Rumors indicate that Apple will launch updated versions of the iPad mini and iPad Pro models in the first half of this year, probably as soon as this month, and a new leak today has given us a possible preview of what can be expected in terms of the overall design of the devices. And the camera.
Leaker Sonny Dickson shared photos on Twitter showing "dummy" versions of the upcoming 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, and the updated iPad mini 6. Models are typically based on CAD diagrams sourced from the Chinese supply chain, and are often used prior to official disclosure.
The biggest point of interest is the design of the iPad mini, which appears to have the same overall design as the previous model, with the Home button and thick edges on the top and bottom, although Dickson suggests it appears slightly thicker.
Analyst Kuo believes that Apple will launch a new iPad mini, measuring 8.5 inches to 9 inches, and Mark Gorman of Bloomberg said that the upcoming iPad mini will have a bigger screen. However, whether the increased screen will imply a larger size or the reduction of the bezel remains blurred, and it is difficult to determine the exact size by looking at the images.
Japan's Mac Otakara has claimed that the iPad mini 6 will have an 8.4-inch screen with thinner bezels and a similar design to the iPad Air 3. But it also claims that the new model will come with the main Touch ID button and a Lightning port. Therefore, it is not expected to bring major design changes like those seen on the iPad Air and iPad Pro.
Kuo believes that Apple is working on a new iPad mini with a mini-LED screen, which could be the same as the iPad mini. It is not clear if this is the same iPad mini shown in these photos.
On the iPad Pro bodies, it appears that the newer models have the same dual-lens camera system with a LiDAR scanner. The camera bump on the 12.9-inch model appears to appear less than the 11-inch model, as indicated by several rumors.
Meanwhile, the lower bezel designs appear to resemble current models, and obscure the mysteriously missing smart connector at the bottom of the 12.9-inch model. Dickson emphasized that the connector does not appear anywhere else on the imaged structures, and it is difficult to know if its concealment was intentional or wrong. Other than that, it's hard to tell the exact screen sizes and dimensions of the iPad Pro models from the pictures, but no major design changes are to be expected.
Gurman said the new iPad Pro models will feature an updated A14X processor on par with the M1 chip in the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini, along with better cameras. A mini-LED screen will be included with the larger, at least 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with a screen upgrade resulting in improved brightness and contrast ratios. This is in line with other rumors we've heard, and most of the information indicates that the upgraded screen technology will be limited to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
Apple has also reportedly tested iPad Pro devices with a Thunderbolt connector that will make them compatible with additional external displays, hard drives, and peripherals, as well as provide faster data sync speeds, but it is unclear if the feature will be included in the final 2021 models . Macs have been featuring Thunderbolt technology for years now, but current iPad Pro and iPad Air models have standard USB-C ports.
We are still waiting to hear specific details about a possible event in April, but Gurman claimed that the company plans to announce new iPads early this month, including the new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models. Whether it launches via a press release or is announced in a digital-only event, it remains for us to wait.