Apple is reportedly planning to come up with two new devices in the first half of this year. According to a report from DigiTimes, the two new devices would be the iPad mini 5 and iPad 7.
New entry-level iPads – are they really coming?
DigiTimes, citing industry sources, claims that Apple would launch two entry-level tablets in the first half of this year. The two new iPads would be a fifth-generation iPad mini and a new entry-level iPad.
If what DigiTimes says is true, then it will be the first addition to the iPad mini line since the launch of the iPad mini 4 in 2015. The entry-level iPad – presumably the iPad 7 – could succeed last year’s 6th-generation iPad, which sells for $329.
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DigiTimes shared no more details on the devices, the specifications, release date or price. However, the report did note that Taiwanese display makers General Interface Solution (GIS) and TPK Holding have been contracted for the new iPad models.
A fact that gives credence to the DigiTimes report is that historically Apple has updated its iPad line in March or April. Apple launched the 9.7 inch iPad on March 24, 2017, while the 2018 edition was launched on March 27, 2018. Apple usually holds a full press event to launch new iPad models, like it did in 2015, 2016 and 2018. But, if there is a minor update, like the one in 2017, Apple may just give a press release.
The DigiTimes report is not the first time that we are hearing about Apple launching new iPad models. In October last year, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo noted that the company would launch a new iPad mini model in late 2018 or early 2019. And, in December, a report from China Times claimed that Apple would launch two low-cost iPad models in 2019. Recently, an iPad mini 5 case also surfaced online. The case features a vertical camera cutout, hinting a camera setup similar to the iPad Pro.
Since the new models would be entry-level, they are unlikely to get advanced features, like Apple’s Face ID, which is present on current iPad Pro models. Both the new models, however, would appeal to users who don’t want to spend over $700 on a tablet, but want an Apple-branded product.
iPad mini 5 – what to expect?
Apple originally introduced the iPad mini in 2012 as the company’s most affordable and compact tablets. The tablet came with a 7.9-inch screen with a $329 price tag. Later, the price was dropped to $299.
Apple debuted the iPad mini 4 in September 2015 with a 7.9-inch 2048×1536 pixels display and second-gen A8 SoC. Since then, Apple hasn’t updated the lineup, but in 2017 gave the 128GB model a price cut.
Talking of the iPad mini 5, rumors are that the device could get a vertically stacked dual camera setup and a headphone jack as well. Also, the new model could come with an upgraded processor and an affordable display panel. There is no information on the price, but it can be expected to cost less than the 2018 iPad 9.7 inch, which starts at $329.
In terms of design, the iPad mini 5 is expected to be not much different from the mini 4. Apple, however, could make it slimmer and lighter than the last version. The iPad mini 4 was 6.1 mm thick and the new model could get reduced to 5mm.
Moreover, considering it to be an entry-level model, the iPad mini 5 could retain the home button, large bezels and Touch ID. Apple removed all these things from the iPad Pro 11-inch.
iPad 7 – what to expect?
In recent years, Apple has focused more on the entry-level 9.7-inch iPad, which has received regular updates over the years. The entry level iPad starts at $329, while the iPad mini 4 in higher storage variants currently sells for $399. Last year, Apple updated the iPad 6 with a faster processor along with support for the Apple Pencil.
Talking of the iPad 7, rumors are that it could feature a 10-inch display with a narrower frame and possibly a bezel-less design. A bezel-less design would mean no Touch ID. But, since it will be an entry-level model, Apple may add a fingerprint sensor, instead of the costly Face ID.
Further, the 2019 iPad is expected to be thicker than the iPad Pro and support Apple’s latest pencil. To boost the performance, Apple may include the A11 Bionic processor.