Plenty of people are waiting to see if Apple will launch an iPad Pro Mini or iPad mini 5  in March 2017 alongside the iPad Pro 2. Here's what we expect to be announced at Apple's Spring 2017 event.

When will Apple launch the iPad mini 5, you ask. The 7.9in tablet, which could even be called the iPad Pro mini, is purely a rumour right now. Apple didn't launch a 7.9in iPad in 2016, so most rumours suggest one is likely to be unveiled in March 2017. Here we round up all the rumours about the fifth-gen iPad mini, including UK release date, price, new feature and specification rumours. Also see: Best new tablets coming in 2016 and New MacBook Pro.

iPad Pro mini / iPad mini 5 release date rumours: When is the new iPad mini coming out?

iPad mini 5 UK release date: March 2017 (TBC)

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 has shaken 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 mini Pro in any of these events, which means the next most likely release date is March 2017. See also: iPad Air 3 rumours and iPad Pro 2 rumours

But here's the thing: there are no leaks to confirm rumours of a fifth-generation iPad mini. In fact some rumours suggest Apple will discontinue the mini entirely. However, we won't know what's true until the putative iPad launch event.

Well-respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted three new iPads in 2017, but one will have a 9.7in screen, another a 10.1-10.5in screen and a third 12.9in. The latter is the iPad Pro 2, and the former is a new "low-cost" iPad which could end up being the iPad Air 3. He doesn't mention a fourth iPad, or one with a 7.9in screen, so there's every chance there won't be an iPad mini 5.

Rumours of the 'iPhone 8' say it will have an even larger screen than the 5.5in Plus models, so this could another reason why Apple isn't pursuing the 7.9in screen size any more.

 

iPad Pro mini / iPad mini 5 UK price rumours: How much will the new iPad mini cost?

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 March, then based on 2015’s iPad mini 4 pricing, we can expect an iPad mini 5 to be priced as follows:

• 32GB Wi-Fi only: £379
• 32GB Wi-Fi + 4G: £499
• 128GB Wi-Fi: £469
• 128GB Wi-Fi + 4G: £589

We are unlikely to see a 256GB model, given the additional cost for the larger storage iPad, but Apple could - again - surprise us. We might also see a further price increase. We've seen a recent price increase in all of Apple's products, and we wouldn't be surprised to see a further price hike in March 2017.

We also could see a 64GB model - where Apple initially had 16- and 64GB models. We wouldn't be surprised to see the mini 5 feature a 32-, 64- and 128GB variants.

The iPad mini 4 is available - and the iPad mini 5, if it materialises, will be available - direct from Apple, as well as third-party vendors such as John Lewis and Currys.

iPad mini 5, iPad Pro mini or iPad Pro 7.9?

The jury’s still out on whether Apple will introduce a mini model in its Pro iPad line-up. It’s entirely possible - after all, in March we were hopeful for a new iPad Air 3 (the iPad Air 2 was not refreshed last September alongside the iPad mini), and instead we got the iPad Pro 9.7. Perhaps Apple will update its standard and Pro iPads on a biennial basis.

On the other hand, you could argue that the 7.9in screen is too small for productivity (or an even smaller keyboard cover) so it's just as feasible that Apple will keep the 'Pro' suffix for the 9.7in and 12.9in models. Plus, to bolster this train of thought, a 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.

iPad Pro mini / iPad mini 5 design rumours: What will the new iPad 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.

iPad Pro mini / iPad mini 5 new feature rumours: What’s new in the new iPad mini?

• 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.

• iOS 10: We know a new version of Apple’s iPad and iPhone operating system has been released on the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, so any new iPads Apple release will also feature iOS 10.

iPad Pro mini / iPad mini 5 specification rumours: What to expect from the new iPad mini

• 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.

• 32GB storage as standard: The iPad mini 4 was initially offered in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB variants. It can now only be found in 32- and 128GB storage sizes. We expect Apple to make 32GB the base model, with a 64- and 128GB models being both made available.

• 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.

For more new iPad mini rumours check out our sister site Macworld.

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