Apple Will Reportedly Launch iPad Mini 5 and Entry-Level 10-inch iPad Next Year
Apple is preparing to launch a new fifth-generation iPad mini in the first half of 2019, according to sources in the Apple supply chain cited by the China Times, followed by a new entry-level iPad in two versions.
The report, first spotted by Japanese blog Mac Otakara, claims that Apple is preparing to launch a low-priced so-called iPad mini 5 in the first half of next year in an attempt to halt a general decline in iPad sales, with mass production expected to start by the end of December.
Apple hasn't updated its smallest iPad since September 2015, but the device did receive a price cut in March 2017, with a 128GB capacity model costing $399.
Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed in October that Apple is working on a new version of the iPad mini with an upgraded processor and a lower-cost display panel, with the device being launched in 2018 or early next year.
Notably, Kuo's prediction came two months after DigiTimes said it did not believe Apple plans to introduce an updated iPad mini, and in fact has "no further plan" for the smaller tablet.
As for Apple's entry-level iPad, today's report claims that next year Apple will replace its sixth-generation 9.7-inch iPad with a similarly priced model that features a 10-inch display within a narrower frame.
Following strong sales of the 2017 model, Apple is said to be launching two low-priced versions of the iPad in 2019 to boost sales growth. A more exact timeframe for launch was not given beyond the "second half" of 2019. Apple's 9.7-inch iPad was last updated in March 2018 and in the same month the year before that.
Apple's 9.7-inch iPad is thicker, heavier, and has fewer features than iPad Pro models, but it does support Apple Pencil and is also Apple's most affordable tablet, starting at $329.
Today's report goes on to say Apple plans to reduce production costs of the two iPads by reducing the amount to LED procurement in Japan and switching to Korean-made LED displays.