Japanese blog Macotakara is reporting that Apple’s next-generation iPad mini will be actually a shrunken iPad Air 2. According to the report which is rather short on details, the yet-to-be-announced fourth-generation iPad mini should adopt some of the hallmarks of the second-generation iPad Air hardware such as its slim design, 8MP iSight camera and more.
Specifically, the next iPad mini is said to be just 6.1mm deep, just like the iPad Air 2.
In addition, its iSight camera out the back should go from five megapixels to eight megapixels and presumably inherit other features found on the iPad Air 2, like Burst mode for taking multiple photos in rapid succession, Panorama mode for taking 180-degree panoramic images up to 43 megapixels and what not.
In terms of other enhancements, the device is said to include 802.11ac Wi-Fi, come outfitted with a laminated display with anti-reflective coating for improved viewing experience, run the iPad Air 2’s speedy A8 processor and support iOS 9’s features like split-screen multitasking.
In addition to being just 6.1mm thick, the iPad mini 4 is supposed to retain the same 7.9-inch display like prior models meaning it’ll be just as thin as the iPad Air 2 but considerably smaller.
Macotakara has provided pretty reliable information about Apple’s unreleased products in the past and has generally established itself as one of the more accurate publications when it comes to Apple rumor reporting, but has also been wrong enough times to prompt us to take their reports with a few pinches of salt.
That being said, the notion of borrowing the iPad Air 2 for the next iPad mini sounds logical to me. iPad sales, and especially sales of the iPad mini models, have been in the decline several quarters in a row now.
The current device was refreshed last October but you’d be hard-pressed calling it a refresh given Apple’s just slapped Touch ID on it and added a new gold color option.
That being said, removing key hardware differences between full-sized iPads and mini models would allow customers to make informed purchasing decisions based on the form factor alone.
If history is anything to go by, the new iPad mini should be introduced alongside the third-generation iPad Air and possibly a jumbo-sized ‘iPad Pro’ model in October.
Photo: the current third-generation iPad mini.