Everything the iPad Mini Tells Us About the iPad Air 5
The recently launched sixth-generation iPad mini brought a huge upgrade to Apple's smallest tablet, and with 2020's iPad Air starting to show its age, the new iPad mini could give a number of indications about what we can expect from the next-generation iPad Air.
The iPad mini is now very similar to the iPad Air, with both devices featuring squared-off edges, an all-screen design with no Home Button, Liquid Retina displays, 4GB of memory, stereo speakers, and a Touch ID fingerprint scanner built into the top button. As part of this significant upgrade, the iPad mini gained a number of features that actually surpass the iPad Air, suggesting what may be in store for Apple's mid-range iPad.
The iPad mini features the A15 Bionic chip, Apple's latest A-series chip that debuted in the iPhone 13 lineup. While the A15 in the iPad mini is slightly downclocked, it seems highly likely that the next-generation iPad Air will be brought up to spec with the iPad mini and feature an A15 chip.
The A15 chip would bring moderate performance and efficiency improvements to the iPad Air, which currently sports the A14 chip that is also in the iPhone 12 models. The A15 chip enables up to 20 percent better CPU performance and 15 percent better GPU performance compared to the previous-generation A14 chip.
The iPad mini features Center Stage, a feature designed to keep you perfectly framed during video calls. The wide-angle front-facing camera can show more of your surroundings, while the A15 chip works to keep you front and center even as you move around. If more than one person is participating in the call, the camera will zoom out to attempt to keep everyone in view and make sure they're part of the conversation.
Center Stage debuted with the 2021 iPad Pro models, trickling down to the iPad mini and the ninth-generation iPad. The iPad Air is now the only iPad model still on sale without Center Stage, and now that it has come to two cheaper models, it seems almost certain that the next-generation iPad Air will be getting the feature.
The iPad mini comes in a range of color options, including Pink, Starlight, Purple, and Space Gray. Other than Space Gray, these are all-new shades for 2021. The iPad Air, on the other hand, is available in Silver, Space Gray, Rose Gold, Green, and Sky Blue. While Apple's system of colors is currently somewhat fragmented, it seems reasonable to expect the next-generation iPad Air to get a new range of colors to broadly match the iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7, and iPad mini.
While there is not yet any clear rumored timeframe for the launch of the next-generation iPad Air, considering that it is now the oldest iPad in the lineup, an update seems to be on the horizon for 2022.