IF YOU'VE BEEN HOLDING OUT for a new iPad Mini, you might not have too much longer to wait.
A report from (often-unreliable) Digitimes claims two suppliers have already been contracted to produce touchscreen panels for two new iPads - the iPad Mini 5 and a refreshed entry-level iPad.
The iPad Mini is overdue an update; the iPad Mini 4 was released way back in September 2015 and is still on sale for £399 despite its now-woefully outdated A8 processor and chunky bezels.
Digitimes doesn't tell us what sort of upgrades the iPad Mini 5 will offer, but Apple oracle Ming-Chi Kuo said last year that he expects "an upgraded processor and a lower-cost panel", the latter likely to keep the device 'affordable'.
We'd also expect the tablet's Touch ID sensor to be binned in favour of Touch ID, an upgraded camera and - if Apple's latest iPad Pros are anything to go by - a USB-C port in place of Lightning.
However, a Chinese media report says the so-called iPad Mini 5 is unlikely to see a major hardware design as Apple looks e to keep costs down and hit a lower price point.
The same report suggests that the entry-level iPad could see its 9.7in screen replaced by a larger, 10in panel that will support Apple's second-generation Apple Pencil. It's also expected to retain the same £319 price-tag of its 10-month-old predecessor.
Digitimes has no further details, so it's unclear if the iPad will see the same bezel-shrinking design refresh as the iPad Pro lineup.
If Apple's sticks to its usual scheduling, the iPad Mini 5 and new entry-level iPad will likely make an official appearance in March, perhaps alongside the firm's long-awaited AirPower charging mat. µ
Promises that it wasn't used without permission
Data-sniffing malware could snaffle up one password to rule them all
If you can't beat em, sync em
Fixing the old, creating the new