Don’t expect a major redesign for this year’s iPad mini 5

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iPad mini
The new iPad mini could just just like the old one.
Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

The iPad mini hasn’t gotten a sequel since 2015. However, if you’re expecting this year’s rumored refresh to be a massive leap forward, you might want to think again.

At least that’s the take based on an alleged CAD render seen by noted leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer, aka @OnLeaks. While he did not share the image, he suggests the supposed leak indicates the next-gen iPad mini will not see any major external design changes. iPad mini lovers — brace yourself for a simple spec bump.

“If legit (can’t vouch at 100%), there is indeed (just as rumored) no external design changes (except of relocated mic, centered on upper back panel),” Hemmerstoffer writes in a tweet. “In short, it will very likely be a specs bump only update.”

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since the iPad mini 4 is a pretty great tablet in its own right. However, even at the time of its release, some reviewers criticized aspects of its industrial design, such as chamfered edges. (The iPhone design language already had moved beyond those by that point.) A spec-only update now would look even more outdated in the era of the all-screen iPad Pro.

With that said, a similar criticism could be made of the much-loved iPhone SE. That phone recycled the iPhone 5 design, but added up-to-date internals. If Apple can price the iPad mini 5 reasonably low, it could be a worthy release.

iPad mini 5 design: Not the first time

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that the iPad mini 5 might not be a major upgrade. Japanese blog Macotakara previously reported that the iPad mini 5 will look almost identical to the iPad mini 4. That means the same Touch ID, Lightning connector and 3.5mm headphone jack as its predecessor.

Under-the-hood enhancements are likely to include an A10 processor. It’s not clear whether this will be the powerful A10X Fusion chip that powers the 2017 iPad Pro.

Would a minor, spec-only iPad mini update appeal to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.