After going several years without updates, Apple’s iPad mini 4 was finally rumored late last year to have a sequel under development, and a new report offers a release window for both the small tablet and a new version of the entry-level iPad: the first half of 2019.
The dates come from manufacturing publication DigiTimes, citing Taiwanese supply chain sources. Apple is said to be planning “a fifth-generation iPad mini and another entry-level iPad model,” which are expected to use touch panels provided by Taiwan’s General Interface Solution and TPK Holding, as well as China’s O-film Technology — assuming, of course, that there’s no disruption from an increase in U.S.-China trade tensions.
Apple’s iPad mini series originally debuted as the company’s most affordable and compact tablets, initially featuring 7.9-inch screens and a $329 price point that later fell to $299. iPad minis were top picks for kids and the closest thing to a “phablet” Apple offered without its standard Phone app.
But in recent years, Apple has focused more of its development and marketing attention on the entry-level 9.7-inch iPad. That model has seen regular updates to fifth- and sixth-generation versions, starting at $329, while the iPad mini 4 is currently sold only in higher-capacity versions that start at $399. Last year’s sixth-generation iPad bumped the CPU to a faster processor and added Apple Pencil support without changing the chassis or other major features.
It remains to be seen whether the new models debut together or separately. Apple has previously updated the entry-level iPad in March, leaving either the same event, a separate event, a press release, or 2019’s Worldwide Developers Conference as options for the iPad mini 5 release.