Don’t expect a major redesign for this year’s iPad mini 5

iPad mini
The new iPad mini could just just like the old one.
Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

The iPad mini hasn’t gotten a sequel since 2015. However, if you’re expecting this year’s rumored refresh to be a massive leap forward, you might want to think again.

At least, that’s based on an alleged CAD render shared by noted leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer, a.k.a. @OnLeaks. While he hasn’t shared the image, he suggests that there are no external major design changes — and only a spec bump update.

“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),” he writes in a tweet. “In short, it will very likely be a specs bump only update…”

That’s not 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 industrial design, such as chamfered edges. (Which the iPhone had already moved beyond in its design language.) A spec only update would now look even more outdated in the era of the all-screen iPad Pro.

With that said, a similar criticism could be made of the much loved iPhone SE. That phone 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.

Not the first time

This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard that the iPad mini 5 might not be a major upgrade. Japanese blog Macotakara previously reported the iPad mini 5 will look almost identical to the iPad mini 4. That means the same Touch ID, Lightning connector, and 3.5mm headphone jack as its predecessor.

Under-the-hood enhancements are likely to include an A10 process. It’s not clear whether this will be the powerful A10X Fusion chip which powered the 2017 iPad Pro.

Would a minor spec-only iPad mini update appeal to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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