Even though it looks like the enhanced iPad Pro with a Mini-LED screen has been bumped to next year due to the impact of COVID-19, we have fresh rumors of another new Apple tablet coming in 2021. There have already been rumblings about a new iPad Air coming in late Summer or Fall, but according to Ming-Chi Quo, we should also expect a new iPad in the second half of this year. Well, maybe.
In his latest investor’s note, Kuo says this new device will have an increased screen size of 10.8″. It seems a little odd that the iPad’s screen size would grow two years in a row, but if this can be done simply by slimming the bezels down more, then it makes perfect sense. The gradual upward trend in iPad sizes is a thing for a reason.
But that brings up a different question- which iPad is Kuo referring to here? Is it the iPad or the iPad Air? 10.8″ would represent an increase in size for either device, but there aren’t enough other details here to pin down which it is. The report also doesn’t mention any of the other points in the previous Air rumors. The iPad was just upgraded last year and the Air has already been mentioned, but who knows.
If this does turn out to be the iPad, then it will mean that Apple has changed one bit of strategy that they’ve held to since it was re-introduced in 2017. That is when they took their base model tablet in more of a value direction. Since then, Apple has stuck to using older A-Series processors in the iPad as a cost reduction concession.
According to AppleInsider, Kuo mentioned the product strategy of the iPhone SE in this investor’s note, which could indicate that this rumor refers to the iPad. The SE uses the Apple’s latest chip, the A13, even though it has a value price and lesser build and external specs. Maybe this means Apple will be taking the base-model iPad in this direction, as well. If they do and keep the base price at $329 or similar, it would be a spectacular value. It would also give the iPad a longer runway of iPadOS support.
Needless to say, I’m all for this iPad rumor. However, I’m not as sure about the iPad Mini details included in the same report. Kuo says a new Mini with a 8.5 to 9″ screen will be coming in the first half of next year. It good news to hear about another upgrade to Apple’s smallest tablet, but the larger size has me a little worried.
If there is one thing I know about fans of the iPad Mini, it’s that they like the current hardware size exactly as it is. I used to hear from them often a couple of years ago when I was predicting that the Mini was all but dead and would likely be phased out by Apple. The tablet’s 7.9″ size has a dedicated fan base that let me know in no uncertain terms that they wanted an updated device in that same compact size. That size is exactly what they love about it, even as most smartphones have intruded on it. I ended up happy to be wrong and even happier that these fans got exactly what they asked for last year.
If Apple can keep the same device footprint by narrowing the bezels, then that’s perfect. It would be a solid improvement to what is a dated, if not lovably familiar design. However, if they have to make the device larger to get to a 9″ screen, then I’m not in agreement. Again, the people who love this device love that compact size and I just don’t see a reason to mess up a good thing here. Let the other iPads get a little bigger, but leave this one where it is, at least as far as the overall footprint goes.
There are several months to go before we reportedly see this iPad Mini. However, if things work out like I expect, we will have a new iPad and iPad Air that both have significant upgrades coming later this year. Between the iPad Pros, full trackpad support and Magic Keyboard that we’ve already gotten and whatever is coming in iPadOS 14 and these new iPads, that’s a really big year for Apple’s tablets with lots to still look forward to.