There’s Some Mixed News About the Coming iPad Mini and 11″ iPad Pro

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Macotakara (via MacRumors) is on a bit of a roll this week. I wrote about their reports on the iPad Pro a couple of days ago, but now we have a fresh article on what they are expecting from the new iPad Mini.

On the good news front, the site expects the screen size of the Mini to increase to 8.4″ from the original 7.9″. That should give it a bit more separation from larger smartphones, including Apple’s own iPhone 12 Pro Max. The other good news is a little more confirmation that the new Mini should be coming soon. They predict March, along with the new iPad Pros. This is the second article this week to predict that, which is good news.

On the less fortunate side, at least in my opinion, Macotakara thinks this iPad Mini upgrade will be more modest than what I was hoping for. While my own prediction of a new Mini patterned after last year’s Air mirrored an older projection from Ming-Chi Kuo, Macotakara believes Apple won’t be going that far in 2021. While the screen will grow a little and the bezels will slim down a bit, they say it will be more like the style of 2019’s iPad Air 3. A few days ago, they also predicted the base model iPad will also take on a similar form.

It will be interesting to see which direction Apple goes here. It makes sense for Apple to give the low end iPad a modest update that will keep the price tag low. The Air moving to the same form factor as the iPad Pros last year also seemed perfectly reasonable. The iPad Mini could really go either way. It’s had the same form factor for nine years, but the internals have tended to be at or near top of the line at the time of release since the 2nd Gen.

I am curious how Apple sees the Mini and its path forward. I have a feeling it will be the more modest version, unfortunately. At least for this year. Maybe we will get the upgrade to the more modern iPad Pro/iPad Air design language in the future, but I think this smaller refresh is all we will see in 2021.

As for the iPad Pro, there is another tidbit from Macotakara that sounds reasonable and may fill in a small gap. Early rumors of the 2021 iPad Pro with miniLED were focused entirely on the 12.9″ model. That begged the question of what would happen to the 11″ version, which I also touched on in my predictions post.

In that article, I wrote about a report from Digitimes that predicted an 11″ iPad Pro with miniLED would be coming along with the 12.9″ version this spring. However, no other details were given. Makotakara’s recent article adds additional information that actually makes a lot of sense if you put a few pieces togather. According to them, an 11″ iPad Pro is coming, but it won’t include miniLED.

This is based on Macotakara’s sourced prediction that the 12.9″ iPad Pro will be slightly thicker than the 2018 and 2020 models. That increase is said to be tied to the addition of miniLED.  This makes sense and actually has some precedence. The iPad 3 increased in both size and weight because of the addition of a Retina Display. They also report that the 11″ Pro will re-use the same frame and keep the same size. If true, that means the new 11″ model won’t have miniLED as predicted by Digitimes.

Why do I think this makes sense? It actually explains why all of the early rumors of miniLED iPad Pros were focused solely on the 12.9″ version. There would be no reason to mention an 11″ version that didn’t include the feature until closer to release. We are now somewhere between a month and a half to two months from that date and here we are getting leaks on an 11″ model. This one could go either way, but again, what Macotakara is saying lines up with previous reporting on the coming iPad Pro.

I’m fairly disappointed with the news on the iPad Mini. I was really hoping for Apple to go all the way with a big upgrade this year. Macotakara isn’t the most reputable of Apple sources, but I can’t help feeling like this prediction will likely turn out to be true. As for the 11″ iPad Pro, I’m just happy that we are now getting reports confirming that it isn’t likely to be replaced by the Air. It may not get miniLED this year, but you can bet it will come at some point in the future. Hardcore fans of this size may be disappointed in the short term, but I have a feeling they will get their good news next year if that’s the case.

James Rogers

I am a Christian husband and father of 3 living in the Southeastern US. I have worked as a programmer and project manager in the Commercial and Industrial Automation industry for over 19 years, so I am hands on with technology almost every day. However, my passion in technology is for mobile devices, specifically Apple's iOS and iPadOS hardware and software. My favorite is still the iPad.

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