The aluminum shell looks a lot like the existing iPad mini’s shell, but there are several design changes that put it on par with the iPad Air 2. Namely, there’s no longer a mute/rotate lock switch on the side of the device and the speaker grille holes at the bottom have been reduced to a single row on either side of the Lightning port.
It’s tough to get a sense of the thinness of the shell from these leaked photos, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the iPad mini 4 end up being thinner than the iPad mini 3.
The iPad mini 4 will most likely be a device that iPad mini users have been waiting for. The iPad mini 3 release back in October was a major disappointment, mostly because Apple didn’t update it nearly as much as it did with the iPad Air 2. In fact, the only upgrades that the iPad mini 3 received over its iPad mini 2 predecessor was Touch ID and a gold color option.
Other than that, the iPad mini 3 remains largely unchanged from the iPad mini 2 — same processor, same RAM, same screen, and everything in between. However, we can easily see Apple come back in 2015 and update the iPad mini 4 big time by matching the specs of the iPad Air 3 — whatever they may be.
Rumors of the iPad mini 4 are fairly scarce right now, but that’s not too surprising considering that it’s a bit too early in the release cycle. However, it’s safe to assume that the next iPad mini will see a big update.
The iPad Air 2 received a generous upgrade last year, coming with performance improvements across the board, including the new A8X processor, which is a 64-bit chip that offers 2.5x faster GPU performance and 40% faster CPU performance than the A7 processor that’s in the iPad Air and the iPad mini 2.
Improvements have also been made to the iPad Air 2′s camera, now featuring an 8-megapixel sensor that can record 1080p video, compared to the 5-megapixel sensor of the older model.
The iPad mini 4 could see some of these same big improvements, although it may be the A9 processor this time around, with the same 2GB of memory as the iPad Air 2. An upgrade like that would be a huge jump from the iPad mini 3, making the wait worth it if you hold off until October later this year.
As for price, we’d expect the iPad mini 4 to keep the same starting price tag of $399, just like previous newer iPad mini models, making it $100 less than the entry-level iPad Air 2 version. From there, the iPad mini 3 will most likely drop to $299, while the iPad mini 2 could drop to $249. As for the original iPad mini, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it kicked out of Apple’s lineup come this fall.