A new note by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims Apple is working on two new iPads: a 10.8-inch iPad and an 8.5 to 9-inch iPad mini. According to Kuo, these two devices will be similar to Apple’s recently launched iPhone SE, in the sense that they’ll have new, fast chips combined with an affordable price point.
There are no other specific details about the upcoming iPads, but the screen sizes are a pretty big deal, because the current low-cost iPad has a 10.2-inch display, while the iPad mini has (and has always had) a 7.9-inch display. This could mean that Apple will make the bezels around the screens smaller, perhaps as small as those on the iPad Pro.
If it turns out to be the case, that will be a big improvement for the iPad mini, whose form factor hasn’t really changed since the original one launched in 2012. I’ve written, at length, why I consider the iPad mini to be the best iPad, but here’s a summary: it’s practical, light, portable, it’s the perfect size for reading books and it’s fairly cheap. With a refreshed design and smaller bezels, it would be even better.
As for the 10.2-inch iPad, getting a bigger display wouldn’t hurt either, though I don’t think it would be as big of a deal as it is on the iPad mini.
There’s a couple of caveats here. First, just two months ago Kuo said that Apple is working on a new iPad mini, and he specifically said it would have a 7.9-inch display. Let’s hope he was talking about a different model, or was wrong.
There’s also the possibility that Apple goes the opposite way — instead of making the new iPads’ bezels smaller, it could make these devices slightly bigger to accommodate the larger displays. For the iPad, it wouldn’t matter much, but for the iPad mini it would be a disaster, because its portability and practicality is sort of its entire point.