Radical new Apple iPad mini could steal the show in 2021

Poor old iPad mini. The tiny device has seemed somewhat neglected of late, with every other iPad in Apple's tablet line up getting an update in 2020. Indeed, compared with the edge-to-edge design of both the iPad Air and iPad Pro, the 2019 mini looks positively old school. But if a new 3D render is anything to go by, the mini could end up stealing the show in 2021.

Supposedly based on leaked CAD drawings, the new render (below) depicts an iPad mini the same size and shape as the current model. But the similarities end there – with an all-screen front and bezels even smaller than the iPad Pro's, this is a whole different (miniature) beast. Could it be the first iPad mini to hit our best drawing tablets list?

But perhaps the most notable aspect of the design by Pigtou is the addition of an in-display version of Touch ID. We were impressed to see Apple integrate Touch ID into the power button of the new iPad Air (in order to retain an all-screen design), but this render suggests it won't be taking the same approach with the new mini.

In some ways, this looks like the ultimate iPad mini. The mini's 9.7-inch display has remained the same size since the first model was released in 2012, and while it's fine for reading or browsing the web, it wouldn't be our first choice for any kind of creative work. But with a larger display within the same tiny form factor, an iPad mini like this could become the ultimate toteable tablet for graphic designers on the move.

That said, we have some reservations about the render. If Apple has proven it can integrate Touch ID into the power button on the edge of the device, why would it choose to slap an unsightly circle on the screen? Considering the backlash against the iPhone's infamous notch (rumoured to be shrinking on the iPhone 13), we're not sure we believe Apple is planning to add a brand new blight to its iPad display.

iPad Mini

We still love this fan-made iPad mini concept (Image credit: Parker Ortolani)

Still, take away the distracting in-display fingerprint scanner, and we're looking at a pretty exciting iPad mini upgrade. But for us, the ideal would still be this incredible iPad mini 6 concept featuring similar design language to the iPad Pro (and not a fingerprint scanner in sight).

With these iPad mini rumours, and the iPad Pro due for a massive upgrade, 2021 is set to be yet another fruitful year for iPad fans. That said, with the sheet amount of Apple tablets released last year, there's no shortage of future-proof iPads available right here and now. Check out today's best deals below, and don't forget to swing by our main Apple deals page for more brilliant offers. 

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.