The iPad mini 3 was a bit of a disappointment. Barely-upgraded specs, a fingerprint scanner, and some new colour schemes were all that greeted Apple fans when it was announced last year. Really, there has been little reason to go with a mini 3 over the now-cheaper mini 2, unless you want a 64GB or 128GB tab, rather than just 16GB or 32GB.
As we enter the season for Apple leaks, rumours have surfaced that suggest the iPad mini 4 will be basically a slimmed-down iPad Air 2 in terms of hardware. What would this mean?
The big difference between the iPad Air 2 and current iPad mini 3 is in processing power. The larger tab runs on the A8X CPU; the mini 3 rocks an A7 chip.
The A8X reportedly offers 40% more CPU performance and 2.5x the graphics performance of the A7. That’s a significant boost in just one generation.
Not all roses and sunshine
That being said, if the iPad mini 4 does indeed come boasting the specs of an iPad Air 2, it will still be a minor disappointment.
Looking back at a little Apple history, the mini 2 was the total equivalent of its contemporary iPad Air; the same A7 chipset found in the current mini 3 is also in both the original iPad Air and the iPad mini 2.
If the mini 4 was really going to fix the gap, it would be the processing equivalent of the also-upcoming iPad Air 3, and not the Air 2.
Even so, beggars can’t be choosers and at least we’re reportedly getting a significant processing bump this time around, instead of the nothing between the mini 2 and mini 3.
A new look (sort of)
According to @OnLeaks’ Twitter account, Apple’s next-gen compact tablet will be just 6.13mm thick. That’s almost 20% thinner than the current iPad mini 3, and very close to the iPad Air 2.
This is better news than you may think. The iPad mini range is based entirely around portability. This is true for all compact tablets; the thinner and lighter they are, the more-useful they become.
You’d be surprised how much difference a couple of mm can make when you’re cramming an iPad in to your satchel every morning.
As for overall appearance, there’s nothing to suggest that the form factor will see any kind of shake-up, although word on a new paint job is still possibly around the corner.