Apple Inc. may launch a new version of its entry-level iPad Mini tablet next year or in the first half of 2024, according to a new report.

MacRumors today cited influential industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo as saying that the next-generation iPad Mini will include a new processor. The current version of the tablet, which was launched in 2021, runs on Apple’s A15 Bionic system-on-chip. The A15 Bionic is based on a five-nanometer chip manufacturing process and features 15 billion transistors.

The first iPad Mini made its debut in 2012. Apple has since released several new versions of the tablet and significantly updated its design along the way. Besides the A15 Bionic processor, the latest edition of the iPad Mini that debuted in 2021 also features a 8.3-inch display, 5G support and a USB-C port.

Today’s report didn’t specify what chip Apple will include in the next iteration of the iPad Mini. The company could equip the tablet with the A16 Bionic processor that powers its latest iPhones. Alternatively, the next iPad Mini may feature the upcoming system-on-chip that Apple will ship with its 2023 iPhone lineup.

Apple’s upcoming smartphone system-on-chip will reportedly be made using Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd.’s N3E technology. N3E is a planned upgrade to TSMC’s three-nanometer chip manufacturing process, which is expected to begin mass production later this week. The three-nanometer process is set to facilitate the production of  faster and more power-efficient chips. 

Recent rumors suggest that Apple plans to launch a foldable tablet in the next few years. According to today’s report, Kuo estimates that the company is unlikely to replace the iPad Mini with a foldable tablet before 2025. The analyst believes that such an upgrade is currently impractical because it would significantly increase device prices.

Apple has reportedly partnered with LG Corp. to develop displays for its upcoming foldable devices. The displays are believed to be based on glass rather than polyimide, a polymer commonly used to make foldable screens. It has also been suggested that Apple’s foldable devices may feature so-called electronic paper screens, which illuminate their pixels using ambient light.

The mixed reality headset segment is another market that the iPhone maker is rumored to be targeting. Earlier this year, Kuo predicted that Apple’s long-anticipated mixed reality headset could become available in late 2023 for a price ranging between $2,000 and $2,500. It’s believed that the company may begin mass producing the device as early as March.

Apple’s long-term product roadmap is also rumored to include a pair of augmented reality glasses dubbed Apple Glass. The device is expected to feature a specialized operating system known as glassOS.

Image: Apple

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