Even though I regularly scour the Apple rumour sites for news of a new iPad mini model, I’m truly in love with the one that I have. I just know it can be better.
Given it hasn’t had much love from Apple, at least in terms of updates, why do I love this little iPad so much?
It’s called the ‘Mini’ for a reason, right? I find the iPad Mini is the perfect device to just throw in a bag when I’m heading out. Maybe to bring to a coffee shop, maybe to head into the West End. I don’t intend to do any work, but I’d like a device to read from, watch YouTube or do some email.
Its weight barely registers in whatever bag I’m carrying and it’s a kind of no-brainer when it comes to what I’ll take when I’m leaving home.
The screen size is perfect on a number of fronts. It’s great for reading books via the Kindle App, great for reading comics (I subscribe to Marvel Unlimited, so I basically have a bottomless pit of reading materials there) and as I mentioned above, just right for catching up on YouTube subscriptions.
I adore the fact that the iPad Mini 5 works with the Apple Pencil. This turns it into the perfect notebook / scratchpad. It’s where I love to sketch out ideas for work, for this blog, for anything really. The Apple Pencil makes the iPad Mini a little productivity powerhouse. Or just somewhere to doodle.
I don’t have a long commute, but the iPad Mini’s size and weight make it perfect for that short journey. People around me can’t see what I’m going – it’s still a personal sized device. Believe me, I’ve seen people reading emails on the large iPad Pro on a crowded tube and it’s the opposite of a private experience.
The iPad Mini is easy to hold with a single hand and, of course, works with my AirPods Pro for a superb sound experience. Anything to block out the tinny music escaping from other commuters’ phones.
The perfect second screen
I know it’s the opposite of immersing yourself in a show or movie, but I love using my iPad to look things up while in front of the TV. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s the sheer volume of things I’ve watched in this time, but I need to check actors’ names, previous films etc more and more. The iPad Mini to the rescue! It doesn’t remind me of work, I’m not likely to get sucked into anything else and miss out on any on-screen action. Just dip in, find the information, then dip back out again.
My hopes for the future of the iPad Mini
Given all that love for Apple’s smallest iPad, I still think it could be improved. And yes, I find myself regularly checking the rumour sites for some sniff of a newer model. So far, I haven’t seen anything that really convinces me – but hope springs eternal.
If I had to get specific about my Wishlist, it would contain the following:
1. iPad Pro design
The design of the Mini is looking dated now, so an updated to the body to more resemble the iPad Pro would be excellent. Given the iPhone 12 made this jump in 2020, perhaps we could see it filtering down to the littlest iPad in 2021?
2. Apple Pencil 2 compatibility
While it’s great that the Apple Pencil works with the Mini, the charging situation is an absolute joke. Sticking the pencil into your lightning port makes the iPad Mini all the more difficult to use and it’s not something I’m prepared to do in public! Make the new model compatible with the Apple Pencil 2, so that it charges via a connector on the side. It also means the Pencil is virtually permanently charged up.
3. USB-C connectivity
I see the world as divided between people who still want Apple lightning connections on all their devices and those of us who dream of a USB-C future for everything Apple makes. Making the iPad Mini USB-C compatible just brings it into link with the other models.
4. Improved speakers
While I love listening to podcasts and watching YouTube on the Mini, I only really do it via my AirPods Pro. This is because the speakers are so tinny and weak. I’d love to see these getting some oomph, at least comparable to the iPhone 12 models.
5. iPhone-style widgets
While iPadOS and iOS have formally diverged, and lots of people aren’t happy with how widgets are handled in iPadOS, I have a specific gripe: the small screen of the iPad Mini means that it’s the perfect location for some iPhone-style widgets. Allow us to place them anywhere on screen, not just stuck to the left hand side. And then only if we’re looking at it in landscape mode. It could be offered as an option, perhaps?
6. MagSafe connectivity
Ever since getting my iPhone 12 Pro, I’ve become quite a fan of the MagSafe connector and charging. There’s no fiddling around with a tiny lightning connector or worrying that the Qi charger is actually making a connection. With Magsafe, you get a reassuring ‘thud’ and you know it’s working. Let’s bring it to the iPad Mini too!
I’m definitely not confident about any of these upgrades, save for the iPad Pro-esque body upgrade. I’m still hoping for some kind of update to the Mini in the first quarter of 2021, but whether it’ll be significant enough for me to go for it is another thing entirely.