release date, price and specs.
Earlier this year, the rumour-mill suggested that Apple would hold a Spring Event in March or early April. However, both months came and went with no events at all.
Apple did launch a new iPad to replace the iPad Air, alongside a new Red iPhone 7, plus more storage in the entry-level iPad mini 4. Rather than holding an event to do so, the company simply took its website offline for several hours on 21 March, and when it came back online the new products were there. You can find out more here.
So that means we're still waiting for a smaller iPad Pro or an iPad mini 5, which ever Apple decides to launch. We're talking about a new iPad with a 7.9in screen, which is the size of the current iPad mini 4's display.
When is the iPad Pro mini release date?
iPad mini 5 / iPad Pro mini UK release date: June 2017 (rumoured)
On 9 September 2015 Apple unveiled its iPad mini 4. This was a month earlier than usual, and with no separate iPad launch event scheduled for October it appeared alongside the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
Apple then shook things up a bit in 2016. It had one launch event in March, the WWDC developers conference in June, a second launch event in September, and a third in October.
It didn't announce an iPad Pro mini during any of these events, which meant the next most likely release date was March 2017.
But, as mentioned above, March saw the iPad mini 4 get a small storage boost, but no actual update for fans of the smaller tablet. Which means it's now been more than a year and a half since the tablet got a proper update.
One explanation is that - as reported by DigiTimes - the 2017 iPads will be delayed to the second half of the year as the components are still at a planning stage. The source doesn't mention anything smaller than 9.7in which doesn't bode well.
It's not the only rumour that suggests the iPad mini series is being quietly phased out, as a BGR source close to Apple claims that it's the end of the road for the 7.9in tablet.
The source didn't go into any detail about when this might happen though, so it could be more of a long-term plan than something we'll see happen in 2017.
The latest figures from IDC show that Apple hasn't had a great start to 2017 where tablets are concerned, with 11.5 percent fewer iPad sales than last Jan-Mar 2016. Part of that could be down to poor sales of the iPad mini.
Other reports suggest that Apple is working on four new iPad Pro models: 7.9-in, 9.7-in, 10.5-in and 12.9-in models.
We'd argue that the 7.9in screen is too small for productivity (or an even smaller keyboard cover) and that Apple will keep the 'Pro' suffix for the 9.7in and 12.9in models.
Plus, to bolster this train of thought, that new 10.5in iPad is predicted for 2017, and this is much more likely to be added to the Pro line-up rather than a dinky iPad mini. Also see: Best tablet 2017.
How much will the iPad Pro mini cost in the UK?
Apple tends to keep the price of its iPad mini line-up the same, reducing the price of its previous-generation mini when the new model goes on sale.
So if Apple has managed to keep all leaks under control and surprises us with a launch in late March, then based on 2015’s iPad mini 4 pricing, we can expect an iPad mini 5 to be priced as follows:
• 128GB Wi-Fi: £419
• 128GB Wi-Fi + 4G: £549
We could see a 256GB model, too. We expect that would cost around £499, or £599 with the additional 4G.
What will the new iPad mini be called?
What will the iPad Pro mini look like?
Apple is rumoured to be using Series 7000 aluminium for all new iPads. This is the same stuff it uses for the iPhone 6S and 7, which is stiffer and lighter than the lower grade aluminium used in other products.
The iPad mini 5 is more than likely going to look very familiar to the iPad mini 4, with the same 7.9in Retina display. However, it’s tipped to feature a 7000-series aluminium chassis, which will make it more durable. That’s handy, since it’s also rumoured to be thinner than its predecessor: just 5mm thick.
Also expect Apple to introduce a Rose Gold colour option, as it has done elsewhere in its hardware line-up.
What are the rumoured features?
• 3D Touch: Apple introduced 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and it’s expected to make its way to the iPad mini line in 2016. 3D Touch is able to register how much pressure is applied to the screen and offer differing options as a result.
• IP68 protection: After the iPhone 7 launch, the possibility of having a water-resistant iPad isn't too far-fetched. We’d love to see IP68 certification in an iPad, but we can’t avoid the feeling this tip may be just wishful thinking.
• Apple Pencil: Should Apple decide to introduce an iPad Pro mini rather than an iPad mini 5, the new iPad mini will more than likely feature Apple’s posh new stylus. Rumours suggest Apple will indeed launch the Apple Pencil 2 this year, but whether it's with a smaller iPad or not remains to be seen - a new 12.9in iPad Pro is the tip.
What are the rumoured specifications?
• Processor: The iPad mini 4 features the Apple A8 processor and M8 motion co-processor, so expect to see the A9 and M9 in the iPad mini 5.
• 128GB storage as standard: The iPad mini 4 was initially offered in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB variants. It can now only be found in 128GB storage size.
• Screen: We doubt Apple will upgrade the screen resolution, because doing so would go against all it said previously about the Retina display. As before expect a 7.9in Retina IPS display, but here with the possible addition of 3D Touch.
• Battery: According to Cult of Mac the iPad mini 5 will feature a smaller-capacity battery in order to fit into 5mm frame, but using improved technology so it doesn’t negatively impact runtime. The iPad mini 4 features a 5,124mAh battery.
• Cameras: No changes are expected here. The new iPad mini will likely feature an 8Mp camera at the rear and 1.2Mp at the front.
• No headphone port: The iPhone 7 ditched the standard 3.5mm headphone jack in favour of the lightning port. As the iPhone has lost the headphone connector, it's a possibility that the new iPad mini will do so also.
• NFC: Although it is possible to use Apple Pay on the iPad mini, doing so isn’t seamless because it doesn’t support NFC. Apple has bitten the bullet with the iPhone; expect it to do the same with the iPad mini.
• Aluminium chassis: We anticipate the new iPad mini 5 to be protected with an aluminium body. More specifically, the 7000-series aluminium chassis allowing the iPad to be thinner and more durable.
Other specs, such as the TouchID fingerprint scanner, are likely to remain the same.