If a report coming out of China is to be believed Apple hasn't completely forgotten about its iPad mini lineup. The company is reportedly preparing to launch a new fifth-generation iPad mini in the first half of 2019. It will be the first refresh for the smaller iPad since September 2015 when the iPad Mini 4 was released. The Cupertino-based iPhone maker will also unveil a new entry-level iPad, hoping to improve the overall iPad sales growth. The last new iPad models introduced by the company were the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro slates, which debuted in October this year.
The China Times is reporting (in Chinese) that the upcoming iPad mini refresh, like to be dubbed as iPad mini 5, will go into mass production later this month. The official launch is expected in the first quarter of 2019, which is in line with TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo's predictions. Kuo had earlier stated that Apple will bring the smaller iPad model at its spring event next year. Additionally, he had revealed that the new iPad mini will feature "an upgraded processor" and an affordable display panel.
The iPad mini refresh news will bring some cheer to many Apple fans, who had thought that the iPhone-maker had discontinued the lineup in favour of the 9.7-inch iPad and the larger iPad Pro models.
While the China Times report is silent on the iPad mini specifics, it does note that upcoming successor to the 9.7-inch iPad (2018) will have narrower bezels with the screen size getting a bump to over 10-inch. It will enter the mass production in 2019 with release in the second half of the year.
Meanwhile, Apple is believed to be planning another iPhone production cut. In a recent investor note, Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang predicted that the company could reduce the iPhone XR production orders by as much as 2.5 million units with the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max seeing cuts of 1 million and 500,000 units respectively.