Our review of the iPad mini 2, or to stick with Apple's naming strategy, the iPad mini with Retina Display, found it to be a really capable little device.
Somewhat surprisingly it shares most of the cutting edge technology of its bigger brother, the iPad Air, and finally adds the Retina display which it had been lacking so sorely.
But it's not perfect. It's still too expensive, has no Touch ID sensor and the base 16GB capacity is rapidly becoming too small for many users.
So far there's been little in the way of rumors about the iPad mini 3, in fact all we've heard so far is from the mouth of Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst for KGI. He claims that the iPad mini 3 will come out towards the end of the third quarter and that disappointingly it will have the same form factor as the iPad mini 2, which is thicker than the original iPad mini.
In fact it doesn't sound like Kuo thinks the iPad mini 3 will be a big product for Apple at all, as he reckons it will be sold in limited quantities while the iPad mini 2 will remain on sale at a reduced price. This is one occasion where we hope the rumours are wrong, but thankfully that's all they are.
More positively he predicts that the iPad mini 3 will get upgraded to an A8 chip and come with Apple's Touch ID fingerprint scanner.
Adding credence to that last rumor, there's also an image of what is supposedly the iPad mini 3 doing the rounds. It's as blurry as early images often seem to be and it was anonymously sent to Nowhereelse.fr, so it's impossible to say how reliable the source is, but it appears to show a Touch ID fingerprint scanner built into the home button.
Though it's also worth noting that this is apparently a prototype of the device, so even if it is legitimate it's possible that Apple could ditch the scanner before it finalizes the hardware. It's safe to say then that all the current rumors are questionable at best and there's still so much that we've heard nothing about yet. So with that in mind what do we want to see in the next model?
- Read our in-depth iPad mini 2 review
You end up entering passwords just as much on an iPad as you do on an iPhone, so it's surprising that the newest iPads didn't get the same Touch ID fingerprint sensor as the iPhone 5S got.
We'd really like to see these included in the iPad mini 3, not least because they would allow multiuser interaction - just touch to switch to your personal iPad account. Of course Apple would also have to build multi user support into iOS first, and it's arguable they'd rather sell you two iPads instead but the few rumors that have emerged so far suggest Touch ID may in fact be in the works.
More storage in the base model
16GB of storage in the cheapest iPad used to sound like a lot but now it's really starting to look a bit stingy, with apps like GarageBand and iMovie going free, some iOS games starting to take up over a gigabyte of space and Retina screens making high resolution movies worth loading onto your iPad.
The steep price jumps for the higher capacity models look cynical, especially when flash memory itself is not expensive and Apple offers no way to add storage via card slots. Starting the new models at 32GB would be more reasonable.
Cheaper cellular option
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Adding a cellular option to an iPad mini currently adds £100/$130/AU$150 to the price, and of course you have to pay for data on top of that.
Given that the only difference between the innards of a Wi-Fi only and a cellular iPad is the addition of some mass-produced radio circuitry, it would be nice to bring the additional cost premium down a bit so that more people would opt for the cellular option and be able to use their iPads on the move. This is especially true of the supremely portable mini.
A bit of a pipe dream perhaps, but wireless charging technology already exists and is used by some phone and tablet manufacturers, such as in the Google Nexus 7.
Being able to place your device on a charging slab rather than having to plug it in might sound like only a small timesaver but just think about how many times over the life of a device you have to recharge it.
It also reduces the possibility of wear and tear or damage resulting from physically plugging cables in over and over again.
Pressure sensitive screen
The addition of the M7 motion co-processor to the iPad mini 2 was somewhat unexpected but will be handy as more apps start to make use of it.
Haptic or pressure sensitive screens already exist, and make for more accurate and flexible interaction with your device, especially for games, music or art apps where you want your finger to do more than just register a touch.
Apple might not think the technology is up to it yet, but this could be one to watch for the future. Current rumors have pointed more overtly to Apple picking up the technology with the view to doing a lot more with it, and, like the iPad Air 2, would allow for better reception of prods from your digits and even that much-fabled iStylus that could do everything but make the tea for you.