Rumors are circulating about the fourth-generation iPad mini, suggesting once again that the new device could be a miniaturized version of the iPad Air 2. Of course, a recent note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the same thing, but now the reports are coming from MacRumors by way of well-respected Japanese blog MacOtakara.
If the reports are true, the next generation of the iPad mini will have an 8-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera, a 6.1mm design, and a fully laminated display with anti-reflective coating. Where MacOtakara’s report shifts from what Kuo suggested is in the speculation that an A9-based third-generation iPad Air will be announced at the same time.
Apple has suffered five consecutive quarters of declining sales in its iPad products, so releasing three new tablets could help Cupertino rebound from that. Three, you ask? The so-called “iPad Pro,” which Kuo has mentioned in his previous notes to investors, along with the third-generation iPad Air and fourth-generation iPad mini.
Truthfully, though, I have my doubts about a third generation iPad Air coming to market later this year. Instead, focusing on what may be the last generation of the iPad mini along with the 12.9-inch iPad would make more sense, since iPad Air sales have continued to fall even after the refresh of the device. If Apple thinks the 12.9-inch iPad will rescue the declining iPad sales, they wouldn’t want to dillute that market. The iPad mini attracts a different consumer, and wouldn’t threaten sales of the larger device.