I'm not convinced by this iPad mini Pro rumour… but I hope it happens in iPad mini 7 anyway

An iPad mini with a high-refresh screen wouldn't just be great for drawing – it would save battery too

Apple iPad mini 6th Gen held in hand
(Image credit: Future)

Despite the iPad mini 6 only launching in September, a new rumour suggests that Apple is looking to release an updated version with a more advanced screen and a marginally faster processor, and that it might be known as the 'iPad mini 6 Pro'.

Shared by Twitter leaker FrontTron (via FrontPageTech), so far the biggest part of the claim boils down the idea that Samsung's screen division has supplied a sample of a screen just like the current iPad mini's, but with a 120Hz refresh rate, just like the iPad Pro and iPhone 13 Pro offer. The current iPad mini uses a 60Hz screen.

The leak also says that this new iPad mini Pro would still use Apple's A15 processor, but whereas the current iPad mini 6's A15 has a slightly slower clock speed compared to the processor in the iPhone 13, the new version would be at full speed.

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The funny thing about this leak is that it doesn't really make sense as a claimed 'iPad mini 6 Pro', but as a template for the iPad mini 7 that replaces the current one? Sure, I think we could be looking at this kind of thing.

So, let's talk about the bit that makes sense: the 120Hz screen. So far, this has been something that Apple only puts in its 'Pro'-branded products. The iPhone 13 Pro, the iPad Pro, and now the new MacBook Pro (2021).

But no one thinks it's going to stay that way forever – especially since we've now seen that the ProMotion screen on the iPhone 13 Pro seems to be the key reason why it gets more battery life than the regular iPhone 13: because it not only can refresh even faster (and so more smoothly), but it can also refresh less often, when you're doing something static, like reading an ebook or watching a movie.

You know on what kind of device people read a lot of ebooks and watch movies? iPad. I expect 2022 is when we'll see 120Hz screen break out of being Pro only, and instead all Pro models will feature mini-LED or OLED displays, meaning that brightness and HDR performance becomes the key difference for a 'Pro' screen.

So in my opinion, the iPhone 14 will probably have a ProMotion screen, and so will a replacement for the current iPad Air… and a replacement for the iPad mini, at some point.

To be an iPad mini 6 Pro, I think Apple would need to offer more than just a new screen and a very minor speed boost, though, or it's only going to annoy people who just bought the regular model.

The speed boost seems especially confusing, since the current iPad mini 6 is probably already capable of driving a 120Hz display. It uses a five-core GPU, just like the iPhone 13 Pro, and the idea of the fifth core is that it provides the flexibility for changing refresh rates. If Apple was also said to be including more RAM, I might consider that worthy of a Pro upgrade, but it's not what's being suggested here.

So maybe I'll be eating my words, but if Apple's looking at a 120Hz iPad mini, I'd put my money on it being an iPad mini 7 with A16 processor, due late in 2022. And if you want an iPad mini in the meantime, don't be put off by this rumour.

Matthew Bolton
Matthew Bolton

Matt is T3's master of all things audiovisual, running our TV, speakers and headphones coverage. He also handles smart home products and large appliances, as well as our toys and games articles. He's the only one on the team who can explain both what Dolby Vision IQ is and why the Lego you're building doesn't fit together the way the instructions say, so is truly invaluable.

Matt has worked for tech publications for over 10 years, in print and online, including running T3's print magazine and launching its most recent redesign. He's also contributed to a huge number of tech and gaming titles over the years. Say hello if you see him roaming the halls at CES, IFA or Toy Fair.